Saturday, December 31, 2011

The POP! Stereo Top 25 Albums of the Year!

2011…what can you say about a year when the economy remained in the proverbial shitter, the markets were up and down more than The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the housing market still hasn’t bottomed out, unemployment is staggering, people rioted, people occupied, people got pissed off to the highest of pissividity, Kim Kardashian got married, then got divorced, the Cardinals won the world series, and Tiger Woods was out of action? I know…its OVER.
Thank god!

Musically, things were MUCH better (well not from a sales perspective) and so much great stuff came out this past year, I couldn’t even keep track of it all. There was SO much, that we had to take a hiatus just to catch our breath.

As could be expected we’ve compiled our Top 25 Albums of the year. It’s a diverse bunch of artists that kind of keeps our belief that good music is good music whatever the genre. We always have a debate about this stuff and that’s half the fun. The one thing that was easy to decide was our album of the year. We knew that way back at the beginning of summer. That was where the bar was set and everything else had to beat that or be close to it.

Anyway, grab a glass of champagne, have a sit down and have a look through. Let us know your thoughts and what your album of the year was we’d love to know.

25: Slow Club – Paradise
They created paradise this year with an album of indie pop that was filled with yearning and beauty.

24: Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams
They're fuzzy, they're lost in the 60's, they rock a garage like no one else can. What's not to love?

23: The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
Sounding like it was recorded for 50 quid, the rawness and purity of this band shined through like a beacon of hope for British pop. They're one shot you'll look forward to getting.

22: The Kills – Blood Pressures
Still scuzzy, fuzzy and brilliant after all these years. The best coming together of an American and a Brit since World War II.

21: My First Earthquake – Friction
Probably the geekiest and most fun band I've ever encountered. How can you not love a band that writes a song about Enya and then references Kenny G w/in the song?

20: The Bell: Great Heat
This is one heck of a throwback to early 90's British Pop. Somewhere right now, Ian Brown is going, “Holy crap...”

19: MEN – Talk About Body
Le Tigre has just been out Le Tigre'd by one of its own.

18: Architecture In Helsinki – Moment Bends
What happens when indie pop gets funky? The Moment Bends is what.

17: Seapony – Go With Me
Harking back to Sarah Records, Seapony had us wondering if the label had been resurrected.

16: The Features – Wilderness
The biggest band no one has ever heard of returned with a genius of an album.

15: Sleeper Agent – Celebrasion
Anybody seen Jemina Pearl lately? We think Sleeper Agent might have kidnapped her.

14: Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
The sexiest band on the planet didn't get a room...but they did release this.

13: Gus Gus – Arabian Horse
Lush, opulent, and amazing...kind of like their native Iceland w/o the cold.

12: The Chain Gang of 1974 – Wayward Fire
Punk funk, Disco punk whatever, these guys did it all w/in the course of an album. Angularity has never been so damn dancey.

11: Digitalism – I Love You Dude
Unlike Justice, Digitalism made a sophomore album we wanted to listen to on repeat a lot.

10: Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding
The lesser of the two Gallagher bands, Liam basically kept Oasis going and we still love Oasis even if they have a new name.

9: Cut Copy – Zonoscope
Can these guys do no wrong? Three albums, three home runs. Embracing indie, shoegazing, and dance in one giant bear hug they write songs that reach for the heavens and get there.

8: The Limousines –Get Sharp
If I Am The World Trade Center were to have become famous this is what they'd sound like now. Indie dance that's geeky, sugary sweet and FUN.

7: Mates of Sate – Mountaintops
This is the only band that can make us cry tears of joy.

6: Washed Out – Within & Without
The ghosts of shoegazing past all gathered together and possessed the members of Washed Out to record this album. From their name to the album title and everything in between this was the best album from 1992 released in 2011.

5: White Lies – Ritual
Fascinated by all things dark and depressing, White Lies has convinced us that love, death, sadness, and happiness are all good things especially when they're in a song. Manic depression has never sounded so good.

4: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – s/t
Oasis may be a thing of the past, and the brothers may hate each other but the Gallagher with the most to prove did not disappoint in 2011. Self doubting and dare we say it, humble, Noel proved himself to be a worthy solo artist. Say what you will but he knows how to write anthems and this album is packed with them.

3: The Good Natured – Skeleton
Technically this wasn't an album (well it sorta was in the States) but it's our countdown so tough. The Good Natured proved that gothic tendencies, post punk angularity, and massive synth pop hooks could combine to make one heck of a record. It also doesn't hurt that singer Sarah McIntosh is ridiculously adorable.

2: Summer Camp – Welcome To Condale
Summer Camp welcomed us to Condale, and we moved in. This was the perfect summer album filled with lots of throwback vibes, hooky songs, and Elizabeth Sankey's soaring vocals. For a dynamic duo, they proved that great things do come in small packages...or bands.

1: Martin Solveig – SMASH
SMASH was exactly as it's name says, a smash. This was a perfect record in every sense; catchy, fun, influenced by everything, filled with awesome guest stars, it had it all. The songs were everywhere...even Target used, “Hello,” and the videos Martin and his team put together were self-deprecating, hilarious, and so well done they need to do a movie. Some people get it and clearly Martin Solveig does. In a really sucky year, SMASH made us laugh, made us dance, and made us have fun. It was perfect escapism and that's why it's our album of the year.

So there you have it...our favorite albums of 2011. Coming on Monday we'll look at the five most anticipated albums of 2012. It's not even January 10th yet and it looks like it's going to be a great year.


Nicole Gamble said...

I love your list! 100% agree with it!

Paul POP! said...

Thanks Nicole! And thanks for visiting. What was your album of the year?