As I started out doing here last year, I'm excited to begin my countdown of my favorite albums of 2011. Its been such an incredible year in music and I've been exposed to more music than I probably ever have been in my entire life. So much, in fact, that I haven't been able to review here anywhere close to all of the great albums I've encountered this year.
I love end-of-year lists because they allow more time for the listener to really see which albums stick with him or her in the long run. I can highly recommend all of these albums, each of them for different reasons, but all amazing in their own merit. I hope this goes without saying, but this is just my personal opinion -- music I've really liked from this year. So take what you like and toss out what you don't. I'm also really interested in what some of your guys' favorite albums from this year are, so post your favorites in the comment section!
To start out, here are my five honorable mentions from this year:
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
An album that will unfortunately be overlooked based on the accomplishment of the band's previous album. While that may be true, that doesn't change the fact that Nine Types of Light has got some great songs on it and continues TV on the Radio's success in its more accessible sound.
Best tracks: "Second Song", "Will Do"
Little Dragon - Ritual Union
This little gem of an album comes from four artists: three producers and one singer/songwriter. The unique vocals of Swedish singer Yukimi Nagano tie the electronic drum machines and experimental synthesizer sounds into wonderfully crafted pieces of pop electronica.
Best tracks: "Ritual Union", "Shuffle A Dream"
Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4Eva
Big K.R.I.T.'s flow is one of the most consistent flows around and Return of 4Eva is perhaps his best mixtape yet. Full of dirty southern beats, creative songs, and excellent rhymes, if you are a rap fan, do not miss this one.
Best tracks: "Rotation", "Sub"
Destroyer - Kaputt
While there's plenty of saxophone to find in albums from this year, few do it better than Destroyer. If you can get past the "ironic" smooth-jazz feel of the album, you'll find a wonderfully catchy and beautiful album.
Best tracks: "Kaputt", "Bay of Pigs"
John Mark McMillan - Economy
Not sure if its fair to call this "Christian rock" anymore, but if it is, John Mark McMillan's newest release is a manifesto of how to do it right. With a decidedly Springsteen-influenced sound, Economy progresses the band's sound forward and spotlight's McMillan's outstanding lyricism with its themes of poverty, desperation, and hope.
Best tracks: "Daylight", "Love You Swore"