Dec 25 2011

Honorable Mention Albums of 2011

We’ve discussed the overrated and the disappointing, but there were also a ton of albums in 2011 that were absolutely great. Since I only make a Top 50, there were several I felt deserved recognition, but had strong superior competition. Here, in alphabetical order, are 25 of the best albums of this year that just missed the final cut. Spotify/Download/Buy links provided below.

Battles – Gloss Drop

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

The Cars – Move Like This

Cheeseburger – Another Big Night Down the Drain

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

Clams Casino – Rainforest EP

Cults – S/T

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

DJ Quik – The Book of David

Dom – Family of Love EP

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re New Here

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

J Mascis – Several Shades of Why

Cass McCombs – Humor Risk

Panda Bear – Tomboy

Pictureplane – Thee Physical

R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now

Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What

Martin Solveig – Smash

Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream

Shugo Tokumaru – Port Entropy

White Denim – D

Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers

Dec 23 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – The Top Twenty

20. Wiz Khalifa – Roll Up

Delivering sing-song verses, that trademark stoner laugh, and a chorus you’ve memorized by the second time you’ve heard it, Wiz Khalifa might be one of the laziest rappers on Top 40 radio. But that’s exactly the point. He’s not some uptight, eccentric, crazy ambitious, domineering figure. He’s that pot-smoking friend who’s down for whatever, and if your down, he’s down. The most casual summer jam of the year.

Continue reading

Dec 19 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 200-151

There are quiet moments, but overall this year’s song countdown is crazy upbeat; you’ve gotta be an uptight jerk not to enjoy at least some of what’s here. For the most part, this collection of songs from 2011, while decidedly less diverse than in past years, still perfectly captures my mood and preference. I’ll be counting down until Friday – feel free to browse, listen, discover, disagree, etc. I’ll publish a Spotify playlist at the end with most of the tracks on there; the rest can be found via YouTube below and on subsequent posts.

Continue reading

Sep 5 2011

The Songs of Summer 2011

Today is Labor Day and I’m a week into school, so for me, and many others, summer 2011 is over and done with, even though my thermometer and the official calendar would disagree. Last night it cooled down here in Austin to “West Texas evening” degrees, which is good enough for me to declare that autumn approacheth, though it’s probably going to take its sweet time getting here. Anywho, as is the case this time every year, I have compiled a short list of my “songs of the summer.” Some people like lazy-time summers filled with laid-back tunes and relaxing choruses. Me, I’m more of a “let’s dance all season long” kind of guy, and this selection reflects that. What are your favorite songs from the past 3-4 months? What were you rocking while dehydrating?

Continue reading

Jul 1 2011

Quarterly Review – April-June 2011

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading

Jun 24 2011

Catching Up With the Kids 6/24/11

Occasionally I browse the pop music world/charts/blogs and see what the kids are listening to. Sometimes I am pleased with what I find, most of the time I am not. This is a journal of my discoveries.

In the late 90’s, when grunge, alternative, and gangsta rap were the genres of relevance and, thanks to superstars like Garth Brooks, country was crossing over like never before, the pop world was struggling for identity.  Take a look at charts from the decade and you’ll find a diverse, albeit inconsistent string of hits from an array of forgotten artists. Divas, R&B crooners, softcore rappers, watered-down post-grungers, and Lilith Fair types all battled for airplay and notoriety while the majority of the music listening public had their ears elsewhere.  One genre stuck around for the vast majority of the decade, from the time the kids turned to Nirvana to the resurgence of the “boy band” in 1998.  That genre was “dance pop,” a club-ready sound from Europe that peaked (and almost abruptly disappeared) with the release of A Night At the Roxbury.  We all remember groups like No Mercy, Real McCoy, Aqua, Haddaway, and La Bouche dominating our local Top 40 station.

As I do on most trips away from home, while traveling, I reacquainted myself with the current playlist of conventional pop radio, and it seems, increasingly, this “dance pop” style has resurfaced, not because pop music is having another identity crisis, but because, this time around, it seems the kids really do enjoy this stuff.  While 90’s dance pop had female belters crooning about passion and devotion alongside growling male “rapping,” the new tracks don’t have a trying-too-hard vibe.  In fact, quite the opposite; the beats are loud, the production is slick, the composition is lazy, and the theme? Partying.  Hard. All the fucking time.

Sure, there’s still plenty of hip hop and Avril-types, and a few crossover country tracks, as well as some harder rock tracks from mainstays like Seether and My Chemical Romance.  But the focus is thumping bass, getting wasted, hooking up, and throwing glitter.  Even pop stars from other eras, like Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears, have adopted the new sound in their recent singles.  Pop radio has always been about mindless, simple escapism, but it seems the past decade it wasn’t as fun….glad to see there’s a change in the tides.