Monday, February 20, 2012

2011 End of the Year Wrap-Up: Albums 10-1

10.) Action Bronson & Statik Selektah - Well Done

Bronson's second LP of the year is even better than his debut, as he gets a little more personal and focused over top notch dishes served by Statik Selektah.

9.) Phonte - Charity Starts at Home

The long awaited solo LP from the Little Brother front man does not disappoint with a little help from an old friend, 9th Wonder.

8.) Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Had you told me a year ago that Dave Grohl and company would release one of the best albums of 2011, I would've assumed that Kurt Cobain resurrected. One of the year's most surprising releases, is a fury of big hits and great rock music, done the old fashioned way.

7.) Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4eva

I slept on K.R.I.T.'s 2010 release (mainly due to the influx of shitty mixtape rappers that appear on blogs everyday), but I woke up for this magnificent release. Better late than never.

6.) The Weeknd - House of Balloons

The Weeknd is undoubtedly the year's biggest mystery, but by the end of the year the Toronto crooner found his way onto multiple tracks on one of the year's highest selling albums.

5.) Drake - Take Care

And that album would be Drake's sophomore LP. Drake's tendencies to lust for pole dancers and drinking too much makes for some of the most interesting 80 minutes of music in 2011.

4.) Kendrick Lamar - Section.80

Here's another rapper (like Big K.R.I.T.), who I didn't pay much attention to in the past couple of years despite releasing a few great projects. Section.80 is very moving and introspective, and the best part is there is much room for improvement for one of hip hop's brightest young stars.

Top 3 Preface:
All year there were two albums that were head and shoulders above the rest, and could potentially be considered classics someday. Both of these albums were significant to my year and my life in 2011. When I hear these albums I will always think back to what is what like to being 22-year old college student, being in a long distance relationship with a great girl, working 3rd shift as a janitor, and perhaps getting a little too drunk on the weekends with some great friends.

But in December another album joined those two elite albums, and I knew my top 3 even before making my calculations and ratings. Only one point each separated these three albums:

3.) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

This record will probably be the most memorable album of 2011 for me. Robin Pecknold's songwriting perfectly captures what it's like to be in the quarterlife crisis and have no idea what you're going to do with your life. Just the opening lines to the album alone, perfectly capture what my peers and I went through in 2011: "So now I am older than my mother and father / when they had their daughter / now what does that say about me?"

2.) The Roots - undun

The Roots' first concept album is also one of the band's best. While the narrative isn't the most original story I've ever heard, and the storyline isn't always 100% clear, the music and the lyricism is absolutely flawless.

1.) CunninLynguists - Oneirology

Now if The Roots want to know how to do a concept album, they should be taking notes from these guys. Once again Deacon, Natti and Kno put forth a brilliant piece of music with a cutting edge story line about a troubled man's dreams (or should I say nightmares?). The group effortlessly ties in socially and politically conscious themes into the storyline, and invite big time guest spots from Big K.R.I.T. and Freddie Gibbs. Oneirology proves that one of hip hop's most slept on groups should be mentioned among the greatest of all time (sorry Taylor)!

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