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December 23, 2011 / jhsaeger

Top Ten Countdown Continues

   Long After Dark continues to wrap up the year with its top ten countdown.  Check back next Friday to see who made album of the year!

4) 21,Adele – To put Adele’s astounding year in perspective, Long After Dark turns tothe Official Charts Company, which monitors record sales in the U.K.  Withina month of 21’s debuton January 24, the songstress had held a firm grip on the #1 album spot forfour weeks.  Her debut album, 19, benefited from its successor by crawling into thetop five of the U.K. charts in February.  Adele also saw the singles”Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You” place withinthe top five just one month after the album’s release.  The last time anyliving artist had two releases in the top five of both the albums and singlescharts were The Beatles, who achieved the feat in 1964.  

    21 wasa life-changing record for Adele Adkins, who cut the timeless song”Rolling in the Deep” on the first take.  Other songs on therecord, like “Rumor Has It,” “Set Fire to the Rain,” and”Someone Like You” bolstered 21 and helped complete one of the mostuniversally-praised records in quite some time.  By selling ten millioncopies of 21 injust one year, Adele has managed to cross generations and genres as a throwbackto times when Aretha Franklin and other divas traipsed the popular musicallandscape.  
3) El Camino, TheBlack Keys – After a long, arduous journey to the top was realized in 2010 withtheir breakthrough album Brothers, The Black Keys shunned the opportunity to rest on theirlaurels.  Instead, the duo of Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach quicklyrecorded the heavily-anticipated El Camino in just 41 days and producedtheir most pop-savvy record.  
   While traditionally rooted in garage rock with bluesy overtones, TheBlack Keys strayed a bit from that format on a handful of tracks in ElCamino.  ElCamino beginswith “Lonely Boy,” a lively tune which inspires dance and serioussteering wheel-tapping.   “Gold on the Ceiling” best exemplifies theinfluence of producer James Burton, who lent fuzzy keyboards to the backdrop ofAuerbach’s addictive chorus.  The biggest rocker on El Camino is “Little BlackSubmarines,” which begins with Auerbach softly singing against an acousticguitar before launching into an epic jam to close out the track.  
  The seventh studio LP from The Black Keys, El Camino cements the band’s place in thepantheon of contemporary rock.  After years of touring in theunspectacular van which decorates El Camino’s cover, The Black Keys will likelybe traveling in style next year, when they begin their first arena tour as theheadlining act.  

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