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All of Our Favorite Music of 2011

Juan Pablo Colasso
Flickr - Creative Commons

How many of these artists do you know? Yes, Adele -- but how about SHEL? Or Eleanor Dubinsky? We hope you discover new music on KUNC.... What music "speaks" to you, and how do you "judge" it?

So isn't music mostly emotional? In thinking about it more, my basis for judging an album leans heavily on satisfying melodies, plus invention in rhythm and instrumental textures; if good lyrics, all the better. Guess that's pretty basic; music hits each of us in a different, personal way, like food. And music is hard to "rank." (I agree with Wendy that Chuck Pyle and Kathryn Mostow are very enjoyable talented artists but tried to avoid duplication in my list.) In fact, I might greatly admire an artist (DeVotchka or Clegg here) though gravitate to hearing others more often at home (like Mahlasela and Wakefield). Your choice depends on your mood and the setting, right? Before you consider investing in this music, ask yourself in your evaluation if you'd repeatedly come back to enjoying the songs, so you get a good value.

My New Year's Musical Wish is for my favorite artists to continue in their extraordinary, creative ways -- but also mix-in a few unique takes on classic songs. Just a personal hope, and it might widen their fanship.  

My List:

  1. Adele - 21
  2. DeVotchka -  100 Lovers
  3. SHEL - When The Dragon Came Down
    Lake Street Dive - Lake Street Dive  (tie)
  4. Johnny Clegg - Human
  5. The Rifters - The Great River
  6. Vusi Mahlasela - Say Africa
  7. Eleanor Dubinsky - Touch The Sky
    Brett Dennen - Lover Boy  (tie)
  8. Keren Ann - 101
  9. Mare Wakefield - Meant To Be
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - It's A Corporate World

Wendy's List (for recap & comparison):
Editor's Note: 01.02.2012 - this list was published in the reverse order of what was intended and has been corrected. We regret the error.

  1. The Civil Wars - Barton Hallow
  2. Red Molly - Light In The Sky
  3. Chuck Pyle - The Spaces In Between
  4. Driftwood Fire - How to Untangle A Heartache
  5. Vanessa Lively - Uncovering Stones
  6. Jonathan Edwards - My Love Will Keep
  7. Kathryn Mostow - Rich Girl
  8. Blame Sally - Speeding Ticket and a Valentine
  9. SHEL - When The Dragon Came Down
  10. Annie Wenz - Ride The Sky

Happy New Year! What musical gems will we discover together in 2012? It's an exciting prospect!

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