The moment you have all been waiting for, my top 10 favorite albums of 2011. In no particular order:
Drake ‘Take Care’ (Cash Money/Young Money)
I love Drake cause he the perfect combination of raps and vocal hooks on every song. ‘Thank Me Later’ was one of my favorite records of last year and this record is an excellent follow up. This record is a little more mellow than the last one but again every track is a serious jam with some bangers like ‘Make Me Proud’ and ‘The Motto’ (which just an extra track but is getting some radio play right). He has some pretty awesome guests on it (Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Stevie fucking Wonder, The Weeknd) and their input on the album really adds to the whole record. If you want to hear a record about getting drunk and high with lots of money but whining about being famous and you can’t hold relationships with people then this record is for you.
Polar Bear Club ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ (Bridge Nine)
To be honest, Polar Bear Club’s last album ‘Chasing Hamburg’ just didn’t really do it for me so I was skeptical about this record. ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ blows ‘Chasing Hamburg’ out of the water, way better songwriting with more hooks and better production (thanks to Brian McTernan). This band is really coming into their own sound now and I love it. The opening track ‘Pawner’ is a great song to start off with and the album never really slows down and keeps you drawn to the record for all 11 songs.
Yuck ‘Yuck’ (Fat Possum/Mercury)
My friend Brandon played this record when he was bar tending one night and I thought to myself, “This band sounds like Dinosaur Jr. and the Pixies making a baby and I love it”. So if you like Dinosaur Jr. and/or the Pixies then you will love this, just try to make yourself believe that this record came in 1991 and not 2011.
Blink 182 ‘Neighborhoods’ (DGC/Interscope)
Blink 182 really? Yep, so shut up. This record is very much like the self titled record but take away the weird “artsy” songs and add way more Tom vocals and way more catchy hooks. I love the self titled record but this record just speaks more to my “I’m 28 years old and I still like Blink 182 cause they write some catchy fucking songs but don’t sing about penises and aliens anymore” self. I usually don’t really like the Tom songs on Blink records but he sings pretty much 90% of the songs and they work so well with the music on it.
Raekwon ‘Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang’ (Ice H20/EMI)
To follow up on ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2’ and for that matter the original ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ is really tough, since both are solid hip hop records with the original OB4CL being a classic Wu-Tang record. I feel like this is Raekwon’s attempt to stay relevant and I feel like he did a great job. He has some awesome guest spots on here (Rick Ross, Black Thought for starters) and the beats are definitely beats you would hear on current hip hop records but they have that Wu-Tang flavor to them. Like usual, Ghostface is on most of the tracks but that duo is just unstoppable so I never complain on that. Overall I was very pleased with this record. I had the chance to meet Raekwon back in February and he was a very down to the earth dude with lots of love for his fans, so I took the first chance to grab this record on iTunes.
New Found Glory ‘Radiosurgery’ (Epitaph)
I always get real excited when a new New Found Glory record comes out and this time nothing changed that, New Found Glory is still just as catchy as ever. This record is not as heavy as ‘Not Without a Fight’ but I feel like the songs are as whole make more sense together but each song has their unique contribution to the record. These songs will be stuck in your days cause New Found Glory just knows how to make a catchy pop punk song, probably cause they have doing it for over 10 years……..yeah that’s it!
The Weeknd ‘House of Balloons/Thursday/Echoes of Silence’ (XO)
So this is 3 mixtapes but they are a trilogy according to the Weeknd, so it’s 1 but 3 at the same time. The Weeknd is a Canadian dude who sings about getting messed up and having sex, plain and simple. This dude can sing and just knows how to write a dark sexy song. People know about him cause Drake hypes him up whatever chance he gets but the Weeknd is really starting to make a name for himself now, the latest mixtape ‘Echoes of Silence’ was very anticipated and thousands and thousands of downloads in minutes and he covers Michael Jackson’s ‘Dirty Diana’ so you can’t fuck with that. I listen to these mixtapes all the time and they don’t get old at all, if you love hipster R&B that most hip hop probably hate then this record is for you!
Pygmy Lush ‘Old Friends’ (Lovitt)
I really really really wish this band would just acoustic material all the time for every record and this record is a good example of why they should. The addition of Eric Kane on drums is just perfect cause he hits hard but not too hard that it overpowers anything. The songs are just plain beautiful with great arrangements and just leave wanting more and a chance to hear them live. If you would of told me that guys from Pg.99 would have a band that sounds like this then I would told you that you are crazy but I am glad these dudes are that talented and can expand on their songwriting horizons for this. I look forward to what they do next, you know it’s gonna be great.