17
Dec
2011
Random Pop Culture Question of the Week
Best of the Rest 2011-Music
the Staff
Random Pop Culture Question of the Week is a bi-weekly journey into the headspace of the Review to Be Named gang, in which a pop-culture question is posed, answers are sought, and discussions are generated about issues and hypotheticals from throughout the realm of pop culture.

This week, after presenting five great lists on the year in music, we've asked the Review to Be Named Staff to offer any last thoughts on 2011 in television.

Jordan

I've talked a lot, over my two lists this week about how this was my first year really trying to delve into music. Traditionally, I play catch up in December, reading top ten lists and discovering the best music of the year in the past tense. I thought this year would be different, but alas, even after spending 12 months listening to heaps of new music, I've still found I missed some of the best stuff out there this week. Here's a brief laundry list of albums that I didn't mention on either list but that deserve your attention, and have certainly captured mine over the past few weeks (I wrote my top ten albums list in mid-November due to a hellacious finals schedule that I am, yes, still experiencing as I write these words). I'm sure I'm still missing some great ones, and be sure to let me know what else I have completely forgotten, but here are some greats I have discovered late this year, with a sentence on each.

Telekinesis turned in a straight up pop record with 12 Desperate Straight Lines, but frills aren't really needed with songs as tight and catchy as these. Dan Bejar (who some of you may know best from his work with The New Pornographers) took Destroyer in an entirely new direction this year on Kaputt, which sounds like the best soft rock album the "˜80s never gave us. Fans of My Bloody Valentine who have yet to tune into the newly revived Shoegaze scene should really take the time to check out the self titled debut by Yuck, which is a grand opening statement from a band that is sure to be around for a while, with strong songwriting and delivery that shows the band knows just exactly what they are doing.



Speaking of people who know exactly what they are doing, Paul Simon came very close to making both of my lists for his extremely solid So Beautiful or So What, a folky spiritual journey that serves as a reminder that the elder statesman still has it. Ron Sexsmith has also been around for a while, but Long Player Late Bloomer shows why. His songs are as catchy and as touching as ever. Finally (because I can't just name every album I grew to love this year, or even all the ones I've been growing to love this week) The Raveonettes Raven in the Grave adds wave upon wave of dissonance to the band's always dreamy atmosphere, turning in an album that would make the likes of New Order sit up and take notice (and that's saying something). It was a good year in music, and a great year for me in terms of what I discovered. I hope to top it next year, and find myself playing less catch up when 2012 comes to a close.




Alex

I don't listen to a lot of music, so take what I say here with a grain of salt. Usually if I have the opportunity to plug my iPod into something I like to listen to podcasts. But that doesn't mean I don't occasionally get the itch to listen to music, which means the music I do listen to must be "A" grade"¦right?

I'll make this quick. Like many people, this year I found dubstep. More specifically I found Skrillex. Any other dubstep I've heard doesn't compare to even the lamest of Skrillex's songs. If you're on the fence about it then I suggest you check out his song "Syndicate." Created for a video game trailer for a game of the same name is got the heaviest of drops and makes me feel like a badass no matter what I'm doing.



A couple other albums that perked up my ears were a couple of soundtracks. Firstly, the soundtrack to Drive became very dangerous as just listening to it made me drive at least 10 mph faster than I would normally. And lastly, but certainly not leastly, the soundtrack to the game Bastion. I highly recommend you seek out the game and the soundtrack. They are both top notch and catchy for days.



Rachel

First thing's first: "Rabbit Will Run" by Iron & Wine is a pretty amazing song. If you read my list when I first posted it, another perusal might be in order, seeing as some things got shuffled as I spent some more time with them. Clearly I suffer from intense blogger's remorse.



The process for making my list was pretty painful: I started with a collection of around 80 albums, and tried to go from there. But the deeper I dove, the more treasures I found, with the list actually surging up to like, 100 entries before I lost my mind and had to cut myself off.

Some real standouts who didn't make the list include:

Birdy, British teen sensation. I think she may have won/appeared on one of those British talent shows. I was sceptacle, considering the first thing I heard from Birdy was a cover of "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. I almost didn't even listen. I mean, is there really any room for improvement over the original? But Birdy does something new with it, and her voice is amazing considering she's basically a fetus, and I can't wait for her first real album, seeing as her debut effort was made up of some really interesting covers.



Speaking of Bon Iver, his new album is freaking great, and was the last thing to get pushed off my list. It's a completely different experience to his debut effort, For Emma, Forever Ago, which to this very day moves me near to tears. I really respect artists who manage to make something new with each album while maintaining a really solid dedication to his/her specific sound, and Bon Iver does not disappoint.



Lastly, it was really hard for me not to include the album that housed perhaps my favorite song of the year: Burst Apart by the Antlers. "Putting the Dog to Sleep" is a completely fantastic, heartbreaking, pleading masterpiece that gets me every time.



Also, I was apparently one of the few people who didn't hate the new Coldplay album, I thought Feist's album Metals was a great showing, and Laura Marling missed making the list based simply on the fact that her album A Creature I Don't Know, while fantastic, didn't quite reach the heights of earlier albums.

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