Friday, May 06, 2011

Albums and Singles that are WORTH IT!!! (The 2011 T1 Report)

Before we get to the main event, a couple miscellaneous categories:

Best Pre-2011 Album I've Heard for the First Time in 2011 (aside from Neil Diamond):
Franco & Rochereau -- Omona Wapi ('85, from Zaire, gorgeous)

Best Thing I've Written This Year (I Think):
"More Than Words: Three Ways of Making Christian Hair Metal in 1990" ft. Holy Soldier, Stryper, and Extreme (at Burnside Writers' Collective)

Best Thing I've Actually Played This Year:
Charles-Marie Widor's Toccata from his 5th Organ Symphony
(Easter postlude! Play as you peruse. I was competent, but not this good:)

And now, here's the buyer's guide. Or at least a checker-outer's guide. These are all the albums I've heard that've been Worth It on the patented Worth It/Not Worth It grading scale. It's very similar to the patented Sheep & Goats grading scale: Worth Its don't seem like a chore to listen to again, whereas Not Worth Its do. Not all Not Worth Its are bad, per se; I wouldn't hate you for liking them or anything. But when I think of sitting through them again I feel apathy at best, revulsion at worst. So... the following albums don't create feelings of apathy or revulsion in my sick soul. High praise! (My reviews, or sometimes the Singles Jukebox's reviews, are linked where available.)

Just a brief statistical note -- There's 22 albums on this Worth It list, and I've heard 68 new albums this year. 68 is a drop in the overall bucket, of course, but we'll assume that this .324 average is statistically relevant as a baseline. The genre I've heard most of is CCM (13 albums), which is sitting at a .308 average, .016 below baseline. Not terrible. (Actually, I've probably heard more than 13 indie rock albums, but I don't feel like agonizing over what counts as indie rock right now.) Genres I feel guilty about neglecting so far this year: metal, regional Mexican, rap, and jazz. Much to do!

Neil Diamond--The Bang Years: 1966-1968 (Legacy) (major, reissue)
Monotonix--Not Yet (Drag City) (indie)
Steel Magnolia--Steel Magnolia (Big Machine) (major?, country)
Thompson Square--Thompson Square (Stoney Creek '10) (indie, country)
Various Artists--Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York (Strut) (indie, reissue, Latin)
Charlotte Martin--Dancing on Needles (Test-Drive) (indie)
Various Artists--Nigeria 70 -- Sweet Times: Afro-Funk, Highlife & Juju from 1970s Lagos (Strut) (indie, reissue)
The Gun Show--Discontentment (Static Age) (indie, CCM, metal)
David Banner & 9th Wonder--Death of a Pop Star (b.i.G.f.a.c.e./eOne ‘10) (indie, rap, CCM)
Iron and Wine--Kiss Each Other Clean (4AD/Warner Bros.) (major)
Those Darlins--Screws Get Loose (Oh Wow Dang) (indie, country)
PJ Harvey--Let England Shake (Vagrant/Island) (major)
R. Kelly--Love Letter (Jive ‘10) (major, R&B)
Bright Eyes -- The People’s Key (Saddle Creek) (indie)
Simone Dinnerstein--Bach: A Strange Beauty (Sony Classical) (major, classical)
Alexi Murdoch--Towards the Sun (Zero Summer) (indie, folk)
Overcome--The Great Campaign of Sabotage (Facedown) (indie, metal, CCM)
Heavy Winged -- Sunspotted (Type ‘10) (indie, metal)
Radiohead -- The King of Limbs (no label?) (indie)
Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson, Peter Evans -- Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear) (indie, jazz)
Asphalt Orchestra -- Asphalt Orchestra (Cantaloupe) (indie, jazz, classical)
Mary Mary -- Something Big (Columbia) (major, CCM, R&B)

And My Usual Scattershot Take On Singles
Brett Dennen--”Sydney I'll Come Running”
The Ark--”Breaking Up With God”
Miranda Cosgrove--”Dancing Crazy”
Diddy--”Ass on the Floor”
Toby Keith--”Somewhere Else”
R Kelly--”Love Letter”
Eric Church--”Homeboy”
La Banda San Jose de Mesillas-- “Te Amo y Te Amo”

Mary Mary-- “Walking”
Lupe Fiasco--”Words I Never Said”
The Strokes--”Under Cover of Darkness”
Martina McBride-- “Teenage Daughters”
Mary Mary--”Something Bigger”
PJ Harvey--”The Words that Maketh Murder”
Wanda Jackson--”Shakin’ All Over”
Brad Paisley -- “This Is Country Music”
Brad Paisley -- “Old Alabama”

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