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From Thundering Tales of Heartbreak to Poetic Lullabies: The Best Albums of 2011

Byline: by Brooke Ketron

Posted: March 3, 2012

As the new year begins, a look back into this year's top artists offerings illuminates the new and enduring artists to come.

1.) 21, Adele
There is a reason this lovely Brit cleaned out the Grammys a few weeks ago. Adele’s soulful sound is unmatched by any other pop star currently hitting the airwaves. No stranger to adversity, Adele delivers a heart-wrenching and easily relatable album about what she calls a "rubbish relationship." Songs such as "Someone Like You" and "Don’t You Remember" paint a picture of the hard task of letting go and moving on from a past loved one. Adele’s vocal styling in "Set Fire to the Rain" commands the attention of her audience with flawless falsetto slips and roaring full-range hooks.

2.) Major/Minor, Thrice
The epitome of experimentation and musical evolution, Thrice influences many popular rock bands on the radio today. Thrice’s "Yellowbelly" opens the album with an aggressive riff that confronts abusive fathers. "Call It In Air" takes on the decibel scale as it ranges from its soft intriguing intro into its powerfully intimate chorus. Lead vocalist, Dustin Kensrue, calls out indecisive procrastinators in crucial times. The instrumentation fused with lyrics like "You have to choose, and what you stand to lose you’ve been putting up all of your life" is enough to cause your hair to stand on end. With such powerfully diverse songs and an equally impressive live show, it is no wonder why most of the music community give this band the upmost respect.

3.) Free, Twin Atlantic
This quartet, hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, brings a flurry of passion and independence to the pop-rock scene of the U.S. With a charming, other worldly accent, Sam McTrusty and his bandmates wrote an inspiring album with political punch. Opening track, "Edit Me" is a hard-hitting rock anthem of being true to yourself and not letting society influence who you are – a common struggle among youth worldwide. "We Want Better, Man" wraps up the album with a subdued melody. McTrusty rallies listeners to demand better from the government, as the title suggests. If you were not paying close attention, Twin Atlantic may have flown under your radar, but prepare to hear a lot more from them with an upcoming stint on this summer’s Warped Tour.

4.) Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Few artists are able to tell a story in as raw and compelling a way as the folk band, Bon Iver. In their self-titled album, Bon Iver continues telling tales of heartbreak with poem-like ballads, free of conventional songwriting tactics. With pure, unaltered tones, songs like "Holocene" are brought to life with real emotion and talent spilled with every word. While most artists concentrate on writing the next hook for their hit, Bon Iver’s "Calgary" has a more natural sounding approach that make the song flow effortlessly from start to finish.

5.) Acid Wolfpack, Coyote Kisses
Whether you like him or not, most people have heard of Skrillex, a name synonymous with the rising music genre known as dubstep. While it is generally assumed that all electronic music sounds the same, Coyote Kisses gives a different spin on all the bells and whistles. "Two Suns" (originally from the Star Wars Soundtrack) is remixed and re-amped to the tune of early 1990s video game tunes with a new electronic/dubstep feel, unlike any other. "Starchaser" runs with the speed of light as its arpeggios take you through a sonic adventure through space; making it almost impossible to sit still. All in all, Coyote Kisses experiments with new futuristic sounds, which never fails to keep the music progressing.

Last Updated: March 3, 2012

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