Friday, 30 December 2011

Album of the Year - 2011

This has been one of those glorious years when as a listener you are spoilt for choice. The albums that I have listened to have been filled with some glorious moments. Radiohead marched back with another fine example of why they still hold our attention. 'The King of Limbs' is experimental but accessible; great tunes with original arrangement. The brilliant Elbow whose melodies flow warm and rich and so enabling. 'Build a Rocket Boy' is an album to be proud of. 'Neptune' by Eliza Carthy sees the folk fiddler continuing to write great songs that bridge so many genres including cabaret and mariachi.New act The Civil Wars' with their haunting, beautiful 'Barton Hollow' show us lest we forget how good harmonies truly can sound when sung well. Adele's breathtaking '21' with its soul, its panache, its power teaches us to never forget that youth and heartbreak make melancholic music that is deeply moving and at times uplifting. The girl has such a great voice and such incredible song writing skills. 'Ragged Kingdom' sees June Tabor reunited after a long break of twenty years with The Oyster Band. Together they show us how relevant folk still is. Kate Bush's return after her surprising other 2011 album shows she has lost none of the talent we have so long envied and enjoyed. '50 Words For Snow' is a remarkable album - up there with her others in terms of invention and song craft but it is the delectable Polly Jean Harvey with her reportage album of the state of England that wins the hour,  the day, the month, the year as far as I am concerned. It is simply unsurpassable. 'Let England Shake' has everything a work of art and a pop album should have. It is filled with a melodious folk feel but with such spirited pop sensibilities wrapped in observational study that it defies easy labelling. It is my album of the year 2011.

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