KBD's Top 20 Albums of 2011 (Part Two)
After seeing what was on the first part of the list, which albums have made it to this year's Top 10? Continue on this musical journey below to find out...
10. Foster The People - Torches
Months before their debut album dropped, Foster The People already made their mark this year with the dark and catchy “Pumped Up Kicks.” Fortunately the rest of Torches is also solid gold, from the head-bopping “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls)” and the psychedelic “Miss You” to the boogie-inducing “Houdini.” Here’s hoping they can keep up this dance-crazed trend for their next album.
9. The Knux - Eraser
True rockstars in the rap world, The Knux made their return without suffering from the sophomore slump. You’ll be head-banging and break-dancing at the same time with the help of such tracks as “She’s So Up” and the eighties-inspired “Maniac,” while “Razorblade” perfectly meshes together the styles of classic rap with The Stooges. Collaborations with Kid Cudi (“Run”) and Natalia Kills (“1974”) act as the icing on this hip hop cake. They may not want to be famous (as mentioned in “Fame-Us”), but releasing an album like Eraser shows that they might not have a choice in that matter.
8. TsuShiMaMiRe - Giving Blood
How does this Japanese punk trio manage to keep getting better and better? Released on their own label TsuShiMaMiRe pushes themselves to the edge and back with such tracks as “Sonate de Alarm” and “Sky High,” and sings the most punk rock song about food (“French Toast Rendevous”) since Shonen Knife sang about banana chips. Their redo of “Na-mellow” is one for the books, with Yayoi’s bass sounding meaner than it ever has before. My advice: be sure you have an extra pair of pants in arm’s reach before listening to Giving Blood, for you might just explode from the album’s sheer insanity.
7. Dropkick Murphys - Going Out In Style
When the Boston bad boys kick the bucket, they want their funeral to be the biggest celebration the hub has ever seen. From its opening march into battle “Hang Em High” to the mandolin-strumming “Take ‘Em Down” the Murphys know how to get a true Irish party started. Ken Casey and company also managed to grab an unknown singer by the name of Bruce Springsteen for their rendition of “Peg O’ My Heart” that will have you singing from the top of your lungs. Going Out In Style celebrates the life and death of a fictional character named Cornelius Larkin, but after listening to this album you’ll swear he was a friend of your family.
6. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Do they ever cease to amaze? After 30 years the Beastie Boys continue to change the rules of the rap game, thanks in part to their outside-the-box sampling and original rhymes. Tracks like “Nonstop Disco Powerpack” and “Funky Donkey” will put a smile on your face for their names alone, but fortunately the beats and lyrics are as fresh as ever. Even their turn at Bollywood style in “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” with Santigold brings forth another winning formula. With all the punk, jazz, and rock fusions that appear in Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, it’s a sure sign that the Beastie Boys can do no wrong. Let’s hope that Part One will appear in some form in the near-future.
5. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
After doing two back-to-back concept albums (The Crane’s Wife and The Hazards of Love) the Portland natives decided to do a more straight-forward album this year. The outcome: their best album to date. From the harmonica-heavy “Don’t Carry It All” and the soft-spoken “January Hymn” to the heart-stopping sounds of “Calamity Song” and “Down By The Water” Colin Meloy and friends show that their hearts and souls are in a warm, unique place. The King Is Dead, long live The Decemberists.
4. The Black Keys - El Camino
Teaming up with Danger Mouse again the Black Keys let their hair down and made a record that sounded fun to make as it is to listen. Your feet will start tapping during “Lonely Boy,” your hips will shake while “Gold On The Ceiling” plays, and by the time “Hell of a Season” hits your entire body will have succumbed to the groove of El Camino. The White Stripes may have officially broken up, but Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have showed us that The Black Keys were the garage blues rock rulers all along.
3. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Dave Grohl and company toured the world, took truck stop showers to a whole ‘nother level, and faced off against Westboro Baptist Church in the best way possible. They also released the best album of their careers, produced by Butch “Yes, he also produced Nevermind” Vig. The end result: heavy rock (“White Limo,” “Bridge Burning”), great ballads (“I Should Have Known,” “Walk”) and one hell of a single in the form of “Rope.” (The deadmau5 remix is worth a listen, bringing the track to fun, sadomasochistic levels.) Wasting Light has shown that rock was never dead to begin with; it was just planning an epic sneak attack on the music world.
2. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
On the day Bad As Me was announced America had the weirdest earthquake happen on the East Coast, a sure sign that our planet was nervous about not being cool enough for Tom Waits anymore. Worry not, as the king crooner still thinks it is. From its train-riding opener “Chicago” and the hip-swinging “Get Lost” to the grooving “Satisfied” Mr. Waits proved yet again at no mere mortal can compete with the likes of him. The war-cry known as “Hell Broke Luce” just may be the best track of 2011, a decree that neither God or the Devil can argue against. Welcome back, Tom. We missed you dearly.
1. Fucked Up - David Comes To Life
The most complex, catchy, and all-around jaw-dropping album of the year. The Toronto sextet is known to go against the grains of punk rock, but they upped the ante this time around with a rock opera focused on a light bulb factory worker who loses his beloved in a tragic explosion. Filled with betrayal, tragedy, and hope David Comes To Life is the breath of fresh air the music industry has needed these past couple years, and it helps that the album is chock full of great sing-along tracks like “Queen of Hearts,” “The Other Shoe,” and “Ship of Fools.” Even more impressive were the character singles and David’s Town compilation released to build up the existence of the faux town known as Byrdesdale Spa, UK. With so many layers and chapters to cover within the LP and its companion pieces, the world of David Comes To Life was, indeed, brought to life in this year’s best album. Sorry Green Day, but your reign as punk opera kings is over!
What are your thoughts on the year of music? Any albums I missed that you thought deserved to be on here? Speak your mind, and post below!