By Zachary Swickey
With July quickly approaching, we are about to wave goodbye to the first half of 2011. And what a year it has already been: current reigning Queen of Pop, Lady Gaga, sold a million records in a week; the Beastie Boys proved they still have it; and everyone’s favorite Parliament-smoking hipsters, The Strokes, sold-out Madison Square Garden!
We’ve already seen a slew of solid album releases from music veterans and some second efforts that show no signs of the sophomore slump. We have plenty of records to look forward to in the second half of the year – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne project, Modest Mouse, Santigold and new Outkast and Dr. Dre records (if we’re lucky) – but before we get ahead of ourselves, here are ten of our favorites albums (so far) in 2011.
10. The Strokes – Angles
After making their return at last year’s Lollapalooza, The Strokes finally graced us with their first new music since ‘05. Taking a cue from bands like MGMT and Crystal Castles, Angles featured more synth and MIDI bits than most Strokes fans are used to. Nonetheless, the outcome was well-received and showed the experimentation the band was capable of.
9. My Morning Jacket – Circuital
Recorded in a church gymnasium in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, Jim James and Co. wanted their sixth offering to go back to the roots of their earlier works. There might not be much synth akin to their classic “Touch Me or I’m Going to Scream Pt. II,” but that didn’t stop the group from covering a vast musical soundscape, ranging from space rock to psychedelic funk.
8. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
The first artist to sell a million records in a single week since Taylor Swift accomplished the same feat late last year, Gaga’s “little monsters” obviously can’t get enough. Her Monster Ball Tour was one of the top draws of 2010, outselling many popular veteran music acts, and we suspect her upcoming Born This Way Ball will be no different. Our only complaint is that the disc sounds more like a sequel than a true evolution of her sound. Regardless, these delicious pop tunes are too good to deny.
Who else made our countdown? Read on. Read More...