Wait…WHAT?’s Favorite Albums of 2011 (#5 – #1)

Alright y’all, let’s just jump right in! Here are my top five album picks that I found to be absolute ear candy in 2011!

#5. Daughtry – Break The Spell

What I appreciate about Daughtry’s Break The Spell is that there is more of an overall rock feel to this album. Don’t get me wrong, I love the radio-friendly mid-tempos that have done well with their fan base and have brought them success,  but I’ve always wanted a harder sound from this band. I feel like they took the best of 2009’s Leave This Town, pushed themselves in the studio, and it paid off in dividends. Between the stellar new music and Chris Daughtry’s fantastic vocal range, Break The Spell is Daughtry’s best album to date.

Definite Downloads: “Renegade,” “Outta My Head” & “Rescue Me”

#4. Panic! At The Disco – Vices & Virtues

My love affair with Panic! At The Disco started in late June of 2011 after seeing them live for the first time at The Warfield in San Francisco. The next day I went out and bought the band’s third album, Vices & Virtues, and it rocked my world. The album is made up of pop-rock/electro music with lush and theatrical song arrangements and catchy lyrics that made me wish that I was better at stringing words together . Vices & Virtues basically restored my faith in pop music. Good pop music does exist, and this album was pretty much the musical air that I chose to breathe in all summer long.  The album flows like a well put-together set list. I feel like I could go on and on about this one, but I’ll just say that Vices & Virtues was one of the best surprises to be introduced to my world of music in 2011.

Definite Downloads: “Hurricane,” “Ready To Go (Get Me Out of My Mind),” “Always” & “The Calendar”

3. Gavin DeGraw – Sweeter 

From the moment I learned that Gavin was set to release his fourth album in 2011, the countdown was on! With Sweeter, Gavin worked with co-writers for the first time, including OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, Butch Walker, and Andrew Frampton. I think that this new album is such a great mix of music. You have your patent soulful and romantic Gavin songs and then on the flip side, you have these sexier pop tunes which gives the record that dose of lyrical realism and adds to the overall musical growth displayed on Sweeter. As a longtime fan of Gavin’s, I feel like he really found a great balance between the sound we came to love him for and the sound that’s going to push his career to the next level.

Definite Downloads:  “Not Over You,” “Soldier,” “Radiation” & “Spell It Out”

2. Adele – 21

Adele’s blockbuster album, 21, really reminded me of how music can affect our emotions so powerfully. The songs that made up 21 kind of just fed my soul. You’ve got songs  for when you’re feeling sassy, and you’ve got songs for when you’re in need of a good old fashioned ugly cry. (What does ugly crying look like? Check out the Saturday Night Live skit below!)

I really feel like there hasn’t been such an emotion-laden record that has seemingly struck a chord with so many people like 21 has in quite awhile. Take note singer/songwriters; this is how a honest record about love and heartache is done. Cheers, Adele!

Definite Downloads: “Rolling in the Deep,” “Rumour Has It,” “Set Fire to the Rain” & “He Won’t Go”

And my favorite album of 2011 is……

#1. Patrick Stump – Soul Punk

A well-crafted, synthed out hybrid of pop, R&B, and hip-hop music written, performed, and produced single-handedly by Patrick Stump is why his debut solo album, Soul Punk, is my pick for Best Album of 2011. Taking cues from his influences, David Bowie, Prince, and Michael Jackson, Stump brings 80’s dance-pop to a contemporary setting with songs like, “Everybody Wants Somebody,” “Dance Miserable,” and “Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers).” Each track on Soul Punk delivers a unique lyrical perspective, as well as a diverse musical arrangement, where the combination of the two makes for some of the best pop music I have had the pleasure of listening to in quite a while. I appreciate the overall creativity and musicianship that went into the production of this album, and the talented artist for choosing to embrace the sound he musically identifies with and making it his own. (Originally posted on Blogcritics.)

Being that I have a great affinity towards pop music, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that my favorite album of the year is Patrick Stump’s Soul Punk. I found this record to be extremely well done, smart, and thought-provoking. The song arrangements are intricate, extremely catchy, and most importantly, pleasing to the ear. Between this record and his Truant Wave EP, which was also released in 2011, Patrick made me sublimely happy with his kick awesome tunes.

Definite Downloads: “Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers),” “Everybody Wants Somebody,” “Allie” & “This City” featuring Lupe Fiasco

I think that Soul Punk along with some of the other aforementioned pop records on my list of favorites really speak to the art of good pop music. I honestly feel like pop music doesn’t get it’s due anymore, and that’s because the majority of it these days is just kind of garbage. However, when you take the time to listen to a band that you maybe wouldn’t ordinarily listen to, or take a chance on an artist that you might have previously written off, you might end up finding that their music is a real gem.

Oh, you haven’t heard some/all of the albums that made my Favorite Albums of 2011 list? Do you like free music? Here’s the deal: I have a Facebook page for the blog and when it receives 100 likes, I will have a contest and give away a digital copy of one of my favorite albums! You get to choose which one, of course. Sounds good, right?

I hope y’all enjoyed reading about my favorite music from 2011! I am so stoked for what new music is to come in 2012!

Hit me up in the comments & let me know what your favorite albums of 2011 were!

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Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an entertainment writer and editor from the SF Bay Area. When not listening to music or cheering on the San Jose Sharks, she's probably at the movies. Follow her on Twitter: @KirsCoachman

One thought on “Wait…WHAT?’s Favorite Albums of 2011 (#5 – #1)”

  1. I love what you said about Daughtry, and totally agree! It’s s great album. Sweeter is my favorite by a mile! Perfect album.

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