Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Evening's Empire - Top 20 Tracks of 2011 (10 - 6)

Firstly, I hope you all had a great Christmas. I hope that Santa got you everything you wanted, I hope that the pretty girl/guy in accounts that you've liked all year sent you a merry Christmas text - But mostly I hope that you didn't have the misfortune of having to listen to that Michael Buble Christmas album.
    Anyway, things are getting serious now, as we reach my Top 10 Tracks of 2011.

10.   King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Bats In The Attic

Earlier this year I wrote a review of the new King Creosote & Jon Hopkins album Diamond Mine (read here). Off this beautifully simple, distinctly Scottish album there was on song of particular quality - 'Bats in the Attic.

A tale of a relationship on the verge of breaking down, and one party's desire to repel this inevitability. Built around a simple piano part, and complimented with a gorgeous ambient soundtrack courtesy of Jon Hopkins.

9.   Manchester Orchestra - Pensacola

In an era of music rich with Indie Pop, Electro, and Folk it's nice to have a bit of good old fashioned rock and roll. Sounding like a cross between Jimmy Eat World and The Get Up Kids, Manchester Orchestra are one of my favourite new bands of the year.

Firstly it's catchy, really catchy. The drum roll leads you in to an anthemic chorus, which cries for you to sing along. Just a great track for those of you with a soft spot for pure and simple American rock music.

8.   Coldplay - Paradise

Say what you like about Coldplay (and most people do); Mylo Xyloto was a huge change in musical style and direction for a band which made their millions making heartfelt, pop-rock for the masses.

Paradise was the album's second single, and one which I've been listening to fairly solidly since its release. Yes, it does feature some suspect lyrics and stretched syllables; but the production & beats more than make up for this. Add an instantly singable melody and gorgeous piano and violin and you have another huge hit from the world's biggest band.

7. Ben Howard - Keep Your Head Up

This time last year I was talking of Ben Howard's talent and even chose him as my number 1 artist to look out for in 2011. Well he's had one hell of a year with his highly received debut album, a string of prestigious tour and festival slots and even a stint as Zane Lowe's 'Hottest Record in the World'.

'Keep Your Head Up' comes from his debut album Every Kingdom and is 4 minutes 20 seconds of pure inspired folk.

6.   Drake - Marvin's Room

Drake's 2011 album Take Care made a huge stir with critics and the music community at large, proving that his debut success with Thank Me Later was not a one off.

From this 18 track masterpiece, one song instantly blew me away, 'Marvin's Room'. It is based around a drunken phone conversation with his ex girlfriend, who he wants back in his life. He admits that although his life may look perfect from the outside that in reality it is far from it - 'I’ve had sex four times this week I’ll explain, Having a hard time adjusting to fame'. Such lyrical honesty and vulnerability is on display throughout 'Marvin's Room', demonstrating the huge chasm that separates Drake and the majority of his contemporaries. 

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