JoeRayW’s Top Five Albums: 2011 Edition

2011 and new album releases didn’t go so well for me. 4 albums released this year I ended up with, no new discoveries and little in the way of old favourites coming up with new material. I’ve looked through the huge list of releases on Metacritic, but so little appeals, or at least I haven’t been brave enough to dive in to new artists. It was a good year for remasters however, with Queens Of The Stone Age, Nirvana and Pink Floyd delivering, but I can’t really count those. Like putting the anniversary edition of Midnight Express in the top five films. But with a bit of technical loop holes, I managed to compile a top 5. The top 5 ordering of the only new albums I bought this year. At least all five of them are worth a listen. Next year I’ll be more daring, promise.

5. Gorillaz -The Fall (18th April 2011)

What do you mean this came out in 2010? Digitally it was released around Christmas last year, but the CD came out this April! Ah ha, the loop-hole, but because of the complications regarding release date, it makes it to number five. This iPad created album was formed over a month, in between gigs. Each track gives a different feeling to where they are at the time and it makes for a great minimalistic road trip journey.  Few guests and heavy on the synth may not be for some of the fans, but it shows Gorillaz are willing to go in bold new directions, even at the cost of the whole virtual band concept.

4. Radiohead -The King Of Limbs (28th March 2011)

Not quite as emotionally gripping as In Rainbows, but a selection of beautiful melancholy electronica to make those nights a little calmer. In the right frame of mine it can send the listener into a world of surreal plantations and creatures, maybe with the added aid of some rum. It requires to be heard in one complete whole, doing otherwise would bring disservice to the artistic vision behind The King Of Limbs. Whenever I mention the album, it tends to come with the response ‘Oh, does it have Creep?’ Not for those people.

3. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light (11th April 2011)

Wasting Light suggest the Foos have been given an energising injection. Full of life, hard-hitting tracks and some of the best work in their whole bibliography, Wasting Light is the best album since The Colour And The Shape. No filler, few sombre tunes, and the ones that are tend to explode into aggressive and confident chorus. The track ‘White Limo’ with its Queens Of The Stone Age inspired vocal intensity, shows they aren’t just bowing to the Mums who happen to enjoy a bit of Grohl. Everyone should find some rock to enjoy here and overall it makes for one of the most enjoyable rock albums in a long time. Not art, not concept, just fun. And White Limo, maybe my fave song of the year.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You (26th August 2011)

I’m With You does not sound like the Chilis of old. A lot calmer, a lot more about middle life worries, but still making music worth listening to. The first half is a little plain, making the number two spot seem a little unusual, but once we reach the middle every track becomes a hit. With tracks such as ‘Police Station’ and ‘Even You Brutus?’ shows they can go from touching to funky as hell. The almost Eminem style ‘singing’ in the latter was a surprise, one of many the album throws forwards. Initial listens leaves a decent Chili album made from an older, more mature group. Later listens reveal and album of many merits and tracks which will have you pressing repeat. Again and again. All over and over again.

1. Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (27th April 2011)

I’m not a big fan of hip hop. I like A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC and Public Enemy, pretty much it. But I LOVE the Beastie Boys. At one point this year when I was listening to the Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (Part One still in the works, my poor brain) I was convinced it was feeding me through the ears. It made me want to get up and dance, and keep me away from snacking. It became my fuel, essential. And for something so essential, how could it not make my number one? It isn’t as loud as the past albums, but it sticks to their style rather than falling for the modern hip hop sound. Each track is a tasty filling in the sandwich and every time I stick it on, it fills me up. Old men still having fun, still doing what they love. Don’t have to be high concept to be high regarding. Just three idiots with a knack for great music.

Five albums, the only five albums, I could talk about for 2011. Next year I will try to keep up lest I turn into an old man clinging onto relics of the past. Least I didn’t resort to One Direction.

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