Happy New Year! – Albums I Loved in 2011

Hi, Everyone!  Well, it’s that time of year again!  The time when I get to pontificate about the top releases of the year.  However, as usual, I have a really difficult time ranking things.  This is something that carries over from my work as a professor.  After all, what is the difference between a 93 and a 94?  I know it when I see it, but just how to explain?  So, I’m just going to wimp out present some of the albums I loved in no particular order.  For those of you looking for a more ordered (and possibly comprehensive) list, I would recommend checking in with Pitchfork, Slowcoustic, or NPR Music.  All right, let’s get on with the show!

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First Listen: Eddie Vedder – Ukulele Songs

Eddie Vedder, the Pearl Jam singer, and man-you’d-have-least-expected-to-release-a-ukulele-album-in-1993, has, in fact, released a new album called Ukulele Songs – and now you can hear the whole thing on NPR’s First Listen series. The album marks Vedder’s second solo effort after the exquisite soundtrack to the film Into the Wild, and features guests from Glen Hansard (The Frames, Swell Season) to Chan Marshall (Cat Power), and has a decidedly warm, intimate feel.  Vedder has observed that the ukulele is particularly good at bringing people together, and that its simplicity allowed for a more immediate and personal writing process.  Ukulele Songs is dedicated to Eddie’s wife and children, and is considerably warmer in mood than you’d expect.

So, head on over to NPR to listen to Ukulele Songs, and also consider reading the Rolling Stone interview.  There are videos below… enjoy!

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