Monthly Report: November Albums
1. Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu
I usually try to do these monthly reports in a timely fashion and wanted to do this one back in like early December, but then I got caught up in the year-end stuff and am just kinda doing this now for archival purposes. I already put Lulu in my top 10 for 2011, and that was admittedly kind of a rash decision, since it's such a long album released so late in the year that I'm still kind of digesting it. I stand by that decision, though: I genuinely enjoy this long, strange album and think that most of the people heaping "worst album ever" scorn on it were predisposed to say that before ever hearing it, if they even did hear it. As it happens, Lou Reed and Metallica both have kind of brittle, rigid aesthetics that work better together than they have a right too. "Brandenburg Gate" is such a perfect opener and "Iced Honey" and "Cheat On Me" are also favorites.
2. Javier Colon - Come Through For YOu
"The Voice" was a pretty great singing competition reality show, but the thing about the contestants being pretty uniformly good is that it was hard to muster a strong rooting interest in one singer over another. Javier Colon was always my default favorite, though, and I was happy he won. And I started to feel more and more sorry for him after writing this column about the celeb judges on "The Voice" and "Idol" getting more shine than the contestants, especially after "Moves Like Jagger" became one of the biggest songs of the year and Colon's post-"Voice" coronation album sank like a stone, actually debuting on the Billboard 200 lower than his previous major label album did in 2003. But what started as a sympathy listen ended up pretty rewarding, with the second half of the album picking up big time from the so-so first half. "OK, Here's The Truth" is a knockout song and "How Many People Can Say That" has some gorgeous vocal moments.
3. They Might Be Giants - Album Raises New And Troubling Questions
I already proclaimed Join Us my favorite TMBG album in over a decade, so it seemed like a good idea to check out the odds and ends digital album they released a few months later (especially since I preferred 2007's leftovers collection Cast Your Pod To The Wind to its parent album, The Else). This is definitely kind of silly and minor even by They Might Be Giants terms, but it's enjoyable more often than not, at least with quality originals like "Authenticity Trip" and great horn section live versions of early songs like "Boat of Car and "Mr. Me," not so much the webnerd in-joke tracks recorded for Homestar Runner and the Onion AV Club.
4. Yelawolf - Radioactive
Already talked about this a bit in the year-end list, it's by no means band but definitely frontloaded and kind of gently lets the air out of a lot of the things that made Trunk Muzik exciting. The fact that this album has a song that sounds exactly like "Aston Martin Music" is beyond depressing to me.
5. 2 Chainz - T.R.U. REALigion
This tape isn't as good as Codeine Cowboy but it's still pretty good, does a decent job of cementing 2 Chainz's basic goofball appeal and put him in the company of some bigger names but doesn't really feel like the leap forward career move that someone's first Gangsta Grillz tape is usually supposed to be.