JFM's Top 10 Albums of 2011

1. Matt Nathanson, Modern Love. Summary: Nathanson's best album to date mixes love and hate and some of the best songwriting I've ever heard. Best song: Nearly every song is perfect. Most relatable lyrics: "I won’t be there when the luck runs out ... cause you’re someone else’s baby / you’re someone else’s crazy, now.” Listen: http://bit.ly/j4X5Lp

2. Mat Kearney, Young Love. Summary: Kearney's upbeat third album saw him return to spoken word on some tracks, while retaining his signature style that makes you want to dance, cry, and hug someone. Best song: “Ships in the Night.” Most relatable lyrics: “Says she likes me to all of her friends / cold shoulder is what she pretends.” Listen: http://bit.ly/rqTDBr

3. Jeffrey Foucault, Horse Latitudes. Summary: Foucault is the best songwriter of my generation, and he proves it once again with “Horse Latitudes.” Best song: “Starlight and Static.” Most relatable lyrics: “I burned your letters, cold or kind / by the river at dusk / from the heart to the husk / every word became fire.” Listen: http://bit.ly/s7u3qx

4. Jay-Z & Kanye West, Watch the Throne. Summary: Luxury hip-hop for the 99%. Best song: “Otis.” Most relatable lyrics: “I look in the mirror / my only opponent.” Listen: http://bit.ly/vslOdM

5. Blind Pilot, We Are The Tide. Summary: Heavy-mellow music with flawless instrumentation. Best song: “Half Moon.” Most relatable lyrics: “I hear the train all night / sound of its wind blowing through our subtle lives / But I don’t feel you stir beside me / and you’re not in my morning hours.” Listen: http://bit.ly/v3Dyit

6. Rosi Golan, Lead Balloon. Summary: Redemptive yet heartbreaking, a beautiful album. Best song: “Flicker.” Most relatable lyrics: “How will I know if I could get through this / without a sign pointing me somewhere? / But if I believe that I could get through this / maybe I’ll find that I could get somewhere / ‘Cause my hearts in two places and I’m feeling like a candle / burning at both ends ‘til it flickers.” Listen: http://bit.ly/v40aV5

7. Jason Reeves, The Lovesick. Summary: No one writes better love songs than Jason Reeves. Best song: “Save My Heart.” Most relatable lyrics: “I could never fit your beauty in a verse or two.” Listen: http://bit.ly/s4aVpf

8. Drake, Take Care. Summary: Tales of dealing with fame, major life changes, and confident confessions of imperfection. Best song: “Over My Dead Body.” Most relatable lyrics: “Girl I can’t lie, I miss you / you and the music were the only things that I commit to.” Listen: http://bit.ly/vQtqHW

9. City and Colour, Little Hell. Summary: Misery loves great music. Best song: “We Found Each Other in the Dark.” Most relatable lyrics: “There’s a degree of difficulty in dealing with me / From my haunted past, comes a daunting task, of living through memories / If we could just hang a mirror on the bedroom wall / stare into the past, and forget it all.” Listen: http://bit.ly/tSjEhL

10. Brett Dennen, Loverboy. Summary: An album that makes the tone-def want the sing, the uncoordinated want to dance. Best song: “Comeback Kid.” Most relatable lyrics: “Whenever you feel unhappy / all you have to do is call me / I can make you laugh.” Listen: http://bit.ly/sPTKUw

Other notable albums of 2011
Desert Noises, Mountain Sea http://bit.ly/tV7as6
Peter Bradley Adams, Between Us http://bit.ly/szuri1
The Script, Science & Faith http://bit.ly/sR6knO
Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto http://bit.ly/s8GZJe
The Roots, Undun http://bit.ly/uASa2h
Slow Runner, Damage Points http://bit.ly/vv1qeW
Vanessa Carlton, Rabbits on the Run http://bit.ly/uEoBAy
William Fitzsimmons, Gold in the Shadow http://bit.ly/sTfjKB

Feel free to comment or recommend anything I didn’t hear...
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