Albums of the Year

Look, I like pop punk. I make no bones about hiding my allegiances. I like what I like and this list is a fair representation of the albums that really stuck with me in 2011 or just struck the right chord. I still buy albums the old fashioned way and remain excited about upcoming releases, artwork and physically owning a tangible item. Call me a dinosaur, but I’ll be here until I’m extinct.

I’d love to see your lists or favorite albums of 2011 in the comments.

10. Neighborhoods – Blink 182
Was Neighborhoods earth-shattering? Not by any stretch. But it’s good to have them back. Key Track: “Hearts All Gone”

9. Lioness – Amy Winehouse
This record just came out a few weeks ago and it’s much better than the train wreck everyone anticipated. It’s actually quite sad. Winehouse had her demons, but she could fucking sing. Always was a fan of her retro-soul sound and really hoped she’d pull through. So instead of celebrating another great album that’s really just leftover scraps, we’re eulogizing what could have been. Key Track: Original take of “Tears Dry on Their Own”

8. Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
This is a really great album. (iTunes’ album of the year btw). I love everything about this band and the way they exist. I’ve said it before, but Foo Fighters have officially eclipsed Nirvana as the better rock band. A lot was made about the analog recording process in Grohl’s garage with Butch Vig and all parties delivered. I appreciate Wasting Light for what it is, but it fell out of the car stereo rotation pretty quick. Key Track: “Rope”

7. Our Color Green / Coloring Book – Glassjaw
“Green” was released on the first day of 2011 (1/1/11) and “Book” was given away for free at the end of every show on the band’s Spring tour. Glassjaw is the new model. Build an insanely loyal fan base, play killer shows that will sell out in minutes, and release music on your own terms. These tracks take care of unfinished business with songs that have been around for a while in some bootleg incarnations and present the ground work for the enigmatic future of the band. Key Tracks: “You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)” & “Black Nurse”

6. Man Overboard – Man Overboard
Heard about these dudes then saw them open for New Found Glory on the Pop Punk’s Not Dead tour, then dove into their self-titled release that was produced by NFG’s Steve Klein. They don’t reinvent the wheel but it’s honest and heart felt pop-punk. Very addictive. Key Track: “Punishment”

5. Elsie – The Horrible Crowes
If I were more talented and chose to devote endless hours to the craft of songwriting, this is probably what my record would sound like. Best played on vinyl at night with a slight buzz. Brian Fallon is the new Jesse Lacy. Key Track: “Ladykiller”

4. Smile – The Beach Boys
The white whale of the Brian Wilson catalog finally saw the light of day in its original intended form this year. (Wilson released a version of the record with his solo band in 2004). Smile was ahead of its time and widely panned when Wilson submitted it to Capital in 1969. The creative rejection ultimately sent him into a historic depression. Thanks to producers and the Capital vault, there’s now almost too much Smile material to digest. The box set has five discs and is (almost too) exhaustive, perfect for any music geek. Key Track: “Surf’s Up (Solo)”

3. Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing – The Wonder Years
This is a slow burn. The music is pretty standard pop-punk, but over time the lyrics take hold and become something bigger. Suburbia is the most accurate depiction of the mundane boredom and confusing frustration of being a rudderless twenty-something living in a shitty town you can’t escape. Also saw these guys on the PPND Tour and they are the future of the genre. They need one more solid record and a headlining tour, but the scene is ready for them. Key Tracks : “Coffee Eyes” / “Summers in PA” / “Came Out Swinging”

2. Under Soil and Dirt – The Story So Far
My favorite full-length debut of the year. Great musical energy and immediacy with no BS lyrics. Reminds me of when I first heard Senses Fail’s debut EP–completely jealous and envious of younger kids who achieved something I never could. Key Tracks: “High Regard” / “Roam” / “Four Years”

1. Radiosurgery – New Found Glory
My favorite band and the album that I’ve enjoyed the most this year. It ain’t rocket science. Simple chord progressions, killer hooks, and slick execution. 2011 has sort of felt like a victory lap for NFG. The PPND tour was a massive celebration of the band and the genre for which they’ve carried the torch for the last decade. Without NFG, there is no Wonder Years or Set Your Goals or Man Overboard. While people usually cite Blink-182 as the most influential band in pop-punk, I’ll argue that New Found Glory is not only a better band, but a vastly more important group for the scene. Key Tracks: “I’m Not The One” / “Anthem for the Unwanted” / “Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing”



Filed under Blog, Music

2 responses to “Albums of the Year

  1. Radley

    Not a particular exciting year for music in my mind, but here are some pretty good albums I’ve enjoyed this year in no order. I don’t think I’ve paid much attention to everything out there to give a fair judgment on the best.

    Parallel Bars – Grow Up And Get Over It
    Beirut – The Rip Tide
    Neon Indian – Era Extrana
    Cobra Skulls – Agitations
    Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
    Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Sing In Japanese

  2. chefdiesel

    Just got into ‘David Comes to Life.” I dig the singer’s intensity but the songs would be so much more diesel if they had some semblance of a vocal melody.

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