Tag Archives: Childish Gambino

Best Albums of 2011 – A Retrospective, Vol. II


Okay.  I get it.  You’re mad.  I know I said I’d have this done on Saturday, but I really did have to find a couple of the albums.  It was hard.  It took time and effort and that is just a really sad story.

Before you start reading, I must stress again the journey taking place here.  Odysseus had the Odyssey, Harry had Hogwarts, and I have this list.  Paste Magazine’s Top 50 Albums of 2011 are not to be listened to lightly.  They will change you.  They will reach inside your ears, tear out the drums and replace them with bongos.

Like I said, it’s a journey.

If you’ll recall from the first volume, the ranking system goes like this:

1 – NO. Just NO.

2 – It doesn’t offend me…much.

3 – I tolerate it.

4 – I want to see this band live. They’re great.

5 – I will stalk this band until they love me or file a restraining order.

39. “The Harrow and the Harvest” by Gillian Welch

"The Harrow and the Harvest" by Gillian Welch

Rating: 3.5/5

Best Songs: “The Way It Will Be”, “Tennessee” ,“Hard Times”

Summary: Very countrified twang.  And it’s adorable at times, moving at others.  Her voice is pure and wonderful.  The songs feel genuine.  Definitely worth a listen.

38. “The Long Surrender” by Over The Rhine

"The Long Surrender" by Over The Rhine

Rating: 4/5

Best Songs: “Infamous Love Song”, “Oh Yeah By The Way”, “Only God Can Save Us Now”, “All My Favorite People”

Summary: This album changes completely from beginning to end, but in such a seamless way that you almost don’t notice that it’s gone from country-blues to country-rock to rock.  Listen!

37.  “Slave Ambient” by The War On Drugs

"Slave Ambient" by The War On Drugs

Rating: 3/5

Best Songs: “Black Water Falls”, “Your Love Is Calling My Name”

Summary: Alternative rock band.  I’d say they’re nothing special, but then they have those two songs that I adore…I think with more than two listens, this band will begin to shine a lot more.  Get listening!

36.  “Out of Love” by Mister Heavenly

"Out Of Love" by Mister Heavenly

Rating: 5/5

Best Songs: “Pineapple Girl”, “Hold My Hand”, “Reggae Pie”

Summary: If you’ve been reading the blog long, you should know how I feel about them.  I adore them.  I’ve seen them in concert.  If you want to know more, read here.

35.  “Camp” by Childish Gambino

"Camp" by Childish Gambino

Rating: 4/5

Best Songs: “Outside”, “Letter Home”, “Heartbeat”, “That Power”

Summary:  This album blew me away.  You already know I’m not big into rap, but this was transcendent.  This album wears many hats, but somehow manages to convince the audience that they all belong in the same closet.  LISTEN TO THIS.

34.  “This Is Where We Are” by Seryn

"This Is Where We Are" by Seryn

Rating: 4/5

Best Songs: “We Will All Be Changed”, “River Song”, “Of Ded Moroz”

Summary: Very chill and relaxed light rock.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Also, River Song…if you don’t get the Doctor Who reference, that’s fine.  My nerdy preferences may not belong in this review…Anyway, definitely worth a listen.

33.  “The Head and the Heart” by The Head and the Heart

"The Head and the Heart" by The Head and the Heart

Rating: 3.5/5

Best Songs: “Winter Song”, “Sounds Like Hallelujah”, “Rivers and Roads”

Summary: Again, light rock.  Definitely an acoustic feel.  And I’m digging it.  Definitely worth a listen (more impressive since this was their debut album…even if it was originally released in 2009 then re-mastered by Sub-Pop in 2011.  Let’s not quibble over details.).

32.  “Ashes & Fire” by Ryan Adams

"Ashes & Fire" by Ryan Adams

Rating: 5/5

Best Songs: “Dirty Rain”, “Lucky Now”, “I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say”, “Do I Wait”

Summary: When I was writing down the best songs from the album, I realized I wrote down 9 of 12.  THAT’S HOW GOOD THIS WAS.  I loved it.  A light folksy feel to it.  Very simple lyrics that are more powerful because of their simplicity.  It’s great.

31.  “12 Desperate Straight Lines” by Telekinesis

"12 Desperate Straight Lines" by Telekinesis

Rating: 3.5/5

Best Songs: “You Turn Clear In The Sun”, “Car Crash”, “50 Ways”, “Fever Chill”, “Dirty Thing”

Summary: Strikes me as a rock/pop/punk band. Reminds me of Panic!, but doesn’t have that campy feel.  Which I kind of enjoy.  Sometimes it’s nice to have straightforward music…worth listening to.

30.  “Bad As Me” by Tom Waits

"Bad As Me" by Tom Waits

Rating: 3.5/5

Best Songs: “Raised Right Men”, “Talking At The Same Time”, “Pay Me”, “Hell Broke Luce” 

Summary: He is not my cup of tea.  He grows on you, but that voice is just never going to be my favorite.  It’s too bluesy and rough for me.  Worth a listen, though.  And, let me assure you, listening to this album more than once is ESSENTIAL.  Because it gets SO much better the more you listen.   And, for the record, I want to see him live (even though he’s a 3.5).  I want to know if his voice sounds like that live.  I really want to know.

All right.  That is the second installment.  Yes, you’ll notice we still have a ways to go, you and I.  But we’ll make it.  It’s like I said earlier.  It’s a journey.  It’s not about when we get to number one.  It’s about what we learn on the way.  Or something.

Before I say good night, I was wondering who’s going to the Lemon Drop benefit on Friday night?  I’ll be there.  It’s looking like it should be a good lineup.  AND, it helps out an organization that supports Springfield’s local music scene.  It’s a worthy cause, kids.

Plus, it’d give you something to do.  We all know how your social life is these days.

You’re welcome.