Let's face it, we can scarcely pretend that 2011 was a good or even notable year for new music, so instead I'd like to show you some things that I found joy in discovering, or rediscovering in 2011.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music (1965)
Who am I kidding, writing a review or even a description of The Sound of Music? That's a Von Trapp I won't fall into. What an absolutely flawless, timeless collection of songs. A true joy. Listen to it on tape or CD, watch it on Blu Ray, BVD or DMX. Don't cheat yourself by pretending you're too manly.
The Mamas & The Papas' California Dreamin' (1995)
California Dreamin' is a greatest hits collection, and I usually hate these things, but they've captured the essence of how one should be done at a brief shot of 28 minutes and ten songs, each one absolute pop gold. "Spanish Harlem" is the only misfit here.
Neil Young's Are You Passionate? (2002)
Unbeknownst to anyone, Neil created a soul-themed album in the 2000s. It was quickly and unfortunately forgotten, and studio versions of the song don't even appear to be available on YouTube.
Hour of 13's Hour of 13 (2007)
Flooring Sabbath worship with unique and memorable tracks of its own. Try to find it on Ebay for a reasonable price. If you succeed, let me know.
The Police's Regatta De Blanc (1973)
On a whim, I bought the remasters of Regatta de Blanc and Zenyatte Mondatta at Best Buy. Both turned out to be well worth it, full of more memorable songs than one might imagine. Perfectly calm and simple music for driving around with the windows down.
Entrails's The Tomb Awaits (2011)
To reinforce the myth that I actually do follow and look for new music, here is an album that actually came out in 2011. It's Stockholm-style Swedish death metal in the vein and very much in homage of Entombed, and yet the group writes new and memorable songs, arguably better than much of the output by the genre's pioneers.
Bolt Thrower's Mercenary (1998)
I wasted a lot of time checking out death metal in 2011, in most cases to very little avail. With this Bolt Thrower album, I've always found, amid simplicity, memorable and fun songs to jam out to during long car rides.
Other highlights of 2011:
- Willow Smith's 21st Century Girl
- The Young & The Restless' Diane Jenkins murder storyline
- "Now, I’ve been told by some people, well, you can’t get that done. I say why? 'Well, because you don’t know how Washington works.' Yes, I do. It doesn’t."
- "The only reason you didn't become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994."