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A year in music: the top albums of 2011

Zonoscope by Cut Copy

 Australia brought us AC/DC and didgeridoos, but mostpeople glance past the electronic-pop band Cut Copy from Melbourne. The band’sthird album, Zonoscope, came out in February and took me by surprise with an electronic-pop sound that I had never heard before. I expected the album to be something I wasn’t used to, but itbecame my go-to album to put me in a good mood with its upbeat tempos and fun beats. This album peaked at number two on the US Dance/Electronic Albums chart, and contains an abundance of synthesizers and heavy vocals. Zonoscope also has one of the coolest album covers out there, but more importantly, I’m pleased with the progress Cut Copy has made since their first album.

Favorite track: “Need You Now”

 Circuital by My Morning Jacket

 The Louisville, Kentucky band My Morning Jacket (MMJ) gained a fresh start with their latest album, Circuital, after their somewhat disappointing 2008 album, Evil Urges. Circuital is an album that must be listened to all the way through in order to fully enjoy and get the full feel of MMJ, who  use guitars and vocals to tell a story that happens to contain fantastic jams and solos.

Adding to the album’s appeal is that it was recorded in the gymnasium of an old church in the band’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Although there are a lot of effects used in this album, the well-known MMJ guitar is definitely present. Lead singer Jim James’ clear
vocals would make hipsters shed tears of joy as they dance around their houses to the catchy and deep tunes.

Favorite tracks: “Victory Dance” and “Circuital”

 Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

 Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes’ second and latest album, gave me my folk fix for the year. Soft vocals and a large margin of harmonies throughout give this album a very “chill” vibe. The outstanding harmonies on this album would make the Beach Boys shiver and choir teachers proud. Helplessness Blues also features tantalizing acoustic guitars, making this album an epic folk powerhouse that urges you to pick up a guitar yourself. This mellow album has become an instant classic, and is best listened to next to an open fireplace.

Favorite track: “The Shrine / An Argument”

 Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83

 With double albums, an expectation stands for bands to display their full musical abilities, which is exactly what M83 does in Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. This album blends electronic ballads with an edgy guitar that produces a musical masterpiece. M83 conveys a synth-loaded bass with echoed vocals to construct what has been my favorite album of 2011.

Throughout the album my arms were covered with goose bumps, making every guitar solo, synthesizer beat and vocal arrangement, a memorable one. The flow between songs in Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is so beautifully arranged, it’s as if I’m reading a novel by listening to music; each song is like a new chapter of the album.

Favoritetrack: “Reunion”

 Divergent Spectrum  by Bassnectar

 When you’ve come as far as California dubstep artist, Bassnectar, who has released eight studio albums and four EPs, you’re bound to create an electronic masterpiece. I found just that in Bassnectar’s eighth full-length album, Divergent Spectrum, which came out in the summer. While the album contains a few remixes that blow the originals out of the water, Bassnectar’s completely new material is even better. With over-modulated bass ringing in the ears and huge bass drops that rattle the floors, this album is dubstep gold. Not a single track disappoints, and if you have yet to be sucked into the trend of dubstep, this album will do the trick.

Favorite track: “Red Step”


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