The Sound of 2011

2011 has been a year of reflection, looking back with nostalgic eyes while trying to forge a new musical terrain from the myriad of influences.  Nope, this is no astrology reading but a review in the year of music,  heavily affected by the continual burden of the global debt where the meek and the mild are deemed responsible rather than the rapacious corporate world who deny everything and continue to feast on the rotting consumer corpse.  Sorry, let’s get back to the main agenda………!

Nostalgia blew heavy over us with the 20th anniversary of an array of landmark albums, certainly many more than presently released, creativity was in fine form back in 1991.  ‘Nevermind’ was the major re-release of the year but U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ was arguably just as groundbreaking at the time , although not as cool!  The re-release of U2’s seminal album certainly got less fanfare than Nirvana’s, a symptom of U2’s current fall from grace.  Other notable 20 year anniversaries were: Primal Scream’s ‘Screamdelica’, My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Bloodless’,  Massive Attack’s ‘Blue Lines’ and Metallica’s ‘Black Album’.  Plenty of room for nostalgia with a line-up as strong as that.

Twenty years later we find ourselves on a similar paradigm, same old financial malaise, impending recession, global wars, widespread anxiety etc.  Much of this spiritual and existential tension was imbued into many of our daily soundtracks adding and soothing in equal measure.  Artists ventured into darker waters, introspectively or retrospectively.  From the radio (Arctic Monkeys, Lana Del Ray, Elbow) to alternative experimentalists (Nicolas Jaar, Oneohtrix Point Never, Dirty Beaches) there was angst and soul searching expressed everywhere through the medium of sound.  Regardless of the genre, the search for understanding and a wistfulness towards the past was palpable.  Memorable stand-outs were; Fleet Foxes (Folk), Metronomy (Pop), James Blake (Electro), Girls (Indie) and tUnE yArDs (Afro-Dub-Pop)

It was also the year of the female (noted in a previous blog).  Adele’s ’21’ sold like hot cakes; Florence & the Machine,Kate Bush, Feist, Lana Del Ray, Zola Jesus, PJ Harvey, Lykke Ly, Katy B and a whole host of other wailing banshees and shadowy chantuese dominated the music news but none more so than the death of Winehouse.  Notable  highlights were the ambient, circular sounds of Glasser, the dark electro funk of Planningtorock and another gem of an album from the not as young but still incredibly young to write such developed and narrative compositions, Laura Marling.

Watch this space for my top five albums of the year………….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: