Monday, December 12, 2011

My top albums of 2011

Ok, here we go. There's been plenty of good stuff out this year, so what makes it to my favourites list? In time honoured fashion, here's the top three in reverse order.

3. Megadeth "Thirte3n"

A magnificent return to form for Dave Mustaine's baby. The usual heavy riffing combined with pointed lyrics which have moved on from the days of death and destruction. Maybe Mustaine's (relatively) newly found Christianity gives him a wider outlook on life with social issues and comments on abuse of democracy now getting good prominance.

At a time when Metallica's standing in rock circles is falling, this stunning set of tracks should have got some tongues wagging when they reunited with their old band mate recently at their 30th Anniversary shows.

All we need now is a UK return for Megadeth. Hard Rock Hell 6?

2. Black Country Communion "2"

No surprise here. I could ditto everything I said about 2010's debut album and add some, as this is no doubt up at another level.

With every classic rock influence in the book (and, yes, cliche), this album can be played time and again. Four outstanding musicians gelling with a great producer, backed up with some high voltage live appearances all makes for a potent cocktail of energetic, classy and thoughtful hard rock.

1. Coldplay "Mylo Xyloto"

Yes, that's right, you haven't misread it - Coldplay get my vote for album of the year (and I get banned from The Steelhouse!

The band that nobody admits to liking superbly span the often wide gap between pop and rock. This is an absolute gem and the band's best work since 2004's "A Rush Of Blood To The Head", which quite frankly it needed to be after the disappointments of albums three and four.

Where to start? Well, in a music world where the indie art rock form longs for a Pink Floyd or a 1990s Radiohead, this more than nicely does the job.

What I like most is, well, everything, from the fact that it's forty minutes long like albums used to be, and so it's not padded out with filler, to the sheer quality of the tracks. "Paradise" plays as background to many a sports montage on TV at present, "Charlie Brown" is excellent and so is "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall".

Vocals, guitar, rhythm, in all elements, it is truly the outstanding record of the year.

Also on the shortlist:

Deep Purple with Orchestra "Live in Montreux 2011", old songs performed magnificently. Girlschool "Hit and Run - Revisited", a NWOBHM classic with modern production. Whitesnake "Forevermore", a real feel of old school buried beneath the surface. The Answer "Revival", a solid third output. Chickenfoot 3, it's their second album, but hey...Michael Schenker "Temple Of Rock", breaking free from the MSG shackle.

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