Every year (for the last couple years anyway), DJ Earworm puts out a mashup of some of the most popular songs. I think Earworm takes the catchiest hooks from these radio hits and blends them into something better.
“United States of Pop 2011 (World Go Boom)”
Download mp3 version United States of Pop 2011
The AV Club just released its list of least essential albums of 2011.
I listen to a lot of music, but am not sure I can think of an album I would deem “least essential of 2011.” If pressed, I’d probably have to say both The Game and Lil Wayne released albums no one will think twice about in 2012.
What’s the worst album you heard this year?
Here are my favorite albums of 2011:
Washed Out Within and Without
I found this video on the ISO50’s top 15 videos of 2011.
I got a few suggestions for favorite albums from 2011. Check out a couple tracks.
“In the Fog”
Raven Death, 1972
In South Africa taxi drivers promote their favorite artists to a captive audience – their passengers.
The Roots, hip-hop band from Philadelphia, hit us with their thirteenth album. Undun is a concept album that tells that story of a drug dealer whose life is cut short.
The album’s smooth sound is a mix of lounge and classical music. If it weren’t for the rapped lyrics, the album would probably be considered something closer to neo-soul. I don’t mean for that to be in an insult. The music is very melodic and, for the most part, seems like something you’d find playing in the background of some chic restaurant that specializes in cocktails and mood lighting.
Instead of the typical gangster swagger and glorification of the “street” lifestyle often found in rap these days, Undun one paints more of a story of a person who is on their own, struggling with his situation. Songs like “Lighthouse” attempts to portray the solitude of having to live the dog eat dog lifestyle of a drug dealer trying to move up in the world. Some of the lyrics talk about having to off a friend because it needed to be done to continue dealing. In a way, it attempts to humanize someone who would otherwise be demonized.
Undun does slow down quite a bit toward the middle. Some of the tracks are interludes, done in classical style – strings included. In between interludes, songs don’t do enough to differentiate themselves. I found my attention wandering after hearing several similar sounding songs in a row.
Adam: “The music is very melodic.”
Lauren: “Would I listen to the whole album over and over? No. But there was one song I really liked.”
Verdict: Overall, people seemed to like the mellow sound of Undun, but wouldn’t put the album into regular rotation. The lyrics were a little polarizing. Some people thought the explicit language wasn’t necessary to tell the story. As with all concept albums, the strength of the idea behind the album is what helps to propel it to success. Undun doesn’t stray far from telling its story, but the short life of a drug dealer just wasn’t strong enough to keep my attention for 14 tracks.
Videos from the album:
“Tips the Scale”
For some reason, I haven’t checked in on these guys for several years. They still seem to be putting out a lot of mellow, catchy hip-hop.
“Don’t Hate the Playa”
I loved Neon Indian’s first album. The second didn’t have as many standout tracks as the first, but I think “Polish Girl” is pretty solid.
Next album review: The Roots Undun.
And – let’s be serious – how many people really knew The Roots played “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” when Michelle Bachmann came out on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Maybe the three high schoolers who still listen to ska, that’s who.