It all started on March 29th when Within Temptation released their fifth studio album, The Unforgiving. A lot of speculation seemed to grow around this album from day one due to complaints that Within Temptation changed their sound too much for comfort, but I was not disappointed. Despite the change in sound, I believe that The Unforgiving was a really cool album, although I do hope that in their next release Sharon will sound more operatic again. Also, a series of comics have been released based on this concept album, and rather than just having music videos to follow the singles, Within Temptation has made short films (with actual actors, not band members) to emphasize the plot while being able to use all the violence they want.
A couple of months later, Lady Gaga dripped her highly-anticipated new album, Born This Way. Very rarely do I enjoy pop albums as much as I enjoy Lady Gaga's and Born This Way surpassed all of my expectations as she experimented with different sounds throughout the album and showed a lot of vocal improvement. Then in the summer, Vanessa Carlton returned with a new album called Rabbits on the Run. Like Gaga, Vanessa has also shown vocal improvement over the years. I've been a fan of her relaxing music ever since the beginning in 2002 with her too famous single "A Thousand Miles" (which I'm really sick of). It seems that ever since her debut in 2002 people have forgotten her and I think that's ridiculous since her three albums since then have been much better than the first! However, I have not listened to Rabbits on the Run yet with the exception of a couple great songs and from them, I am looking forward to buying this album (expect a review).
Next, Evanescence's new self-titled album was released on October 11th. Evanescence has been my favorite band for about six years now, so I've been looking forward to this album ever since their second album, The Open Door, was released in 2006. Each of their albums always have a very different feel from the other, as did this one. Amy Lee's voice has not lost any of its power during Evanescence's hiatus and the band sounds the way she described, happier and stronger. This is not to say that the music itself is happy, would it be an Evanescence record if it was? Still, despite what anyone may say about their current approach, I loved this album. It was definitley worth the wait, bringing me new gorgeous Evanescence favorites and something to relate to.
On November 30th, a new Nightwish album called Imaginaerum was released exclusive to a couple countries. Throughout the month of December and into January 16th, this new album will slowly but surely be released in multiple countries, including the USA (released January 10th). A special edition will be available and it will include the album in instrumental format. From what I've heard, even fans of their older, heavier material will have a good chance at enjoying this album. I will purchase it as soon as it is available to me!
But, 2011 didn't just bring awesome music, it also brought news of more cool music set to be released next year! According to their official site, Epica is going to release a new album called Requiem For the Indifferent on March 9th. (Note that it won't be released in the USA until March 12th.) Lacuna Coil will release their new album entitled Dark Adrenaline on January 23rd (January 24th in North America) and have already released their first awesome single from that album, "Trip the Darkness."
What an awesome year! I guess I got lucky this year with all my favorite artists releasing new material and can look forwarad to a few more next year. Did you like the new music of 2011, maybe from others I didn't mention?
Long live music!