The Top 50 Albums of 2011

It is that time of year where you can’t escape from the countdown lists. You can view ours at the top of the page under the heading of ‘The Top 50 Albums of 2011’. View albums from Bjork, Foster The People, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, P.J Harvey and many more (45 to be exact). What do you think of the list? Where are your favourite albums placed? Have we missed any?

You can also download a playlist for Spotify: Top 50 Albums of 2011

Birdy ‘Birdy’ Album Review

Birdy or Jasmine van den Bogaerde has chosen some fantastic covers from Fleet Foxes to The Postal Service; whilst her cover of ‘Skinny Love’ rivals that of Bon Iver’s for beauty. However, too often it doesn’t feel like she has stamped her identity well enough onto songs but merely covered them with a piano; a prime example is that of ‘Young Blood’ (Naked and Famous) where the structure of the song is unchanged, whilst her voice on Terrible Love attempts to replicate that of Matt Berninger (The National).

The highlight of this album has to be ‘Without a Word’, the one song on the album written by Birdy, it clearly shows the potential of the young women and the album would have benefitted from more of her own songs. Both ‘Without a Word’ and ‘Skinny Love’ benefit from the delicate vocals and piano, however, after an album of this it does become a little repetitive. There are also some clear comparisons formed between Birdy and Adele and it feels a little bit of the record company trying to capitalise on this.

There are some beautiful moments on this album but it is mostly an average affair. However, she is only 15 years old and with some better direction she could create something quite wonderful.

Key Songs: Skinny Love, Without a Word, I’ll Never Forget You and People Help The People

Out Now!


Top 5 Most Underrated Artists

Here are my top five underrated artists, which deserve a little more attention:

1.Thomas Dybdahl – This man is huge in his home country of Norway, but here in England we’ve just never picked up on him despite many attempts to break through. It’s a real shame because he is a very talented young man; he manages to break your heart whilst your foot taps to an infectious beat (Dice, This Year). The song structures are well crafted as you’re never quite sure which direction his songs will go; this gives rise to an exciting listen. His lyrics are passionate and heartfelt, and sung in a very unique voice.

2.The Subways – This threesome from Hertfordshire have had ample opportunities to make it big, they have appeared on the OC and in the film RocknRolla, but yet they remain to be a cult band. As a three piece their music is raw, loud and very very catchy.
3.The Crookes – A lot of hype was behind this band when their debut was released, with fans in Richard Hawley and Noel Gallagher, yet nothing really came of them.  It’s not hard to see why they are often likened to The Smiths, but they provide a twist on this fusing their jangling guitars with a 1960’s pop. Their lyrics are very well crafted and owe a lot to the angry young men group of the 1950’s: “Take me back into that bloody haze. We’ll set those lies ablaze”.

4. Admiral Fallow – A young Scottish band (whom used to go by the name The Louis Brother Collective) are a catchy folk band. They have created layered songs with a multitude of instruments (double bass; flute); yet the album flows well and is consistent.  They deserve much more than a (dreary) Mumford and Sons comparison.
5. James Vincent McMorrow – The comparisons with Bon Iver are strong, both secluded themselves to create a rich folky album. What makes James Vincent McMorrow special is that he wears his heart on his sleeve; you can hear his voice break as he sings an emotional line. His only album to date represents the environment it was recorded, when you listen to it, the lyrics and instruments used conjure up a beached landscape, he created a truly beautiful album.