TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2011

This wasn't easy. Here's my disclaimer: My top 10 albums of 2011 are my top 10 FAVORITE albums of 2011. I'm neither submitting to you nor myself that these are the best albums of 2011... But they are my favorite. Enjoy.

10 | FIEST + METALS



I believe I bought this record on a whim at a Starbucks before getting on the road to go somewhere. I found myself always going back to it cause it was EASY to listen to. I'm normally not a big fan of female vocalists. Fiest is definitely one of those exceptions. Aurally, this record was special - very warm - like I said - easy to listen to.


9 | MAT KEARNEY + YOUNG LOVE



A few years ago when 'City of Black and White' came out, I went to Minglewood Hall here in Memphis to see the opener for Mat, Erin McCarley. After Erin was done I decided to stay for Mat even though I had seen him before and did not enjoy his spoken word stuff. I was in shock. His songs were genius. His band was great. He performed. He blew me away. I have followed him ever since. This record was great. Great production is very interesting to me... that's definitely the thing that stands out to me here. The production. (This album wins best album cover of the year for me)


8 | COLDPLAY + MYLO XYLOTO



Coldplay in general is a game-changing band. There's a possibility that 'Parachutes' is my favorite record of all time. I've seen them live a few times, and almost nothing compares to their live show (not even U2). I knew this record was really gonna either be hit or miss for me. It hit. They never fail to reinvent themselves. This record is a piece of history because of that. Song that stood out - "Us Against The World." Wow. Head and shoulders...


7 | MATT REDMAN + 10,000 REASONS



Very few music worship records are this strong from top to tail. This record holds a special place for me because I was there at the LIFT collective with 1000 other worship leaders when it was recorded live. I knew as soon as they started introducing these songs that it was going to be a game changer. 10,000 Reasons is one of those songs that we'll be singing for 200 years. This is definitely the best music worship record I've heard in a while. Unbelievable.


6 | FOSTER THE PEOPLE + TORCHES



I like to party. This was my party record of the year. Smells like summer time.


5 | HILLSONG UNITED + AFTERMATH



The only reason this record is higher up on my list than 10,000 Reasons is because of the production. I love the SONGS on 10,000 Reasons, but this record is INTERESTING. From what I understand, they pretty much rented a studio for a few months and every morning would go surfing - then invite everyone to the studio to make the best/most creative record they could - For the Glory of God. So... Cheers. Great job.


4 | FLEET FOXES + HELPLESSNESS BLUES



This record is brilliant. I'm a melody man. The vocals kill me. I enjoy this whole record from top to tail, but one song stands tall above all the rest. I actually submit that 'Helplessness Blues' is the best song of the year. (I'll do an entire post about that song at a later date.) I have a 'Saloon' in my backyard which is more or less an elaborate storage shed that has an iPod dock and a fridge in it - This album is pretty much on repeat when the crew is hanging out in the Saloon grilling burgers. 


3 | THE STROKES + ANGLES



I love Rock and Roll. This record really impressed me. I feel like The Strokes - despite whatever they've been through - are stronger than ever. This record is full of energy, melody, and grit. I like everything about The Strokes - Their story - The fashion - The attitude... So good. I'm a huge sucker for bass lines and guitar parts - This album is dripping with em.


2 | LENNY KRAVITZ + BLACK AND WHITE AMERICA



Lenny Kravitz is the epitome of Rock and Roll for me. He literally is the coolest cat available. He can play it all - entertain you - write - It's all there. I feel like I have a special connection with Lenny because this past year I found myself (if only for a moment) on his private beach on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. I've been a huge Lenny fan for years... and this record is why. Horns... Riffs... Positive messages... I LOVE IT. This was my favorite vinyl to come out this year. Check out this video and check out why! VINYL, Y'ALL.

1 | BON IVER + BON IVER



Wow. There is no telling how many times I've listened to this record this year. Unbelievable. I once drove from Memphis to my wife's parent's house about 4 hours away and listened to this entire record on REPEAT... LOUD. This record does it for me. No, it's not the typical production... but on one hand, I think this is one of the best produced records of the year. It's so perfect. I think the biggest thing that Justin Vernon does for me is - creates a vibe. I'm in the business of vibe creation... nobody can do this like Justin. It's cold - It's winter - It's warm - It's safe - It's emotional - It's clean - It's dirty. If you don't have this record, please consider getting it. There will be NO BETTER record to listen to if it snows this year. It's fantastic.

#SURFMEMPHIS

Posted by Josh Maze at 10:35 AM