THE RUNDOWN: Year of the Album 2011

Year of the Album

With 2011 in the rear-view, how successful was my year of the album project?

A little over a year ago I took on a challenge I dubbed “the year of the album” — review everything that came across my desk which had inspired more than a cursory listen. In the end I knew that goal was a lofty one — too lofty, really — and in the end I managed to publish 89 album reviews under the “Year of the Album” banner, and had I reviewed every album I listened to more than a few times, that list would have been at least doubled. But the music I did write about in 2011 was definitely enough to disprove the theory that there’s nothing good to listen to in the pop music world. Far from it, I head into 2012 inspired to continue to ferret out as much independent pop music as I can, to show you dedicated “Hear! Hear!” readers that there’s always plenty to listen to when we’re willing to take charge and dig for it. That’s really the lesson to take from 2011 — there’s no longer a gatekeeper, so without radio to blame we have to blame only ourselves if we can’t find enough music outside the mainstream to keep our blood pumping.

For those of you who missed a review or two, here’s a one-stop shop of album reviews from the “Year of the Album” project:

JANUARY
01. Todd Alsup – “Todd Alsup”
02. Plain White T’s – “The Wonders of the Younger”
03. Blood Red Shoes – “Fire Like This”
04. SIMS – “Bad Time Zoo”
05. Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”
06/07. Easton Corbin – “Easton Corbin” / Darius Rucker – “Charleston, SC 1966”

FEBRUARY
08. Hey Rosetta! – “Seeds”
09. The Last Royals – “The Last Royals EP”

MARCH
10. The Lonely Forest – “Arrows”
11. Baby Teardrops – “X Is For Love”
12. Ari Shine – “Ghost Town Directory”
13. Nicole Atkins – “Mondo Amore”

APRIL
14. Art of Dying – “Vices and Virtues”
15. The Wailin’ Jennys – “Bright Morning Stars”
16. Alexander – “Alexander”
17. Noah and the Whale – “Last Night On Earth”
18. The Mountain Goats – “All Eternals Deck”
19. Steve Earle – “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”
20. Danny Schmidt – “Man of Many Moons”
21. Hyland – “Weights and Measures”
22. Augustana – “Augustana”

MAY
23. Lawrence & Leigh – “Odyssey Vol. III – Hills and Masts”
24. The Cars – “Move Like This”
25. The Morning Birds – “The QUICKENING”
26. The Lonely Island – “Turtleneck and Chain”
27. Vanessa Carlton – “Rabbits on the Run”
28. L’Altra – “Telepathic”
29. Eddie Vedder – “Ukelele Songs”
30. Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”
31. Hugh Laurie – “Let Them Talk”
32. Death Cab for Cutie – “Codes and Keys”
33. Only Son – “Searchlight”
34. Kate Bush – “Director’s Cut”
35. Roxette – “Charm School”

JUNE
36. Christina Perri – “Lovestrong”
37. Randi Russo – “Fragile Animal”
38. The Vaccines – “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?”
39. Stornoway – “Beachcomber’s Windowsill”
40. Silverstein – “Rescue”
41. The Wombats – “This Modern Glitch”
42. Sunday Lane – “Bring Me Sunshine EP”
43. Egypt Central – “White Rabbit”
44. Peter Bradley Adams – “Between Us”
45. Weird Al Yankovic – “Alpocalypse”
46. Graham Colton – “Pacific Coast Eyes”

JULY
47. Lonesome City Travelers – “Lonesome City Travelers”
48. Johnny Mainstream – “Shipwrecked”
49. Girls Guns and Glory – “Sweet Nothings”
50. The Fair Weathered – “Last Year”
51. Ian Lawler – “Future Nostalgia”
52. Condition Oakland – “Find Home Friend EP”
53. Amanda Shires – “Carrying Lightning”
54. Chris Thile and Michael Daves – “Sleep With One Eye Open”

AUGUST
55. Mike Doughty – “Yes and Also Yes”
56. Will Hoge – “Number Seven”
57. Alison Krauss and Union Station – “Paper Airplane”

SEPTEMBER
58. Fitz and the Tantrums – “Pickin’ Up The Pieces”
59. Committed – “Committed”
60. Chthonic – “Takasago Army”
61. Matthew Sweet – “Modern Art”
62. Matthew Good – “Lights of Endangered Species”
63. This Old Ghost – “Island of Violent Lovers”
64. We’re All Just Passing Through – “Bedroom Recordings, Vol. 2 (EP)”
65. Ronnie Milsap – “Country Again”
66. The May Bees – “Saint Denis”

OCTOBER
67. Zucchero – “Chocabeck”
68. The Bandana Splits – “Mr. Sam Presents the Bandana Splits”
69. Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers – “Gift Horse”
70. Jasmina Maschina – “Alphabet Dream Noise”
71. The Darcys – “The Darcys”
72. Sister City – “Carbon Footprint”

NOVEMBER
73. The Perms – “Sofia Nights”
74. Brown Bird – “Salt For Salt”
75. Kasey Chambers – “Little Bird”
76. Matt Lowell – “Drop Your Guns EP”
77. Deer Tick – “Divine Providence”
78. Foster The People – “Torches”
79. Vince Gill – “Guitar Slinger”
80. The Golden Seals – “Increase The Sweetness”
81. Mandolin Orange – “Haste Make / Hard Hearted Stranger”
82. Mac Miller – “Blue Slide Park”
83. Needle – “Saint Timothy’s EP”
84. Coldplay – “Mylo Xyloto”

DECEMBER
85. The Trophy Fire – “Modern Hearts”
86. Grand & Noble – “Grand & Noble”
87/88. Dolly Parton – “Better Day” and Pistol Annies – “Hell On Heels”
89. Will Currie and the Country French – “Awake, You Sleepers!”

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