AotY2011 RETCON UPDATE!
Originally I had a different album of the year for 2011, it was Balls Out by Steel Panther. While I still get the SP joke, it is wearing thin over the years, and looking back I feel more and more embarrassed by that choice. The irony has burned a hole through which I can now see the woke. So guess what? I've changed it!
OK, as you were...
wibbly wobbly, wibbly wobbly, wibbly wobbly
A lot of great music came my way in 2011. There were comeback albums from Anthrax, Mr. Big, Sebastian Bach, Electric Boys, Primus, and Vain, great new folk metal albums from Alestorm, Amorphis, Turisas and Týr, the long-awaited Aristocrats album arrived, Lady GaGa was Born This Way and Hugh Laurie Let Them Talk. So with no further ado...
Oh my word, how do I adore Amy Lee's voice. Three studio albums in 8 years is hardly prolific, but by god they're good albums, and in my opinion this is the best of them. The final track "Swimming Home" usually ends with me in bits. Totes emosh. Top track: "Made of Stone"
"Have you got any grollings?" / "Flushed or galvanised?"
Yes, most people on this side of the Atlantic over the age of 30 will think of Hugh's comedy work with Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson, and those of an American disposition I'm sure can't help but conjure up the cantankerous Gregory House. But it turns out Hugh is in love with the blues of the deep south, and this album is completely magical. Top track: "St. James Infirmiary"
No disrespect to Richie Kotzen, but I for one was thrilled to hear that Mr. Big had reunited with the full original lineup. This album's a total cracker too. Top track: "Undertow"
Imagine if Dream Theater had all the annoying bits (i.e. Jordan Rudess) removed, they were all about 15 years younger, the singer had much more (i.e. some) charisma, and they were from Tunisia, and that was reflected in their music. In fact, forget Dream Theater - just listen to Myrath. Top track: "Braving The Seas"
I'll level with you, I don't like hip-hop. Eminem leaves me cold, Mos Def most definitely doesn't interest me, and you can keep your Snoop, Dre, Kanye, JayZ and whatever the hell P. Diddy is calling himself this week. But sometime in 2007 I happened upon a YouTube clip of a British rapper called Scroobius Pip and his brilliant "Thou Shalt Always Kill". I was immediately hooked and hoovered up his two album collaborations with DJ Dan le Sac as they were released. This is Scroob's first solo album though, and it is worth the price of admission purely for the sublime track "The Struggle". Yo, or something. Top track: "The Struggle"
And the winner is...
These guys are so great it's sickening. Oh and they're probably really young, and good at sports or something too. [Checks...] Yeah the singer was born in 1990 for Christ's sake. That's just rude. I've no idea what to call the genre of rock they play, but Wikipedia gives me three: alternative rock, pop punk, and post-hardcore. Make of that what you will - it's loud and I love it.
Top tracks: "Loverboy", "This Is The First Thing", "Reckless"