Chris Schulz 's Opinion

Chris Schulz is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Best and worst albums get named, shamed

Have these tattooed rockers made the album of the year? Photo / Supplied
Have these tattooed rockers made the album of the year? Photo / Supplied

It's about this time of year that the world's biggest music blogs and mags start huffing and puffing about their favourite albums of the year.

There's no debate about the worst album of the year. It's Lulu, no question. Who would have thought a collaboration between Grampa Simpson and Metallica could turn out so bad?

There have already been plenty of cat fights over exactly what 2011's best album has been - and never mind the fact that it's only December 7.

Two serious contenders were only just released this week: The Black Keys' El Camino (85 percent on Metacritic) and The Roots Undun (86 percent).

Both deserve top 10 spots.

But this year's lists seem to be a little conflicted.

What usually happens is there are a couple of obvious albums that will take out No. 1. Last year there was Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. In 2009, we had The xx and Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion.

And in 2008 there was Fleet Foxes' debut and MGMT's Oracular Spectacular.

But a quick glance at the latest best-of lists coming out overseas shows a serious divide.

Everyone's naming something different - just check out some of the albums that have topped various lists already:

Q magazine: Ceremonials - Florence and the Machine

Stereogum: Father, Son, Holy Ghost - Girls

Uncut: Let England Shake - PJ Harvey

Paste: Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Yes, I've got some pretty broad and weird music tastes but I didn't really rate any of those albums. Florence and Harvey were a little boring, Bon Iver too quiet and Girls, well, I'll make my mind up after next year's Laneway fest.

We're still waiting for big guns like NME and Rolling Stone to get their lists out, and obviously the Herald's TimeOut will be naming their favs soon - no doubt with plenty of local goodies on there.

But seeing as we're here already, I might as well put my two cents in, so here are my nominations (in no particular order):

Mastodon's The Hunter: Their most accessible dose of scuzz-metal yet.

Foo Fighters' Wasting Light: Six months on and I'm still loving it.

Jamie xx's We're New Here: Wonderfully textualised dubsteppy goodness.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's debut: The closest we'll get to another Mint Chicks album.

David Dallas' The Rose Tint: He was robbed at the music awards.

RES - Absolute Epoch: The most brutal hip-hop album ever made by Kiwi rappers- so dark they broke up after making it and refuse to peform it live.

Burst Apart - The Antlers: Imagine if Coldplay were super indie and cool, and no one on the planet knew about them.

The Black Keys' El Camino: Addictive synth-rock that hits your brain like a sugar rush.

The Roots' Undun: Another dose of thought-provoking, story-telling cinematic hip-hop.

Limp Bizkit's Gold Cobra: Umm, just kidding.

That'll do us. So what are your contenders for album of the year?

- Herald online

Chris Schulz

Chris Schulz is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

A subscription to RTR Countdown magazine as a teenager kick started Chris’ inspiration to become an entertainment reporter. After finishing a grad-dip at journalism school, he discovered the magazine no longer existed. So he instead begged for a reviewing job at Rip It Up, then took over a local news website’s entertainment section in 2004 when no one else wanted to do it. It’s as much a surprise to him as it is to those around him that he’s been doing entertainment reporting ever since, utilising his diehard love of popular culture (specifically music, TV, movies and games). His career highlights including interviewing heroes like Billy Corgan and Trent Reznor, discussing the best sheep-docking techniques with Courtney Love, and breaking his nose during a Shihad concert. The last thing left on his entertainment reporting bucket list is to ride a rollercoaster with Dave Grohl, something he’s hoping to achieve in the next 12 months.

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