Friday, December 30, 2011

Rewind (music in 2011)


A look back at music in 2011
  • R.E.M. released their fifteenth album, Collapse into Now, then disbanded and left us wondering if life was worth living anymore.
  • Adele kept us from giving up on the music-making segment of humanity by serenading us with her sophomore record 21, which yielded hits like Rolling in the Deep and Someone Like You.
  • Blink-182 released Neighborhoods, their first new album since 2003. It was supposedly “ambitious” and “deep” and “dark”, and actually quite boring.
  • In news that we wish was made up, Katy Perry became the first female artist in history to achieve five number one singles – California Gurls, Teenage Dream, Firework, E.T., and Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) – on the US charts from one album for the very atrocious Teenage Dream.
  • Global marketing construct and queen of shock tactics Lady Gaga unveiled her new album Born This Way, which became an instant contender for worst album cover of the year.
  • The White Stripes officially disbanded nearly four years after releasing their sixth and final album, Icky Thump (2007).
  • The music world saw a heartbreaking loss of talent as singer Amy Winehouse passed away at the age of 27 from alcohol poisoning. A posthumous compilation featuring some of her unreleased songs and demos was issued later in the year.
  • American Idol returned for a tenth season with Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez joining Randy Jackson on the judging panel. Scotty McCreery became the youngest male winner of the show, while Lauren Alaina finished as the runners up. Meanwhile, J.Lo tried to revive her music career with the predictably awful Love?, and separated from Marc Anthony (which would explain the ? after Love).
  • The X-Factor made its way to America, bringing Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul together again in a bid to find yet another mediocre pop singer. The season was won by Melanie Amaro (while pop group Little Mix won the UK version of the program). Cheryl Cole was first hired as a mentor for the US show, but then eventually replaced by Nicole Scherzinger.
  • Another reality show The Voice also set out to find singing talent. The winner? Some guy contestant. The real winners? Judges Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera, who were propelled to the top of global charts with one of the biggest hits of their careers in the form of the Maroon 5 and Xtina song Moves Like Jagger. The Maroon 5 singer also scored a hit with Stereo Hearts, his collaboration with Gym Class Heroes.
  • World’s most well-known cover band Westlife decided to part ways after drowning their listeners in a sea of saccharine ballads for 14 years. They will never be forgotten forgiven.
  • Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts released her well-received debut solo album, Cinderella’s Eyes.
  • Musicians (including BeyoncĂ©, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxx, and Smokey Robinson) gathered to pay tribute to the late King of Pop at Michael Forever – The Tribute Concert in October, the same month in which Cirque du Soleil’s show Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour also debuted. The following month, MJ’s personal physician Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced to four years in prison.
  • Kim Kardashian got married. 72 days later, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce. If that wasn’t bad enough, the reality TV “star” made an ill-advised foray into music with her single Jam (Turn It Up); the results were just about as bad as you’d expect. The world went from not knowing whether she can sing, to knowing that she definitely can not. The saving grace: a portion of the proceeds went to charity.
  • Speaking of talent-challenged famous-for-being-famous celebrities, Paris Hilton’s second album failed to surface, although the prospect of it loomed eerily over the music-listening world like an impending catastrophe. She did, however, decide to torment us with yet another reality series, titled The World According to Paris, which was thankfully cancelled after one season.
  • Britney Spears churned out more auto-tuned dance-pop in Femme Fatale, which inevitably landed at the top of the charts.
  • BeyoncĂ© told us who run the world (girls!), and released her fourth album, the very creatively titled 4.
  • Take That “progressed” as a five-piece, and recorded the theme songs for the movies X-Men: First Class (Love Love) and The Three Musketeers (When We Were Young).
  • Glee returned for a third season as The Glee Project winners made their way onto the show. The series continued to butcher pop songs and also continued to sell a boatload of records.
  • Death Cab for Cutie’s seventh album, Codes and Keys, hit the shelves, while the band’s front-man Ben Gibbard and his wife actress/singer Zooey Deschanel decided to part ways after two years of marriage, only days after the release of She & Him’s Christmas album.
  • The Grammy Awards went all cool on us, giving Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs the ‘Album of the Year’ award, making them the first indie act to win the accolade. The big winners of the ceremony, however, were country pop trio Lady Antebellum, who took home five honours including ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Song of the Year’ for their single Need You Now.
  • Justin Bieber made millions with his documentary/concert film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and then decided to ruin Christmas by releasing a Xmas album, titled Under the Mistletoe. The set included a cover/duet of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You which basically sounded like Bieber wailing over the original recording of the song.
  • Rebecca Black came under the spotlight when her vanity single Friday went viral on YouTube and became the most disliked video on the website. Suddenly Justin Bieber didn’t seem all that bad after all. Although it kinda was worth it just for the parodies!
  • But Friday’s status as the “worst song ever” was challenged when Design the Skyline’s Surrounded by Silence made its way to unsuspecting ears and then subsequently made them bleed.
  • Pop group Steps got back together, nearly ten years after breaking up, upon realizing that all their attempts at having solo careers had pretty much tanked. Other groups that reunited include The Darkness, Bloc Party, and Black Sabbath.
  • Nicki Minaj tried to tell us what the super bass sounds like (“boom-badoom boom, boom badoom-boom” apparently), and also saw success with her single Fly which featured Rihanna.
  • Rihanna released a new album, Talk That Talk, and about 348162 singles, and was all over the charts.
  • Swedish House Mafia tried to save the world.
  • Jessie J released her debut album. People liked it, for some strange reason.
  • The Stone Roses reunited 15 years after disbanding, proving that if you wish for something long enough, it happens!
  • Coldplay released their fifth studio record, Mylo Xyloto, which fell significantly short of being life-altering.
  • Roxette made their first new album in nearly a decade; after listening to it, we’re not quite sure why they bothered.
  • Panic! at the Disco came out with their first new album as a two piece, and also worked with fun. for the split single, C’mon.
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West joined forces to record the highly praised Watch the Throne.
  • Bruno Mars continued to exist.
  • The Streets gave us their final set of songs in Computers and Blues before ending the group.
  • Elbow, The Decemberists, Kasabian, Bon Iver, Arctic Monkeys, Fleet Foxes, and Radiohead wowed with fantastic new albums.
  • Lou Reed and Metallica collaborated to record Lulu, a project that was deemed as a “catastrophic failure on almost every level”.
  • James Blake conquered the post-dubstep arena with his self-titled debut.
  • Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi unveiled their five-years-in-the-making album, Rome, which featured vocal contributions from Jack White and Norah Jones.
  • Following the destruction of Oasis, Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye made their debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding, while Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds produced their self-titled debut set, with both receiving generally positive reviews.
  • And artists including Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, Evanescence, Beastie Boys, Daughtry, Nickelback, Eddie Vedder, Limp Bizkit, Incubus, Florence and the Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown, Aqua, Selena Gomez & the Scene, Demi Lovato, and Lady Antebellum were among the many singers and musicians who returned to the charts with new albums.
- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 30th December, 2011 

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