26 December, 2011@7:55 pm
The Major Label and Indie hip-hop album lists are coming, but first, let’s take a look at the best non-rap LP’s of the year. Download these to your Ipod if you need a break from that ol’ boom bap.
10. Deadmau5 – 4×4=12 - Virgin – The fifth album from electronic maestro Joel Zimmerman was easily his biggest, and the one that pushed him into the mainstream. Massive anthems like “Some Chords”, “Sofi Needs A Ladder”, “Animal Rights”, and “Raise Your Weapon” helped propel the album, while deeper cuts like “I Said” and “Chthulu Sleeps” helped round it out as the year’s most authentic EDM LP. David who?
9. Icebird (RJD2 + Aaron Livingston) -The Abandoned Lullaby – RJ’s Electrical Connections – RJD2 has experimented with sung vocals on his solo LP’s in the past, but as it turns out, Aaron Livingston was truly the missing link for his brand of instrumentals. Together as Icebird, the duo released one of the year’s most slept on albums, which even helped land Livingston a place on The Roots’ undun LP.
8. Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi – Rome – Capitol - DM met up with composer Daniele Luppi for this ode to music of Italian cinema, which was executed brilliantly thanks to additional collaborations with Jack White and Norah Jones. A sleeper hit that found it’s “Black” as the music for the last scene of Breaking Bad‘s season finale.
7. The Black Keys - El Camino – Nonesuch – The Black Keys have had an uncanny ability to make one guy with a guitar and another guy with a drum set sound like several musicians playing at once, with their big bodied blues sound. Together with producer Danger Mouse, the two closed out the year with the biggest LP yet, sure to find them filling concert seats, without sacrificing the core sound.
6. DJ Shadow – The Less You Know, The Better - Roc-A-Fella/Verve – People almost lost faith in Shadow after The Outsider, a collection of tracks that were half in his usual tradition, and half Hyphy. Thankfully, The Less You Know, The Better was a graceful return to form – an album that still showed off his many talents and diverse musical ear, evoking the heavy sound of Endtroducing without cloning it.
5. Coldplay – Mylo Xynto – EMI - Yes, they’re huge, but it’s really hard to hate on Coldplay when they are this consistent and still pushing out albums like this one as this stage in their career. Two massive singles included – “Every Tear Drop Is A Waterfall” and “Paradise”.
4. Amy Winehouse – Lioness: Hidden Treasures – Universal Republic – Amy’s passing this year was a crushing blow to hearts of many, especially considering hopes of that third album vanished. Lioness is a collection of leftovers from Ms. Winehouse, produced and overseen by Back To Black producers Mark Ronson & Salaam Remi. Like we said in our review, Amy’s table scraps are better than many artists’ entire catalog.
3. Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do – Universal Republic – Hawthorne’s brand of classic soul with a slightly modern edge was executed even better on his second LP, suggesting that today’s overproduced approach to R&B isn’t needed if the artist’s talent is harnessed right.
2. Adele – 21 – XL / Columbia – There probably wasn’t a more surprising and heartfelt album than Adele’s 21, yet another notch on the belt of Def Jam-alumni Rick Rubin. Written mostly about her ex (who incidentally tried to sue her for inspiring her to write the album), Adele’s brutally honest, soulful LP produced huge hits in the form of “Rolling In The Deep” and “Someone Like You”, and is packed with meatier selections like “Rumor Has It” and a cover of The Cure’s “Close To You”.
1. Radiohead – King Of Limbs - Radiohead – Radiohead’s elaborately packaged eight studio album was a perfect follow-up to In Rainbows, and was independently released, to the dismay of the rest of the music industry. Words don’t do it justice, so just listen.
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