Top 10 Albums of 2011 #1

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

The Fleet Foxes album “Helplessness Blues” I pretty much knew would be my favorite album of the year the first time I heard it. The band took what made their first album so great (warm, full harmonies, and catchy folk melodies) and added to it with more intense singing from Robin Pecknold, more complex songs, a greater variety of instruments, and most important, superior, full of heart lyrics and storytelling. I could sit here and tell you how genuine and emotional this album is, but you just have to hear it– and that’s the great thing; You can hear Pecknold’s emotions in both the words he’s written down as well as in his vocals. That’s the biggest difference between the band’s first and second album. It’s like when you listen to recordings of Martin Luther King Jr. giving speeches. I could stand in front of a crowd and read the words that he wrote down, but it would never sound the same. He wrote those words and believed in them with everything in him. These are Pecknold’s words, his experiences, and it’s his voice. The act of experiencing these things and then putting them into words makes singing these songs an emotional, cathartic act for Pecknold. When he sings these songs you’re hearing the passion that can only come with the deep relationships he has formed with each and every song. Needless to say, hearing it is fucking magical.

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