Random Thoughts

2011 in Review

Every year it seems like I put this out later.  So I’m sorry for my lateness on this, but it’s still January, so it counts right?

So Morgan, since I know you like to get sentimental, here’s the quick links to previous years – 20102009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.  And here’s some highlights of what happened in 2011:

  • The year got off to a hot start when you proposed to the love of your life.  (she said yes by the way)
  • Your band released that CD finally!  And you called it Before They Sold Out Part 1 (remember how you were complaining about how long it was taking when you wrote your 2010 year in review?  Well it was only about 5 months later, but you did finally release that album).  And it was pretty good too, and it seems like people liked it.  Also excitingly, your band wrote a whole bunch of new stuff, and are busy at the time of this writing fundraising for the next album, Before They Sold Out Part 2.  Who knows what this album will bring, but you’re pretty excited about it.
  • You’re still working for Agathon Group, and they took you to Costa Rica last year (where you also got to have a pre-honeymoon with Corinne.  If you haven’t seen them yet, you should look at your pictures on Facebook).
  • You solidified even more your love of cooking (and cocktail-making), and that’s become one of your favorite activities.  Corinne probably had something to do with that.
  • You started writing some songs for your church, which has been really fun, although your songwriting has slowed down as of late.  Don’t stop writing ya dingus!
  • You had a lot of fun with your roommates, bandmates, family, and friends, and you really don’t have much to complain about.  The Bears could be better, and condo prices could drop a little bit more, but eh, you don’t like to complain.

Oh and as always, you like to list out all the stuff you liked from the previous year, so here’s 2011:

I’ll start as I usually do with my Top 5 Music albums from the year.  This year was in my opinion, a little weak overall (I don’t know if any of my top 5 this year would have made my top 5 last year), but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t GREAT stuff that came out.  Most of the albums I was pretty into were quite heavy (although the top 5 doesn’t necessarily reflect that), with Rise Against, Dropkick Murphys, and Foo Fighters all releasing pretty kick ass albums.  This year was actually poised to be the Manchester Orchestra year, in that I was most excited for their album Simple Math to come out, and while it was a solid album, you’ll notice it only made it in my honorable mentions.

So of course, after I say that it was a weak year, it was still incredibly difficult to figure out this list.  But I’ll give it a shot.

Top 5 Albums

1) Rise Against – Endgame

I first fell in love with Rise Against thanks to Zach Vicha, who introduced me to them.  Those of you who know my taste in music well, I have quite the affinity for punk music, my favorite band of all time being Bad Religion.  With their politically conscious energetic anthems, Rise Against is taking the torch for the aging Bad Religion, and I’m totally fine with it.  Their songs are empowering, catchy, make you want to pump your fists, and then write your congressman.  I think some people may criticize them for not doing anything new with the music, but just like with Bad Religion, their songs are all about the lyrics, and with this album, their songwriting stayed crisp and inspiring.  I think there will be many more years of Rise Against, and the music world is better for it.  Just crank Make it Stop (September’s Children) in your car, and let the fist pumping begin.

2) Bon Iver – Bon Iver

There’s been an odd push back late in the year from people who have mentioned this album as being overrated.  I can certainly understand, as I’ve had a few solid albums ruined for me just because of all the hype (look at my “Fleet Foxes” Awards from previous years).  But I guess I somewhat ignored the hype, as I was just excited for this album, and it completely delivered.  The album is incredibly beautiful, and while it is still distinctly Bon Iver, it definitely goes some new and cool directions from For Emma, Forever Ago.  I never thought I would hear a double bass pedal on this album, but it’s there, and it fits.

3) Tune-Yards – Whokill

So my roommate Paul put on the video for “Bizness” off of this album back in March or something like that, and I had the song stuck in my head off and on for a month or so until I finally asked him “who was that?”  Since then, a different song from this album is stuck in my head about every month.  It’s edgy, it’s catchy, it’s goofy and strange at times, it’s just a great album.  I can’t wait to see what happens with this very young band who will hopefully be going for a while.  Bang bang my-oh!

4) The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

This was an album that in a lot of ways was hyped up so much to me that I wasn’t really interested.  And then finally when I listened to it, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t great.  While being relatively simple, and not lyrically brilliant necessarily, there are some solid moments, and the harmonies are hard to resist.  They are a very talented duo, and will hopefully just continue to get better.

5) The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You

This #5 spot was really about a 5 way tie between this album, Walls by An Horse, Going Out in Style by Dropkick Murphys, In the Pit of the Stomach by We Were Promised Jetpacks, and Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine, but I decided to keep it with The Naked and Famous.  I was introduced to them pretty early in the year, and it was about the most perfect “it’s starting to get warm” outside album.  “Young Blood” was probably the song of the summer, and it’s hard not to dance a little bit when you hear it.  It was also fun because we randomly saw them live when they opened for Freelance Whales and Foals, which solidified them as a top 5 album from me for this year, probably.

Also, just a quick mention to all of the friends of ours who released albums this past year!  Such great bands that I’m very proud to be friends with.  If you get the chance you should definitely check out:

An Aesthetic Anaesthetic – Before the Machinery of Other Skeletons
Jane Thatcher & the Pretty Pleases – (a)liveEP
Duck & Goose A Live EP
Left Turn at Albuquerque In Broad Daylight
Mutts – Pray for Rain
Heather Styka – Lifeboats for Atlantis

oh and of course

Common Shiner – Before They Sold Out Part 1

Honorable Mentions – Adele – 21, Battles – Gloss Drop, The Decemberists – The King is Dead,  Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys!, Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues, Foo Fighters – Wasting Light, Gotye – Making Mirrors, I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today, Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math, Mates of State – Mountaintops, White Lies – Ritual, The Antlers – Burst Apart, The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart, Paul Simon – So Beautiful or So What

Didn’t really have enough time to give them a fair shake – Peter Gabriel – New Blood, The Bewitched Hands – Birds & Drums, Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto, Tom Waits – Bad as Me, Loney Dear – Hall Music, Childish Gambino – Camp

Top Albums I Should Have Been into Earlier

1)  The Temper Trap – Conditions

This album won this award about 2 weeks into 2011.  I had heard of them, and while I did give the album a listen in 2010, I fell in love with it in 2011.  Great great album with a little bit of an edge at times, and wonderfully catchy.  Can’t wait for what they’ve got coming up (rumored to have an album coming out in 2012).

Theme Song of the Year

Lippy Kids – Elbow

This was also my most played track last year according to last.fm as well.  It’s such a beautiful song that evokes such a contended emotional reaction out of me.  I’ll just paste the chorus lyrics below, as they’re complex and wonderful.

Do they know those days are golden?
Build a rocket boys!
Build a rocket boys!
One long June I came down from the trees
And curbstone cool, you were a freshly painted angel
Walking on walls
Stealing booze and hour long hungry kisses
Nobody knew me at home anymore
Build a rocket boys!
Build a rocket boys!

Good stuff.

Most Disappointing Album of the Year

Codes and Keys – Death Cab for Cutie

This is actually a pretty good album overall, but it just goes to show how high a bar they’ve set for themselves.  Overall, I wasn’t significantly disappointed by any album this year, but something had to win this category.

The Fleet Foxes Award

 So this is the award I give to an album that came out that I think is a good album, I probably even own it, but that has so much over the top hype around it, that I just don’t get what the big deal is.  Fleet Foxes were the first band like this that inspired this award, and I actually really liked their new album, and the hype was not overblown for me, so they will not be winning the award.  In previous years, I’ve had about 12 albums to choose from for this award, but this year, I didn’t really have anyone, so I’m just gonna give the award to:

Tomboy – Panda Bear

Again, I didn’t dislike this album, but I still don’t see what the big deal about Panda Bear / Animal Collective is.  That said, the hype for this album died out pretty quick after it came out, so it’s solely because I have to award someone that I select this.  Sorry Panda Bear, I mean no offense.

Favorite Movie of the Year

1)  Tucker and Dave Vs. Evil

It’s the Texas Chainsaw Massacre version of Shaun of the Dead, and it’s as good as that sounds like it could be.

2)  Super 8

This is about as entertained in a movie theater as I’ve ever been.  It’s exactly what you would want from Spielberg and Abrams joining forces.

3)  The Muppets

Do I even need to go into details here?  Just see it.  It’s great.

Worst Movie of the Year

This is hard, because if you know me, you know that I do enjoy partaking of really terrible movies.  In 2011 I did decide to traverse the entirety of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series, and there’s definitely some real bad ones in there.  So in a close second I’ll say is the remake Nightmare on Elm Street, and in a solid first place:

Jason X

Jason in space.  Recipe for a terrible movie right?  Turns out, you are absolutely right.

So cheers 2011, you weren’t too shabby!  Now on to 2012!  I’d like to bring all of you with me!

2 thoughts on “2011 in Review”

  1. Hi! My name is Morgan Foster too and we have the same taste in music! How weird! I am in love with Rise Against. Haha. The things I find while searching “morganfoster.com” Hahaha!

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