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December 30, 2011 / jhsaeger

2011 Albums of the Year
   Long After Dark wraps up 2011 with its final two selections in the Album of the Year Countdown.  
2)  Nothing Is Wrong, Dawes – For their sophomore album, Dawes crafted a brilliant album which showcased one of the most adept young songwriters in indie rock, Taylor Goldsmith.  Goldsmith and his talented band are reminiscent of the New Wave/Laurel Cannon sound which once permeated FM radio in the 70’s.  The album’s lead track, “Time Spent In Los Angeles” is the quintessential song from the band’s burgeoning catalog.  To compliment Goldsmith’s provocative set of lyrics, Dawes gave the song perfect background musicianship, particularly the organ and keyboard licks.  
     Like most of the songs on Nothing Is Wrong, “A Little Bit of Everything” stands as a terrific piece of poetry.  Traveling from character to character, Goldsmith contemplates various people who are at important moments in their lives.  Other key tracks on the album, like “My Way Back Home” and “So Well” also highlight Goldsmith’s ability to create intriguing subjects in his songwriting.  
     Dawes also drew support from a few noteworthy sources while recording Nothing Is Wrong.  Cut in Jackson Browne’s home studio, the band also benefited from the veteran songwriter’s presence on “Fire Away.”  Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Benmont Tench played the organ on a handful of songs, adding noticeable depth to Dawes’ already rich sound.  Producer Jonathan Wilson, whose well-received debut Gentle Spirit hit in September, also contributed extra percussion.
1)  Wasting Light, Foo Fighters – I know, I know.  They are a personal favorite and I have written about the Foo Fighters an awful lot over the last two months.  But, I did have my reasons…  
    The Foo Fighters’ seventh album, Wasting Light is the band’s deepest and most aggressive album.  A contrast to the Foo Fighters’ last two records (In Your Honor/Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace), which balanced the band’s hard-hitting rock standards with delicate acoustic tracks, Wasting Light’s sound is akin to a grenade. 
   Cued by the clanging guitar intro of “Bridge Burning,” Wasting Light’s first four songs rely on the layered guitars that defined the Foo Fighter’s earlier records.  Of those songs, “Rope” seems to be the Foo Fighter’s opportunity to flash their musicianship, as guitar bits and a thunderous Taylor Hawkins drum solo line the track.  After the initial run of songs, Wasting Light lets up a bit towards the Foos trademark sound on the tracks tracks “Arlandria” and “These Days,” two heartfelt songs which rank among Dave Grohl’s best.  
   Wasting Light was also a meeting ground for several notable figures in music.  Producer Butch Vig, who produced Nirvana’s crucial Nevermind album, oversaw the production of Wasting Light.  Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic also played on the track “I Should Have Known,” marking the first time Grohl, Vig, and Novoselic had collaborated since the recording of Nirvana’s second album.  Former Husker Du/Sugar frontman Bob Mould also joined the band on the epic song “Dear Rosemary.”

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