Thursday, 19 January 2012

Musical Highlights of 2011

So here’s what I consider to have been my musical highlights of 2011 in terms of new album releases. I cannot be certain that I haven’t missed some, but this was what I managed to cobble together...

The first album of the year I had to own was ‘The King Is Dead’ by The Decemberists. Probably their most easily accessible so far, the album is less theme driven than its predecessor (The Hazards of Love) but still makes an impression which leaves little bit of harmonies in your mind for the day.
Iron & Wine released ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’ which was reviewed in a previous blog post.

PJ Harvey made a welcome return in February with her stunning album ‘Let England Shake’. Her most political album to date, Harvey proves again that she can reinvent herself while remaining instantly recognisable and commercially viable.
Adele’s second album, ‘21’ was released. I mention this because I was instantly put off by its mass commercial advertising campaign. However during the course of the year, one track in particular (Rolling In The Deep) was a mainstay in my playlist.

R.E.M released what was to become their final album, ‘Collapse Into Now’. Personally I thought they had grown stale since 1998’s ‘Up’ (despite having bought all their albums in between out of habit). This album really was a great swansong, and managed to capture the true spirit of the band both musically and lyrically.

Foo Fighters ‘Wasting Light’ was released, reviewed previously in the blog.

Tinie Tempah’s ‘Disco-Overy’ was probably my favourite debut album of the year. With a huge range of influences and several musical styles on the album itself, it captured the nation’s imagination, using a carefully picked selection of guest vocalists and picking up a host of awards along the way.

After a quiet summer, Tony Bennett’s ‘Duets II’ album relit my year. Being a big Tony Bennett fan anyway this really was a shot in the arm as far as the final third of the year was concerned. This album had a versatile mix of duet partners from Lady Gaga to Amy Winehouse, Willie Nelson to Andrea Bocelli. If you like the old school big band style, this was the best of the year.

This month brought us Noel Gallacher’s ‘High Flying Birds’. I’ve always been one of the people who skip through an Oasis album to find the songs Noel is singing, so my joy at the demise of Oasis and the opportunity to hear just the acoustic stylings of the band was wonderful. An album that would have kept Oasis at the top of their game.

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