For the music portion of this year, I’ve honed it down to five albums—even though there are many more I’d like to mention. Seems like it was a fairly good year for music—at least for me. Ultimately though, I decided which albums I listened to the most/became the most obsessed with after hearing them.
And as a bonus, I’m also going to include another band that was new to me this year, even though they didn’t come out with an album this year. Those will be in no particular order.
First up, though, are the honorable mentions, the albums that I quite liked but were just not listened to quite as much and/or they’ve received more than enough praise elsewhere already.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
- Sigur Ros’ “Valtari” – I’ve been a fan of them since I first heard “The Nothing Song” on Vanilla Sky. Each and every album has been a good one in my eyes, and I’ve listened to all of them much more than is probably healthy. This one, in particular though, has even more of an ethereal quality to it. So many have said their music is “transcendent,” but I never thought it applied until this album. It’s simply “holy,” and there’s no other word for it.
- Santigold’s “Master of My Make-Believe” – What’s there to say? Really. This is simply a fun and great pop/hip-hop mashup. Personally, she reminds me of a bit more “radio friendly” version of M.I.A. But she definitely has enough of her own sound and design to stay wholly unique. Honestly, this album is worth it just for “Disparate Youth,” “GO!,” and “Freak Like Me.”
- Sea Wolf’s “Old World Romance” – This was a late find, but it’s already had some heavy rotation. He reminds me of a Beck/Aqualung/Band of Horses mash-up, and “Whirlpool” is an amazing track.
- Deftones’ “Koi No Yokan” – This is a great blend of the older and newer stylings of Deftones, and even though I’ve only had a few listens on it, it’s a solid album. Not many bands can shift, change, and grow for as many years as this band has and continue to be both new and retain their original sound like Deftones have. If you’re a past fan, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have bought this album.
- How to Destroy Angels’ “An Omen” – Much as I wanted a full-length release, this is still another excellent entry to Trent Reznor’s new band. While it’s more of “background” music than anything you’ll really sing or hum or rock out to throughout the day, it’s a handful of good tracks nonetheless.
Either they weren’t on a full release album, or the album as a whole didn’t quite make it, these are a few tracks that I listened to way more than I should have.
- Dragonette’s “Lay Low” and “My Legs” – I know. It’s ridiculous. This is music for college sorority girls as they’re headed out to some big party, but Glob help me, these songs are way TOO catchy and—in my eyes—perfect examples of how fun bubble-gum pop music can be.
- M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” – The beat for this… holy crap… just holy crap… When it hits the “0:40” mark, the groove just cuts straight to the core. Love it.
- Bad Veins' “Dancing on TV” – This track is too fun. Reminds of the best of Weezer and has some wonderful lyrics to go along with it.
- Owl City’s “Dreams and Disasters” – While the album as a whole is fairly decent, this track rises above and beyond the others in a BIG way. Love the beat. Love the lyrics. It’s another example of pop done right.
- The XX’s “Angels” – Dreamlike and beautiful, from the music to the lyrics. Nothing more needs to be said.
- Placebo’s “B3” – I’ll write more on this band at another point in time, but not only was I surprised that they were still putting out tunes, but that this was also a mighty fine little ditty from their EP of the same name.