A Look at the Year in Music

As we prepare for 2012, the editors at NoBo Magazine looked back at the year’s best in music, movie, and television. The ten best songs of the year. The year’s top albums. The finest films that graced the big screen. Television’s greatest series.

Here’s our look at the top albums and singles of the year.

The Top Ten Albums of 2011

10. Lady GaGa – “Born This Way”

The album is extravagant. From dance-pop to piano rock, GaGa broke out of her shell with this album. Literally. While I may be getting a bit tired of her theatrics and “artistry”, one things is certain. She is connected and committed to what she pens in her lyrics.

Favorite Tracks: “You and I”, “The Queen”, “The Edge of Glory”


9. Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

The album is the perfect blend of modern folk-rock, featuring so many instruments its hard to imagine a live performance. If the wonder of the music wasn’t enough, the vocals are tantalizingly beautiful, but depressingly helpless.

Favorite Tracks: “Helplessness Blues”, “Battery Kinzie”, “The Plains/Bitter Dancer”



8. Coldplay – “Mylo Xyloto “

While this isn’t my favorite Coldplay album, it is certainly one of my favorites of their year. I can’t resist a (sometimes) vocally-strained Chris Martin pop-rock track. Many of the choruses have that monumental sound we’ve come to love and expect from the band.

Favorite Tracks – “Princess from China”, “Charlie Brown”, “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart”



7. Bon Iver – “Bon Iver”

We were already familiar Bon Iver, and we couldn’t have been happier with his sophomore, self-title release. Bon Iver has cemeted himself as a major player in the modern folk-rock movement, but also expanded his sound, adding hints of electronic sounds. We can only hope dozens more critically-acclaimed albums will follow for years to come.

Favorite Tracks: “Perth”, “Beth-Rest”, “Towers”



6. Jay-Z and Kanye West – “Watch the Throne”

Without a doubt, this collaborative effort was one of the most talked about albums of the year. Combining the two most-lyrically gifted rappers in music history, the album is nonstop hip-hop gold from beginning to end.

Favorite Tracks: “No Church in the Wild”, “N****** in Paris”, “Who Gon Stop Me”



5. Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger”

The original American Idol reminds us why we voted her to that title with her latest release. If you give Kelly a great song, she’ll put her voice to work. It’s that simple. Somewhere between pop, rock, and country, the fifth studio album has thirteen catchy tracks that demonstrate how exceptional her voice really is.

Favorite Tracks: “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”, “Dark Side”, “You Love Me”



4. Beyonce – “4”

Beyonce is today’s greatest diva, and her star power was further solidified with the release of her fourth album. The album demonstrates that she can sing it no matter what genre. Pop, hip-hop, R&B, gospel, or soul. Whether you’re a hipster, gangster, or twelve-year old girl, you’re sure to love this album. Besides, she is the closest to hip-hop royalty as they come, and its for one simple reason. She owns it.

Favorite Tracks: “Love on Top”, “Countdown”, “1+1”, “Best Thing I Never Had”



3. Drake – “Take Care”

Ushering a new generation of hip-hop, Drake really surprised us with this album that is soulful and shows his maturity as an artist and a man, even if it is him obsessing over booty. His track with Rhianna has been and continues to be in my iPod rotation since its release. “Under Ground Kings” and “Lord Knows” show his development on writing flawless rhymes like many of his own hip-hop heroes. While some of the seventeen tracks show he still has room to grow, the one-time Degrassi actor has stepped up his game.

 Favorite Tracks: Take Care, Underground Kings, Lord Knows, The Real Her



2. Florence + the Machine – “Ceremonials”

Since their debut release, Florence + the Machine have inspired fans with haunting vocals and a sound similar but not quite retro soul. Florence’s grandeur on stage is only upstaged by the grandeur of the music itself.

Favorite Tracks: No Light No Light, Lover to Lover, Only If For a Night, Shake It Out



1. Adele – “21”

With her sophomore album, Adele came roaring back from a painful split with her boyfriend that made the retro-soul sound truly mainstream. Her lyrics truly allow us to peak into her heart. The album is an instant classic, and Adele will forever be remembered for that enormous, flawless voice at a time when it was difficult to find actual vocals in popular music.

Favorite Tracks: Someone Like You, Rumor Has It, Turning Tables, I’ll Be Waiting




The Top Ten Songs of 2011

10. “Not Over You” by Gavin DeGraw

9. “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” by Kelly Clarkson

8. “Til the World Ends (Remix)” by Britney Spears

7. “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People

6. “Perth” by Bon Iver

5. “We Found Love” by Rhianna featuring Calvin Harris

4. “Headlines” by Drake

3. “Countdown” by Beyonce

2. “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj

1. “Rolling in the Deep”/”Someone Like You” by Adele



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