It's been another great year for music with releases by some of the biggest acts around the World. Artists like Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Fucked Up, Bon Iver, Feist, Radiohead, Jay Z & Kanye West, The Strokes, Cults and Naked and Famous to name a few - all dropped amazing albums in 2011.
For me it was the following 10 albums that stood out over the past 12 months...
- Adele - '21' - If this doesn't win the Grammy for album of the year then something is wrong. Hands down the finest album in 2011
- Drake - 'Take Care' - Drizzy Drake has released an epic album the likes of Eminem's 'Marshall Mathers LP'. This album raises the bar for R&B and Hip Hop going into 2012. A perfect album.
- The Weeknd - 'House of Balloons' - Believe the hype and download this one if you haven't already. It's like listening to the TV series Skins play out on your headphones.
- Beyonce - '4' - She's a Queen and this album should be in every one's collections. If you like music then this album is for you - it's that simple.
- Arkells - 'Michigan Left' - Holy shit. I put this one on the back burner at first. Mistake. It's one of the finest Rock records of the year - and not just in Canada. This is where new bands should be looking for guidance.
- City and Colour - 'Little Hell' - From the erie sounds on Fragile Bird - to the honest lyrics in The Grand Optimist - this band is getting better with each album.
- M83 - 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming' - If you do a lot of flying then play this album on headphones as you glide through the clouds. It's the most beautiful album of the year and brings you to a dreamland. Also enhanced when Victoria Secret used a track to showcase their angels.
- Foster The People - 'Torches' - This album was a long time coming and it's going to be delivering singles for at least another 6 months. The band are hard working and deserve to be up for Grammys. This album should live on year end lists from littlest of blogs (like this one) to the biggest publications Globally.
- The Jezabels - 'Prisoner' - The only way you're going to get this album is by living with it for an afternoon. I suggest you stick it on for a long drive or grab the headphones and go for a walk. It's a masterpiece and I'm certain they'll be around for a long time to come. I told you so.
- Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - 'Self-titled' - It's Noel Fookin' Gallagher. He's the principle song-writer for Oasis and he's not lost a bit of that on this solo outing. He's a dick - but he can be and should be. The album is fan-fookin'-tastic.
- Honourable mention 1 - Amy Winehouse - 'Lioness: Hidden Treasures' - I've only actually heard 4 tracks off this one - as it's not out until tomorrow. We lost this one too early - but this will hopefully keep us going for now.
- Honourable mention 2 - The Boxer Rebellion - 'The Cold Still' - I saw these guys at SXSW this year and they knocked me on my ass. The voice is Morrisey like in strength and the band bring a charging energy through the full album. I highly recommend you try this band out.
So there we have it - the toughest decisions one has to make at this time of the year. I'm certain that I'm missing some big ones. I will no doubt remember then as soon as I hit post.
Fingers crossed for 2012 - and that it brings us more amazing music for the soundtrack to our lives.
Thanks for reading/listening.