Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Corners Best of 2011

I can't help it if I fall in love with you again, I'm calling just to let you know it dawned on me... (Wilco - Dawned On Me)

2011 was a great year for me personally and another fine year in terms of music. As usual, there was music that seemed to come from nowhere: The Decemberists, The High Dials, R.E.M. (sounded a bit like earlier R.E.M.); music from old reliables: Wilco and John Hiatt. I saw some great shows this year: John Prine, Steve Earle, My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers and much to my surprise Paul McCartney.

Sadly we lost some artists including the great Clarence Clemons. Bruce Springsteen is planning to release new music and tour in 2012, but it is hard to imagine E Street without the Big Man. The White Stripes and R.E.M. annouced their breakups from their web pages. Music will continue in 2012, but let's look back.

Top 10 CDS of 2011

1. The Decemberists - The King is Dead - The music is classic "folk rock" with a twist of R.E.M. Peter Buck plays on several songs and you can hear the R.E.M. influence.. Highlights include Down By the Water, The Calamity Song, Rox in the Box and This Is Why We Fight. The lyrics are interesting and the CD is solid throughout.

2. Wilco - The Whole Love - Another outstanding outting from Chicago's best. Jeff Tweedy and company seem more confident and the CD is more even than recent releases Highlights include Dawned On Me, Born Alone, Capitol City, Standing O and The Art of Almost.


3. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now - R.E.M.'s comeback album was short live whent the band annouced thier breakup later in the year. This release hearkens back to earlier R.E.M. Highlights include Mine Smell Like Honey, It Happened Today, Uberlin and Oh My Heart.

4. My Morning Jacket - Circuital - I must admit that after 2008's CD of the year Evil Urges, I was a bit disappointed with Circuital. It's not that it is not a fine record, my expectations were probably too high. Circuital contains several really good songs including Victory Dance, First Light, Circuital and Outta My System.
5. The High Dials - Anthems For Doomed Youth -Music like this is a breath of fresh air. They don't make music like this anymore or do they? The High Dials play homage to the 60's or 70's but manage to still sound fresh. Plenty of highlights abound, but Teenage Love Made Me Insane, I'm Over You (I Hope It's True), Uruguay and Snowed In should be heard.

6. John Hiatt - Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
7. Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive
8. Old 97's - The Grand Theatre, Vol. 2
9. The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
10. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto


Top 10 Songs of 2011

  1. The Decemberists - Down By the Water
  2. The Decemberists - The Calamity Song
  3. Wilco - Dawned On Me
  4. R.E.M. - Mine Smell Like Honey
  5. The High Dials - Teenage Love Made Me Insane
  6. The Decemberists - This is Why We Fight
  7. R.E.M. - It Happened Today
  8. My Morning Jacket - First Light
  9. The Decemberists - Rox in the Box
  10. Wilco - Born Alone


Top Concert 2011

2011 was really a fantastic year in terms of concerts. I saw John Prine, My Morning Jacket, Steve Earle and The Avett Brothers. However, the best concert of the year was hands down (or hands up) Paul McCartney at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, OH. Paul was fantastic, sounded and looked great. He ran through classic song after classic, from The Beatles All My Lovin', Blackbird, Elanor Rigby to his great solo stuff from Band On the Run, Mrs. Vanderbilt and Jet. One of the best concerts that I have ever seen period.