Here at Hidden Track, compiling our end of the year list of the 25 best albums has been eerily similar to the process of devising another top 25 list – the college football top 25. When we started four years ago, we attempted to devise a quantitative methodology that systematized the rankings and took the individual biases out of the equation, while still incorporating the collective views of everyone involved at HT. Well, that was sort of our BCS. This year we’re going back to the old school and running it AP Top 25 style. In other words, every writer on staff submitted their own personal top 25, and then we compiled the final list based on a simple tally of votes.
Who knows, there may still be a few kinks to work through in future editions, but you can rest assured of one thing that will always make our list a cut above the rest: we consider everything. Our submissions include all styles of music from bluegrass to jazz, jam to indie, electronica to rap, as well as everything in between (but sorry Nefertiti’s Fjord it just wasn’t the year for lesbian-Afro-Norwegian-funk music). At the end of the day, we’re a music blog. Everyone is encouraged to write about what they like with no motives, no editorial biases, and no strings attached. We hope that comes across in our picks.
We’ve hit day two of our week-long countdown of the 25 best albums of 2011, let’s check out numbers 20 through 16…
20) Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome
Key Tracks: Black, Two Against One, Season’s Trees
Sounds Like: Soundtrack to a ’60s Spaghetti Western that was never made.
The Skinny: Years in the making, Rome pairs famed Italian composer Daniele Luppi with Grammy-winning producer Danger Mouse as the two pay tribute to the Spaghetti Western soundtracks from the ’60s and ’70s created by Ennio Morricone. Luppi and Danger Mouse brought together a number of the performers Morricone utilized for such legendary soundtracks as A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and paired them with current stars Norah Jones and Jack White, who lend their distinctive vocals to three tracks a piece. Between the gorgeous instrumentals with tinges of psychedelia and the dramatic vocal tracks, Rome is a wonderful album that leaves the visuals up to the listener.
- Scott Bernstein