Trying to narrow down the 5 top albums of 2011 seems almost impossible. If I simply took into account what was popular and what sold the most records, then I am sure this list would consist of Justin Bieber, Adele, and Katy Perry. However, only one of the aforementioned artists (used very loosely in Bieber’s case) will feature in my list and the rest will consist of what I enjoyed listening to throughout the year.
5. Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours/Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Deciding on my first choice was definitely a tough one, so I decided on two albums. The Cold War Kids third album Mine Is Yours, is yet another solid album from the Californian group. My favourite track of the album is Bulldozer which is a much calmer single than the group’s usual sound. The bands energy throughout the album is what makes them stand out from the pack.
Joint fifth place is Coldplay with their fifth album Mylo Xyloto, which I was slightly hesitant about adding to the list. Not through fear of losing ‘cool points’ but because when thinking of Coldplay I think that they are always consistently good, which leaves nothing to be desired. Well I was wrong, this album was surprisingly good all the way through (my tendency to skip tracks was not present when listening to the album). I tried to put off listening to the album for as long as I could, but when I was unknowingly singing the melody to Paradise, I knew it was time to give in.
4. Jay Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne
When I found out that the two biggest stars in Hip Hop were collaborating on an album, I could hardly contain my excitement. Jay Z is arguably the best rapper alive and Kanye West is close behind, but is also renowned for his talents as a producer. When I heard the single Otis, which samples the classic Otis Redding song Try a Little Tenderness, I knew that the pair had created a collection of great Hip Hop songs that would definitely appeal to the masses, while still giving them street credibility.
3. Chase and Status – No More Idols
Chase and Status are a production team that have been popular with drum and Bass, Dubstep and Grime lovers for some time. It wasn’t until I heard the fourth single of the album, Blind Faith that I started to take notice. The song is a throwback to 90’s dance club classics, but still sounds current. The album also features artists such as Plan B, Tinie Tempah and Dizzee Rascal.
2. Adele – 21
You definitely could not go anywhere this year without hearing a song by Adele. With her amazing performance of Someone Like You at the Brit Awards, and her first single of the album Rolling in the Deep being played on every radio station, it’s easy to see why she is so successful both here and in the States.
1. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Lykke Li’s 2008 debut Youth Novels was an impressive album from the 22 year old Swede who sang with such maturity, while still managing to create angst filled songs. Her second album Wounded Rhymes is more of the same but on a much larger scale. The songs Jerome and I Follow Rivers sum up the whole album for me, and the whole Indie Folk vibe that the album has can be both relaxing and sometimes melancholic. The most intriguing thing about Li’s voice and music is that you feel that you are listening to someone who is older than their years, but without them being too winey and miserable.
Images courtesy of Amanda Rose, Derrick Austinson and Mike Barry