Top 10 albums of 2011 break mainstream mold

2011 was a year of phenomenal music. Different musicians from across genres produced quality work that rose to the top of the charts – even in many cases vying with their pop competitors.
With popularization of a more indie sound on mainstream radio, it proved interesting to attempt to assemble a list of what the top 10 albums could possibly be without catering to a specific genre.
This grew into a lengthy and thorough search, with much second-guessing. It is difficult to speak for a year of music, and much more for the best of a year of music without the restrictions of pop culture.
These choices represent artists who pushed the envelope and created work that, in some respects, completely changed their sound.
These choices represent artists that took chances and ran the risk of losing fans or chart status with daring lyrics. They are artists who deserve recognition for standing out and testing boundaries.
These are my picks for best albums of 2011, in no particular order, and their best tracks.

Kiss Each Other Clean
Iron & Wine
Listen to: “Black Candle”
Relaxed, colorful and full of imagery. It’s no “Boy With a Coin” or “The Sea and the Rhythm,” but definitely a triumph for folk and indie music.

The People’s Key
Bright Eyes
Listen to: “Shell Games”
A light-hearted, more poppy feel for Bright Eyes. Hard hitting lyrics still make you think.

The King of Limbs
Listen to: “Separator”
Pretty bizarre and abstract album, definitely an adventerous step for music veterans like Radiohead.

The Strokes
Listen to:  “Under Cover of Darkness”
An upbeat album from the Strokes, a little reminiscent of Say Anything.

Born This Way
Lady Gaga
Listen to: “Hair”
Another loud, in-your-face album from Lady Gaga. All about self acceptance, all fabulous.

Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Bon Iver
Listen to: “Perth”
Calm, relaxed album in traditional Bon Iver style, but he takes the words and music to a whole new level. This album is a tear-jerker.

Watch The Throne
Jay-Z and Kanye West
Listen to: “No Church in the Wild ft. Frank Ocean”
Jay-Z and Kanye West – need I say more? Probably. Two big names in mainstream rap collaborated to create a truly dynamic and electric album.

Florence + The Machine
Listen to: “Only If For a Night”
Florence’s sophomore album proves to be a little macabre and fantastical. Haunting vocals paired with ethereal sound create an interesting listening experience.

El Camino
The Black Keys
Listen to: “Lonely Boy,”  “Little Black Submarines”
The Black Keys never fail to impress. With strong background vocals in this album, some of the tracks prove to be fantastic anthems for the year.

I’m With You
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Listen to “Look Around”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers new album brings a softer low-fi sound to a normally rambunctious band. A few tracks still capture the old RHCP feel, but this is definitely a pleasant change.


21 –  Adele
The King is Dead
-The Decemberists
Zonoscope – Cut Copy
Who You Are – Jessie

Science and art meet in photo show

Julia McLemore’s work challenges the viewer to appreciate the finer details in nature.
Her exhibit, “Beauty’s Back,” exhibited in Beeghly Library, consists of light jet prints made by shining light through flowers onto photographic paper. Her process involves no form of camera, and is made solely with light.
Though she uses traditional darkroom techniques, McLemore remarks in her artist’s stateme

nt that the images are similar to those seen in digital work.
The clarity and sharpness of the cross sections of the flowers reminds the viewer of the capabilities of traditional processes.

McLemore’s exhibit, ‘Nature’s Back,’ will be displayed at Beeghly Library until Feb 10.

“When I first studied photography, I learned to make photograms,” McLemore said. “Created in a traditional darkroom, photograms make ethereal, sometimes ghostly prints. They’re created by shining light through translucent objects onto photographic paper, without a camera or negative. They were, for me, a new way of seeing that helped me capture objects of my fascination.”
Because of McLemore’s methods, the stems, veins and fibers in the flower petals and stems are clear, showing how the flowers are built on a microscopic level. They are magnified several times in order to portray this effectively.
Her techniques are akin to the way famous photographers like Man Ray distorted the original traditional processes to achieve surreal effects.
Senior Annie Memmot said, “I think it’s interesting how the work shows how light reflects off of the petals. It’s like looking into the body of the flower because you can see the veins and inner workings – which isn’t something you usually get to see. It was a different expression of what plants are.”
On a broader scale, the images are striking and colorful on stark white backgrounds. Junior Christopher Marshall said, “The first thing I noticed was how white the backgrounds were. The images really jumped out at me when I was walking into the library. I felt they were strangely minimalist and somewhat forced because they are completely stripped of their natural context.”

McLemore wrote in her statement, “The prints are contemporary and colorful. Some are minimal against plain white backgrounds. There is almost a specimen feel to some of them, but, at the same time, the flowers remain spiritual and sensual.”
She makes it clear that though the images appear to be an almost scientific look at flower

s, she also sought to open the viewer’s eyes to the ethereal and romantic aspects of flowers, which many people recognize in their external nature but not necessarily in their biological makeup.
An Ohio native and graduate of Miami University, McLemore has showcased her work in various venues in the Columbus and central Ohio area. She is currently living and working in Charlevoix, Mich., and Columbus.