Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year In Review 2011 - Top Ten Albums - Part 3 (5-1)

Another great year is finishing up for Rock The Body Electric and we wouldn't be a proper music blog if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so without further verbiage RtBE Presents it's third part of the Best of 2011 Top Ten Albums (5-1):
In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read it.  RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap, but not a ton. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to the all the way through.  

This was an odd year, there were lot of solid disks but few that rose to the level of all-time greatness, for instance if all of these albums were released in 2010, none of them would have cracked last years top 5.  Maybe the #1 this year would have kicked off Dr. Dog or Noun, but it would have been close

Without further hubbub click the read more link down there to see #5-#1 of the Top Ten Albums of 2011:
#5 Girls - Father Son and Holy Ghost
Buy the Album Here!
The most surprising of all the albums featured on this list would be Father, Son, Holy Ghost by Girls.  When we reviewed the bands first release Album, I thought the band would be a flash in the pan, but the lush instrumentation and gut-honest lyrics really struck a chord.  The singing style of Christopher Owens has solidified and found a constant sound.  It still isn't great, but it matches perfectly to the music (best rock production of the year) and raw lyrics Owens has crafted one hell of a full length release that works as a relationship cycle when listened from beginning to end.  It makes you wonder where the group will go next.  The track below, "Vomit" is one of our favorite off any record this year:

#4 Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
The rambunctious rebel Steve Earle has grown up into a hit or miss folkie, but with the Hank Williams tribute titled I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, Earle nails the mark swimmingly.  It should be noted T-Bone Burnett's production is a perfect fit for Earle's down home sound and elevates this release over Earle's past efforts; a long partnership could be started right here.  In the review linked above I focus on 3 songs that are total knockouts, "God is God", "Every Part Of Me", and "This City".  Each fantastic in their own individual way and highlight this artist in glorious fashion, causing this album to soar.  A great, easy sounding release that tells stories, set scenes and breezes by.    

#3 The Gateway District - Perfects Gonna Fail
Buy the Album Here!
What a slice of power/pop/punk heaven!  There is something about the songwriting, playing and energy that just crackles off of this album.  Constructed by a group of Minnesotans that all play in other bands The Gateway District may not be well known, but damn it they should be.  The playing seems alive and the songs are constructed fiercely with ringing vocals, I always find myself singing along with the band on tunes like the fist pumping, "I'll Take The River", and the revving "Leaving Me Behind"; all of these songs sound like anthems.  The only downside being the brevity of Perfect's Gonna Fail, at just under a half hour I want more of this sweet sound.

#2 The Black Keys - El Camino
Buy Album Here!
The Black Keys almost pulled off back to back #1 Albums of the year on RtBE, a testament to the creative high the band is currently experiencing.  While last years Brothers was nuanced and dripped with emotion, El Camino just wants to get the party started and never stop.  The band has greatly improved their studio sound with extra musicians and even back-up singers on this album.  Moving into gospel/soul territory and even a direct Led Zep rip, Auerbach and Carney have won over thousands of new fans with their get-down sound.  3 tracks in the middle ("Gold On The Ceiling" "Little Black Submarines" and "Money Maker") are all dynamite but the band has no filler on this one from the stone cold grooving single of "Lonely Boy" to the disk closing "Mind Eraser".  The only demerit would be for being one-note sounding throughout, but when that one note sounds so good how can you fault it?  Here's hoping they keep churning out records with this much energy and consistency.    

#1 Tom Waits - Bad As Me
Buy the Album Here!
As mentioned above, last year Brothers was easily the album of the year in RtBE's book, this year things weren't so cut and dry with all of these 5 albums occupying the top spot briefly.  In the end though when a legend puts out their most compelling release in over a decade (at least) ranking it with the best songs of their career, they deserve recognition.  Bad As Me is all of that to Tom Waits, a career spanning effort that never once sounds tired or old, just peep the disk opener "Chicago", while it mind sound straight out 1926 it never comes off as dated.  Waits has enlisted an all star backing ensemble, perhaps none more critical then the slinking guitar of Marc Ribot who seems a perfect match with his silky guitar vamps playing off of the gruff Waits.  The album has legs and keeps intriguing with a more polished overall sound (well for Waits at least) this disk could open up this amazing artists back catalog to a new generation of fans to enter the wild world of Waits.
"Bad As Me" amazing title track:

"Last Leaf"

So here's a recap of the top ten for those scoring at home:
1 - Tom Waits - Bad As Me
2 - The Black Keys - El Camino
3 - The Gateway District - Perfect's Gonna Fail
4 - Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
5 - Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
6 - Del + Preservation Hall Jazz - American Legacies
7 - Parts & Labor - Constant Future
8 - Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts
9 - Yuck - Yuck
10 - Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See

Well there it is another year gone and so another list contractual obligated and produced...How did we do?  Agree? Disagree?  Let us know in the comments


  1. I do not see how Trombone Shorty does not make the top ten, I could also make a case for PJ Harvey. I will leave out the Twilight Singers as I am too much of a fan to give a real honest opinion. No Dynamite Steps should be in the top ten also.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Shorty and Harvey, just missed the Top Ten:

    Both are great albums.

  3. Interesting albums to explore.

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