This was a year when most everybody needed to cut loose, kick off their Sunday shoes and dance. If you had moves like Jagger, I hope you didn’t apologize for the party rockin’. High energy, dance-infused club music dominated the charts and airwaves, while a countrified version of the ’80s hit flick “Footloose” kicked up some dust.
This was a year when most everybody needed to cut loose, kick off their Sunday shoes and dance.
If you had moves like Jagger, I hope you didn’t apologize for the party rockin’.
High energy, dance-infused club music dominated the charts and airwaves, while a countrified version of the ’80s hit flick “Footloose” kicked up some dust.
A few artists managed to slip in moments of glory and make us listen.
“Pumped Up Kicks” (Foster The People) and “Born This Way” (Lady Gaga) added substance to the groove, while Britain’s Adele proved that in an era of hype, less can be more.
With that, here’s a countdown of The Farr Side’s top 10 albums of 2011:
10. “F.A.M.E., ” Chris Brown
Chris Brown has repented enough for the Rihanna incident. I don’t condone such actions as he was accused, but his music is another story. This album showcased a Brown we knew existed and were eager to see again. “Yeah 3 X” was the perfect first single, but the magic didn’t just stop there. Hits galore followed including ““She Ain’t You, “ “Deuces,” “Next To You,” and “Look At Me Now” feat. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes. Brown is in the caliber of other such R&B equivalents as Usher, NeYo and Jason Derula when this good. “F.A.M.E.” should make you want to go back and check out his previous “Graffiti.”
Best tracks: “Yeah 3 X,” “Look At Me Now”
9. “Femme Fatale,” Britney Spears
I’ve grown to appreciate Britney Spears more the older she gets. She has weathered highs and lows, but managed to come out better than before. This record was the new “Brit,” or at least a new and improved version of her auto-tuned self. And, I like it. The heavy-hitting euro-tech infused sound is heard throughout the 16-track set, which coincidently doesn’t include a ballad. Her voice is best suited for music that makes people want to move. Case in point — the No. 1 track “I Wanna Go.” Critics and haters take note: Brit Brit will go anywhere she wants to go, go, go. In 2011, she wanted to go straight to No. 1, again.
Best tracks: “Til The World Ends,” “I Wanna Go,” “Criminal”
8. “Kaleidoscope Heart,” Sara Bareilles
Bareilles is the perfect mix of artistry, performer and the girl next door. She shone as a judge on “The Sing Off,” but this girl can sing if radio gives her the opportunity. She’s a lyrical genius with some of the catchiest lines around, yet it’s her personality coming through her delivery that gets me every time. Remember her “Love Song” hit from her debut “Little Voices”? This album illustrates her growth even more. She does not get the credit she deserves, so until then, her music will have to go uncharted.
Best tracks: “Uncharted,” “Gonna Get Over You,” “King Of Anything”
7. “Hands All Over” (Deluxe), Maroon 5
Adam Levine and the guys of Maroon 5 released this album in fall 2010, but a hit TV show and the pairing of two former Best New Artist Grammy winners later made the deluxe version a hot commodity. Levine and Christina Aguilera were at odds most of the time on “The Voice,” but on the No. 1 smash “Moves Like Jagger” they were a match made in heaven. You could not escape the song in 2011. The band also linked up with Lady Antebellum for a surprising duet on “Out Of Goodbyes.” Levine’s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds since the band’s inception, and now the group’s sound is evolving even more.
Best tracks: “Never Gonna Leave This Bed,” “Stutter,” “Moves Like Jagger”
6. “Love?” Jennifer Lopez
Don’t call it a comeback — she’s been here for years. I’ve never been a fan of the term “comeback,” but for J-Lo, “Love?” was like a comeback to the charts. Lopez’s last couple of albums failed to make a splash, but her drive remained intact. That was never more evident than when she came to “American Idol.” Fueled by that and a hot song featuring Pitbull, she was ready to get back “On The Floor.” This beat-stomping, dance-floor thumper became an instant hit for Lopez, who desperately needed to silence the critics. The new album featured a slew of bass-driven tracks, euro in style, produced by LA Reid, Red One, and Lopez. Welcome back!
Best tracks: “On The Floor,” “One Love,” “Papi”
5. “Sorry For Party Rocking,” LMFAO
Trust me, they aren’t sorry. Redfoo and Skyblu are partying all the way to the bank with this one. This is definitely a party starter, no matter where you might be when it’s on. Catchy beats and modern lyrical flair made for the year’s most infectious collection of upbeat, in your face, fun and contagious music. You simply cannot sit still when this album is on, and why would you want to? Every once in a while, a novelty song comes along and get everyone’s attention. What makes this one different is it’s not a just one track, it’s an entire album of non-stop silliness guaranteed to get you movin’.
Best tracks: “Party Rock Anthem,” “Sexy And I Know It,” “Best Night"
4. “Planet Pit,” Pitbull
Pitbull is the top dawg for me this year. The hip Miami MC was everywhere, including the charts with this smash-hit featuring a smorgasbord of great guest artists. Start with the mega No.1 track, “Give Me Everything” featuring Ne-Yo, AfroJack and Nayer. Other guests include Jamie Foxx, T-Pain, Enrique Iglesias and Chris Brown. Marc Anthony also appears on the single “Rain Over Me,” a song that hit soon after Pit’s collaboration with Anthony’s then wife, Jennifer Lopez. Pitbull is a rapper/MC the way I prefer it done. He doesn’t proclaim to be the best at what he does, but what he does turns out awesome. This album unites the dance/club world with rap like no other this year. Kudos.
Best tracks: “Shake Senora,” “Give Me Everything,”?“Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor)”
3. “Torches,” Foster the People
Foster the People is the breakthrough artist of 2011 and “Torches” is the breakthrough album. The indie/alternative act was content making music that didn’t appeal to the masses until “Pumped Up Kicks” caught the attention of music lovers from across the aisle. I can remember hearing the song by chance in May and immediately wanting to know more. The hit single also caused a stir with its social content, perhaps shedding even more light on bullying and hidden anger issues. True, the song is dark and moody, but if it got people talking, it did what it should have. Hats off to Mark Foster for penning one of the year’s best singles. The rest of the album is fantastic, too. Foster the People opened the door for many other Indie artists, too.
Best tracks: “Pumped Up Kicks,” "Helena Beat”
2. “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga
What more can I say??Lady Gaga is an envelope-pusher on a mission to take over the world. I’m guessing she was born this way. What an album. “Born This Way” has it all, including a killer title track. And it contains another socially conscious single during a time when people need to hear it most. I applaud her for that. But the madness didn’t end with “BTW,” it grew. Hit single after hit single followed making for another stellar collection of hits. Costumes and makeup aside, she’s a force with talent and artistry we’ve only just begun to witness. She can rock, she can roll, she can do it all. If it weren’t for Adele, Gaga would own the 2012 Grammys.
Best tracks: “Born This Way,” “You And I,” “The Edge Of Glory,” “Hair”
1. “21,” Adele
One word: Masterpiece. An album of this stature, caliber and significance comes only once in a while. For years to come, it will be listed among other great works like “Thriller,” “Tapestry”?and “Jagged Little Pill.” It literally blew me away. Having been a fan since “Chasing Pavement” from her debut, “19,” I was in awe after listening to “Rolling In The Deep.” Where did this incredible music come from? Who got into her head so much that this emotion came pouring out? I’m sorry she had a bad relationship, but if this was a result, then it’s true:?better to have lost at love than to have never to have loved at all. Her vocals are gripping and heartbreaking, especially on “Someone Like You.” The song gets in your bones. The realness is evident, but it’s the delivery of impeccable lyrics that drives the message home. There’s not a bad track on the album, and better yet, they don’t grow tiresome with repeated listens. “21” is likely to sweep the 2012 Grammys, nabbing Album, Song and Record of the Year for “Rolling In The Deep.” Adele’s vocal talents set her part into a class all her own during 2011. If you don’t already own this album, get a copy. You will quickly learn why Adele’s music came in at the right time.
Best tracks: All of them
Contact David T. Farr at email@example.com.