One of our favourite graphic designers and DJs, Rory Them Finest, takes time to share his top album and track picks from 2011! The list is carefully curated and will more than likely cause your music library to grow as your tummy would post-turkey.
Jay-Z & Kanye West — Watch The Throne
Yes, there are the boasts of "other, other Benz"'s but stay tuned for the hedonistic tales, Faustian themes, ecclesiastical language and sober evaluations of Black America's woes. It's all pedestaled on ornate production courtesy of rap royalty—past and present (check the liner notes and see silent partner Q-Tip's fingerprints).
Drake — Take Care
Drizzy gets near existential. Fame, ex girlfriend diplomacy, pros and cons of self-medication, fleeting youth, paranoia, corrupted friendships, Toronto; all rehashed with an astonishing self-awareness and/or exhausting neuroticism. Sonically, 40 makes Take Care sound like the steely, rail side, half-vacant office park where much of it was produced.
Yuck — Yuck
The fuzzy euphoria of the 90s Matador catalog is back! No one has quite so faithfully and cleverly Xerox'd the languid, seemingly accidental melodies of Guided By Voices and Pavement.
Elite Gymnastics — RUIN I & II
Enveloped in a sonic haze, these songs are sincere—and skillfully exexcuted—manipulations of jungle, mumble, shoegaze & codeine rap, as well as shrewd commentaries on the vapidity of scene culture's "shitty DJ nights."
Beyoncé — 4
There is an argument to be made for the clatter and density of 'Countdown' and 'Run The World (Girls)' as this album's relevant material. I prefer the old fashioned, schmaltzy—but more heartfelt—side of this record. When provided the latitude to just belt, Beyonce is reliably mood altering. If you don't hoot "You!" along to '1+1' I'm afraid we'll never understand each other.
Tiger & Woods — Through The Green
A party provoking DJ utility that has the added bonus of being a wholly listenable trip through reassembled disco, soul and R&B.
Lady Gaga — Born This Way
A gaudy cacophony to be sure, but its fortressed production and soulful hooks give the overstimulation an anchor. Gaga is unafraid to stew gay house, country, trance, rock, flamenco; The Boss, Madge, Mutt Lange. I have spent many hours defending Gaga's musical circus to skeptics—time well spent.
The Weeknd — House of Balloons
The eerie disconnect between Abel Tesfaye's cold world, drug hardened lyrics & the celestial voice he delivers them with is not just a mind fuck, it's a new frontier for R&B. Good fortunately, Tesfaye's talent has a shadowy compatriot in Doc McKinney's production; dark, futuristic and moodily in step with a tortured storyline.
Ford & Lopatin — Channel Pressure
Scrambled nostalgia for soft rock, disco & computer pop in glossy detail. Consummate studio music with melodies that loiter.
AraabMuzik — Electronic Dreams
In the era of Akon, trance and commercial rap are difficult to divorce. But while the Guetta-fication of rap music offers plenty of cheap thrills, AraabMuzik has discovered the noir-ish possibilites of manipulated, half-timed trance. Grafted to nervy MPC accents & dystopian synths, trance excess is reborn as austere, of-the-moment. Try driving at night to this, it beats the Drive soundtrack.
Beth Ditto - Open Heart Surgery
M83 - Midnight City
Marina & The Diamonds - Radioactive
The Rapture - How Deep Is Your Love
Jay-Z & Kanye West - Niggas In Paris
DJ Khaled Feat. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne - I'm On One
Mark E - Special Effects
Drake - Marvin's Room
Beyonce - 1+1
Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
Britney Spears - Til The World Ends (Korallreven Remix)
Lil Wayne Feat. Drake - She Will
Blawan - Getting Me Down
Joy O - Swims
Kesha - Blow Todd Terje - Ragysh
Picture Plane - Real Is A Feeling (Unicorn Kid Remix)
Pure X - Voices