2011 was a good year for music, for me. I posted a playlist of 20 tracks that packed my stream last year and will into this one, and narrowed down a list of the top five albums that carried me through by the ears:
1. Typhoon, A New Kind of House (blogged here). Big, gorgeous, communitarian orchestral rock that holds out a hand to take you with it.
2. Sara Groves, Invisible Empires (mentioned here, and below)
3. Dawes, Nothing Is Wrong, who, along with #4, grew LA’s heart three sizes this year.
4. The Belle Brigade, who’s “Belt of Orion” and it’s reminder of the stars that shine beyond the glitz & glow of the city snuck into this year’s NSO opening prayer
5. AgesAndAges, Alright You Restless, which is just get up and clap your hands goodness.
Groves’ Invisible Empires did some life-saving work with me this year. Several of these tracks deal very honestly with a personal determination to hope, and the challenges of reorienting to that when the world – inside, even more than outside – stands in the way of that hope. “Mystery” is pretty much the most important song I’ve sung in a long time, and I’ll sing again today. I’m grateful for all of these, but this one especially:
(Press play to hear this at Myspace)
My body’s tired from trying to bring you here
My brow is furrowed trying to see things clear
So I’ll turn my back to the black
And pray for the mystery
To rise up and meet me
I’ll wait for your mystery
To rise up and lead me home
By the way, noted alumnus, author, and all-around-swell-guy John Alan Turner has a pretty sweet post today about how this stuff can be important. I’m into that.