albums of the year

Monday, December 26, 2011

End of the year list time! I completely adore end of the year lists. I don’t care if it is a list of the top five nano-particles, I’m going to read that article and pick my own favorite. Since I’m on vacation the last week of the year, you’ll probably see quite a few of these lists pop up. I’m thinking it serves three purposes: 1) to educate, inform, and inspire, 2) to keep record of the things I loved at this particular moment in time, and 3) to entertain – mostly me, but hopefully you readers too.

Here’s my top seven albums of the year (10 seems too cliché, and I just had too many for five), calculated through a complicated algorithm involving various criteria such as talent, musical brilliance, and how much I personally love and listen to the album. OK, maybe it’s just entirely based on how much I love and listen to the album, but I wouldn’t love and listen to an album that wasn’t really good stuff.  I wouldn’t admit to loving and listening constantly to an album that wouldn’t objectively be viewed as great music. Click on the images to purchase through Amazon.

1) The Civil Wars – Barton Hallow
Brilliant. I have nothing else to say about that probably hasn’t already been said. I thought quite a bit before putting the rest of the albums in order, but this one was and is number one all year long. No doubt.



2) Adele – 21
I know Adele is everywhere, but I do not get tired of this record. She is one-of-a-kind. This album is fun for the whole family – my kids love it.




3) Gungor – Ghosts Upon the Earth
You can read more about what I think about this album here. You can also read some really thought provoking stuff from Michael Gungor here. This album is just so musically intricate and amazing. The talent contained in these songs continues to blow me away.



4) Jay Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne
This here album is grown folk music. GROWN FOLK MUSIC. If your child learns some language you’d rather them not use because you play grown folk music in front of them, then I am absolved of all blame. That said, it’s brilliant. I absolutely love this album and listen to it nearly every time my kids aren’t in the car with me (which is unfortunately almost never). Nevertheless, I remain conflicted over all the language. I wish the music was cleaner. This also brings me to a pretty interesting post/comment thread that I read this past month: Rap, Jesus, and Self. What do you think?



5) The Decemberists – The King is Dead
This set of songs got a significant amount of playtime this year. Also, I went to see them in concert this spring. Great concert, great band, great album. They just keep getting better.



6) NeedToBreathe – The Reckoning
The band doesn’t get enough recognition. They are really amazing. They could hold their own in any musical arena. Their 2009 release is still a favorite, and this one is just so very good.




7) Shaun Groves – Third World Symphony
Simply put, this music is the heart of the believer put to words and music. It’s inspiring, worshipful, and just so very lovely.



Honorable mentions: How Emptiness Sings (Christa Wells), Torches (Foster the People), The Great Awakening (Leeland)

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