Best CDs of 2011

It's that time of year again when I nerd out about all the CDs I bought this year and try to compile a "best of" list...


Best CDs of 2011


(in no particular order...)


1. Will Haven - Voir Dire


Very different direction than their previous albums.  Way more "ambient", less thrashy metal stuff than previous records. Fewer hooks too, yet that doesn't bother me.   It's probably the LEAST "in your face" Will Haven record to date, but it really works for me.  Kind of a "doom-metal meets old Pink Floyd" thing.


2. Foster The People - Torches


3-piece hipster band from LA. I do NOT want to like this album nearly as much as I do, but I can't help it.  This is too catchy for it's own good.  And mine too.  Haven't had a song stick in my head as much as "pumped up kicks" does in years...tho "helena beat" was a better single. :)


3. Anthrax - Worship Music


Joey Beladonna is back in the band, and it sounds like classic Anthrax again (not that i had anything against the John Bush recordings).  This album is getting a ton of great press, and it's all rightfully deserved.  (There's a "hidden" track at the end...a pretty straight-up cover of "New Noise" by Refused.)


4. Muppets: The Green Album


Okay, the fact that an album of covers of MUPPET SONGS made my top 10 should speak volumes about how FEW really good albums came out this year. Step it up, people! :) The Amy Lee track is brilliant, the Matt Nathanson song is killer (as opposed to most of the songs on his full-length that came out this year too), The Fray, OK Go and Alkaline Trio tracks are great too. \m/


5. Rival Schools - Pedals


Duh. Rival Schools finally reunites and puts out another CD. Is it any wonder why this made my top 10 list?!  Buy everything Walter Schreifels is involved with...just trust me.  


6. Cage The Elephant - Thank You Happy Birthday


It kinds of sounds like grunge but not really. It kind of sounds like garage rock bands (which I can't stand) but not really. It's a little to "weird" to be a pop record. Why can't I stop listening to this?!  For the longest time I thought these guys were a Sacramento band; something about their sound and songwriting just feels like it matches the vibe of other bands from this area.  Regardless, it's a great CD.


7. Green Day - Awesome As F*ck (tie: American Idiot: Original Broadway Cast)


Green Day on the "21st Century Breakdown" tour was one of the top 10 shows I've ever seen.  My only complaint about this disc is, it should have been 2 CDs, making room for the entire set list (including the 80's metal medley).  


8. Movits! - Out of my Head


Swedish 3-piece swing band plus Swedish hip hop. I don't understand ANY of the lyrics, but I can NOT stop playing this CD!  Now I know what all those kids in Brazil and Japan feel like when they're phonetically "singing" along to American records.


9. In Flames - Sounds of a Playground Fading


If Swedish metal bands wrote Broadway musicals, it would sound like In Flames. \m/


10. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming


As much as I like LCD Soundsystem, sometimes that dude needs an editor.  M83 is what LCD Soundsystem would be with said editor. Fewer 9 minute songs that just kind of ramble (or the keyboard equivalent anyway), more hooks and interesting lyrics.  Just generally a more interesting, less hipstery, sounding album.  The 80's synth nerd in me was very happy when this album came out.


(Apparently I liked lots of music made in Europe this year. Especially by weirdos from Sweeden.)



And because picking 10 is just TOO HARD, honorable mentions go to...


Thursday - No Devolucion (Thursday broke up this year...glad I got to see them live a few times before they called it quits)

Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist (REALLY digging this album! I haven't listened to this much Jane's Addiction since high school!)



Biggest disappointment: Matt Nathanson "Modern Love"


(though to be fair, sadly, several of my other long time favorites released albums that qualified for this category too.)


Matt's music has gone downhill since he signed w/ a major label.  The first 2 major label albums were still tolerable, because the great songs outweighed all the weird production decisions now being made. Sadly, I don't think that's the case with this new record.  While there are a few good songs on it, overall it feels like Matt is trying REALLY hard to be Jason Mraz or Gavin Degraw on this disc.  I feel the songs and production suffered as a result; Matt is capable of making records MUCH better than this one (as he's done at least twice before with "Ernst" and "Still Waiting For Spring").