And so its the end of the year again (or the start) and we have listened to an awful lot of music, the people here. And two of us managed to churn out some words on what we consider as our favorite albums of 2011. So enjoy, hope it proves to function both as a tip sheet and as a salute to good music.
02. Joakim – Nothing Gold (Tigersushi)
You used to be young, now where do you belong? That’s the key question on Joakim’s track ‘Forever Young’, the first proper song on this LP. It made a good run for the top spot this one, as I absolutely adore this album. It just oozes with this aimlessness, this distance, yet in terms of the sound and the music it sounds terribly mature and terribly well crafted. Something like ‘Fight Club’, with the delivery and the rhythm of it, that is very well done. It is also just the atmosphere the whole album exhumes, both in terms of sound as well as in lyrics. I think it is such a plus for an album to not just have ten good songs on there, but to have ten good songs on there that are connected, that together create a certain feel. Individual songs are nice and all, but to have a whole album, in its entirety, give out a message, an emotion, that’s what sets the better albums apart for me.
That melancholy in title track ‘Nothing Gold’ is amazing, and even per song all the elements really combine and by doing so they make the sum more than just its parts. It is an album that I think has been overlooked, but especially if you, like me, feel connected to the atmosphere this album evokes, then it is one you definitely shouldn’t miss. And what it evoked for me is this sense of being in a place where you have gone through all the emotions as a younger person, and now you’re not so much there anymore. Either because you’re too old to do the things that provided you with these emotions, or because those emotions have just dulled out and you’re stuck with all things happening around you but not quite feeling any of it. Which sounds more depressing than it really is, honest.
Joakim - Forever Young by Tigersushi Records
02. Tune-yards – W H O K I L L (4AD)
And to complete this trio of female singer-songwriters: Merrill Garbus. She’s quickly grown to be one of my all time favourite artists. She is an amazing live performer, full of enthusiasm and energy and even able to get a Jimmy Kimmel audience who quite obviously don’t belong to her target crowd to jump along to her tracks. I’ve seen her three times in a year’s time, and each time she managed to completely blow me away. The ingredients for a great album were there on her debut, but really have clicked into place on this one. ‘Bizzness’ and ‘Gangsta’ are probably two of the best songs to have come out in 2011.
Although amazing on record, her live performance is so much better. Just witnessing how she builds up the rhythms for each song would blow anyone away, let alone her amazingly strong voice and personality that just makes you want to hug her right there (you’ll be pleased to know I managed to control myself though). And there’s even more to get excited about with the saxophones on this album! Amazing how she could think all this up when starting out with just a ukulele a few years ago. The most soulful album I’ve heard this year (and yes, that includes Adele), can’t wait for the next one now.
Tune-Yards - Gangsta by The Recommender