Exclaim! Looks Back with 2011's Best Albums in Our New Winter Issue

Exclaim! Looks Back with 2011's Best Albums in Our New Winter Issue
With our hot-off-the-presses December/January issue now making its way across Canada, Exclaim! is again looking back at the year in music with the launch of our extensive 2011 coverage featuring over 100 of the best albums of the year across the sonic landscape, as well as in-depth features on the year's trends and issues.

On the cover is our examination of how Toronto R&B innovator the Weeknd helped transformed the music world this year. His free mixtape House of Balloons tops our list of the best soul and global groove records of this year. And diversity and unity both marked many scenes and sounds around the world this year too, something we explore in our year-end soul and world feature featuring tUnE-yArDs.

Former cover subject Bon Iver takes the No. 1 position in the pop & rock category, and find out who else achieved greatness on our Top 30 list. We also take a closer look at five up-and-comers on the Canadian landscape and declare the saxophone as this year's greatest comeback.

In the world of electronic music, a ton of Canadian producers made a significant contribution, which we examine in our dance & electronic year-end feature, and that's reflected in our selections for the 20 best electronic albums of 2011.

Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a year old this month; it missed the cut-off for last year's Best of 2010 edition. We didn't forget it this year -- it tops our 16 best hip-hop albums list. But many Canadian beatmakers were heard but not seen in 2011 -- we reveal some of the names behind the even bigger names in our year-end hip-hop feature. We also try to inspire the next hip-hop generation with some rules on how to succeed in the internet age.

This year in metal reinforced the importance of the scene's traditional legacy, a topic we delve into in one of our year-end metal features. No wait, it was all about evolution and innovation. Actually, our assessment of the 18 best metal records of the year reveals it's both. Oh yeah, and you should totally check out our wicked interview with Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine.

While we're on the subject of tradition, many of this year's best country and folk records shared a significant conservative streak. It prompted us to ask: Where are the protest singers?

It's become a bit of a tradition -- predictable even -- that Fucked Up land at the top of our punk list every time they put out an album. What can we say? It was a Fucked Up year.

We take a peak into our crystal ball and are excited by the genre cross-pollination represented by young jazz upstarts Badbadnotgood, who we discuss in our improv & avant-garde year-end feature. They could make a difference in the challenging world of avant-garde music, a genre that we've also highlighted with some of our favourites experimental albums from the last 12 months.

But wait, there's more! Ex-Constantine Bry Webb goes solo and Coeur de Pirate has her heart broken. Speaking of broken, we look back at one of the most fractured -- and brilliant -- bands ever to come out of England in our career retrospective of the Stone Roses.

Exclaim!'s next print edition arrives in late January 2012, but Exclaim.ca never sleeps. You might not either if you get Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for Christmas.

Check out all Exclaim!'s Year in Review coverage here and stay tuned for many more year-end lists in our sure-to-be-busy News section.