2011 - A year in review.

# 1. The Decemberists - The King is Dead
(Capitol, January 14th 2011)

The King is Dead was probably the first album of new music that I bought in 2011, since it was released in January. Quite a feat then, that it remained my favourite the whole year through. Listening to it again now, it probably is one of my favourite albums ever recorded. With this album The Decemberists finally made the album I really always have hoped that they would make. The songs on The King is Dead sums up all my musical favourites in one album. You got the indie-pop songs, folk songs and the country/americana songs. To me, this is almost as good as it gets. It's up there with Grateful Dead's American Beauty, Neil Young's After the Goldrush, Fairport Convention's Unhalfbricking and R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant for me.

The album is in some ways the best R.E.M. album since the eighties, but that would be a bit harsh to say - even though Colin Meloy has been quite open about the influnce of the band on these songs. Heck, Peter Buck even plays his signature 12-string guitar licks on the album - especially on "Calamity Song". Other prominent guests on the album is Gillian Welch and her beau David Rawlings who both lend their beautiful harmonies on multiple songs.

I could go on and on about this album. It's one of those albums that make me smile, it makes me cry, it soothes me like an old friend and most importantly I can listen to it again and again and again and it only gets better with each listen. It still does, and I have probably listened to it more than any other album the last ten years already.

Still in doubt about this album? Listen to "Rise to Me" and tell me that it doesn't break your heart just a little.