Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Countdown: #2

Well, isn't this exciting! We're nearing the end of my counting down what I consider to be the best albums of this musically diverse year. Some albums are highly influential, some artists were fascinating creatures to profile - and some simply deserved recognition for the overall hype they and their music created. Two of those kind of artists I'm going to delve into today; two people who have certainly put forward game-changing concepts and artistic originality over the past twelve months, and two who have a constant buzz soaring over their heads wherever they go. Although different in sound and maturity, these two figures will inevitably continue to have the industry like putty in their hands - as they continue to grow their cult followings and do things that, really, no one else is.

Lana Del Rey

LANA DEL REY - Video Games: Although only having released a few singles, this emerging star is someone who is going to do things we can't even imagine. In my previous article about Del Rey, born Lizzy Grant in New York state, I mention that her creative concept - this "gangster Nancy Sinatra" and Hollywood pop/sadcore genre breeder - is literally something no one else has cultivated. Her played-up pout, sultry cat eyes and glamour-meets-costume style is almost jarring at first; she's undeniably beautiful, but with a bellowing and melancholy-filled voice that delivers - in what I consider to be a new genre that she will be credited for - these nostalgic-sounding and epic indie pop anthems that are so big, so beyond her age and almost eery to the point of sending chills through her listeners and the music world. In every way, Del Rey is this strange musical specimen, unworldly and out of nowhere who has appeared to change the face and sound or female-driven dramatic pop. Her fascination with fame, old hollywood, sex, sadness and truth are ultimately what will bring this new star to the forefront of everything. Look out for her new album on January 31st, something tells me she's going to change everything for good. Highlight songs: Blue Jeans, Video Games, Born to Die

"I know a lot of different people. When they are drunk, in the dark of the night they all want the same thing. They all want to be famous. It's innately human to want other people to bear witness to your life. It's important for people to be watched. They don't want to be alone. I don't want to be alone." - Lana Del Rey 

Image of Bon Iver
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver

BON IVER - Bon Iver: The Grammy-nominated favourite of mine took his woodsy art-rock album For Emma, Forever Ago - an instant classic in each music library - and piled on rhythmic, mature and innovative ideas to make this absolute gem of an album during their greatest musical year yet. Justin Vernon, the mastermind behind the revolutionary indie and folk-rock band, did unbelievable things in 2011; between dipping his toe into hip-hop waters, collaborating with other up-and-coming artists and adding unlikely but genius musical elements into his most recent release - he's been secured as one of our generation's most musically memorable leaders. Also, the live show I caught four months ago was life-changing. Highlight songs: "Michicant", "Perth", "Towers", "Calgary"

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