Now that we're officially on the last page of our calendars, it's time to say goodbye to 2011 with our top albums of the year. Can you believe it? Wasn't it 2010, like, yesterday? The four of us over here in the Metrolyrics blogosphere (AH, AL, OS & SJ) put on our thinking caps (or rather, our headphones) and after plenty of extensive musical research, we narrowed down our picks to the 10 best albums from January to December. We're also posting our fave songs from the albums we picked and the reason behind selecting them. Without further ado, here's our Metrolyrics Top Ten Fave Albums of 2011:
Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes
It would suck so much to be playing the music game at the same time as Fleet Foxes. They don't stop winning. And they're so humble and unpretentious that you can't even be mad at them. Helplessness Blues is both sonically and lyrically more creative than their eponymous Fleet Foxes album, while still managing to maintain the core folk sound and golden throat (ahem, Robin Pecknold) that won't stop growing on us anytime soon. -al
w h o k i l l - tUnE-yArDs
tUnE-yArDs, AKA Merrill Garbus, is one heck of a Renaissance woman. Playing the drums and looping them under her unique vocals and ukulele strums is just too cool for me not to take notice of. I bought the album w h o k i l l online as soon as it came out, saw her in concert, and my appreciation for Merrill will most likely continue throughout 2012 and on and on and on. ~ A.H.
Nostalgia, Ultra - Frank Ocean
You might say that 2011 was the year of R&B, and leading the pack was Frank Ocean. The Odd Future member burst onto the internet in 2011 with his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra. The album's sultry singing and youthful lyrics made it one of 2011's biggest blogosphere sensations, and rightly so. - OS
Arabia Mountain - Black Lips
The hellions we've come to know and love as The Black Lips have delivered again. As expected, their sixth studio album, Arabia Mountain, is a complete and utter circus of chaos. In fact, I wouldn't even be surprised if they actually lit their instruments on fire during the recording process. It's that boisterous. -al
Metals - Feist
Feist was one of those artists who, up until late this year, was always appearing on lists entitled "When Will They Make More Music?" or "Artists Who Should Put Out Another Album Already!" Well, the Canadian songstress heard our prayers and released a worthy follow-up album to The Reminder. Metals is dark, dreary, and beautiful all at once. I listened exclusively to this album on a roadtrip through the mountains and it was perfect. -SJ
Born This Way - Lady Gaga
This album has either been praised the greatest record of the decade or the most over-produced, robotic collection of tracks to come out in recent years. All I have to say about Born This Way is that I love a pop record where every song sounds different, and Lady Gaga definitely delivers on that front. So what if it's over-produced in some parts? The girl can belt out a tune and has songwriting chops to boot. I'm putting my paws up for BTW and for Mother Monster. ~ A.H.
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
This year, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon brought his solo act out of the woods — literally. After recording his debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, alone in a remote Wisconsin cabin, Vernon went for a grander studio sound on Bon Iver, Bon Iver. The move paid off, as Vernon's unique songwriting and singing voice blend perfectly with the album's lush instrumentals. - OS
Take Care - Drake
Take Care is the album everyone was wishing Drake would release when he put out Thank Me Later...and, to be super cheesy, we ARE thanking him later (now). Dumb jokes aside, this album is amazing and Drake's best so far. It's emotional, the majority of the songs are slow, and the lyrical content is brutally honest. I've had it on repeat since it came out and have recommended it to everyone — even my mom. -SJ
Watch The Throne - Jay-Z & Kanye West
Watch The Throne was the most expensive sounding album we heard all year (and possibly ever?). Sampling soul legend Otis Redding as well as an actual NASA spaceship liftoff, Yeezy and Jay prove that they've got connections in the highest of places (um, like space). Not to mention that any record that name drops Larry Gagosian, Marilyn Monroe, Basquiat, Christian Louboutin, Picasso, Gucci, Margiela, Prince William, Benzs, Rolexs, and Hublots (trust us, there's more where that came from) automatically gets a nod from us. -al
Beyonce - 4
All four of us can collectively agree that Beyonce's 4 was one of the best albums of the year (or should I say, all 4 of us!). If you looked at all of our last.fm profiles, you'd probably see the album tracks scrobbled, oh, thousands of times or so. With her strongest vocals, deepest lyrics, and the most soulful backing music to date, Beyonce's fourth album allowed the world to fall in love with her all over again. You run the world, Bey!
We want to know your top album picks for 2011! Do you agree with our choices? Have your say in the comments.
- AH, AL, OS & SJ