In some categories, the results were varied, illustrating the diverse taste of the UG community. Other categorieswell, let's say some results weren't particularly surprising.
Undoubtedly, 2011 has been an interesting year in rock and metal music; some bands seemed to do no wrong, while others should maybe take a mulligan for the year. And just like any other collection of 365 days, there was good music, bad music, and some downright horrendous tunes.
I'm Zach Pino from It's the End of the Week as We Know It, and I'll be your host for this classy, formal award ceremony/article. And believe it or not, I happen to have the winners sitting next to me in my apartment.
Surprisingly, the winners were all in Los Angeles, available, and willing to dress up in tuxedos and contribute to this feature. So as I announce the winners, I'll pass my laptop to them and they'll type a few words. Now, please adjust your bowties, take your seats, and get ready to find out the results of the 2011 UG Users Survey.
01. Foo Fighters
It's hard to not love, or at least respect the Foo Fighters, and 2011 has definitely been one of the most successful years for the band - Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear. With a long list of output and achievements an internationally successful record, Grammy nominations, retrospective documentary, intimate garage tour, successful arena tours, seismic charting, religious protesting, and strangely hilarious homoerotic parody video it's almost as if the Foo Fighters couldn't mess up in 2011 if they tried.
So why are the Foo Fighters kicking so much ass these days? In addition to their unobjectionable sound and often goofy aesthetic, the band as a whole seems to promote the rock and roll purity that we crave; the Foo Fighters find no reason to "stay current" and appeal to contemporary-yet-fleeting rock trends simple, energetic, catchy, straightforward rock and roll is enough for them, and apparently, it's what the fans want too. Looking at the music video for "Walk" off their new record, "Wasting Light," you see a frustrated Dave Grohl reacting against the bullsh-t of modern society. He'd rather not deal with cell phones, Justin Beiber, and time-sucking traffic; all he wants to do is get to his band rehearsal and rock out, a sentiment many of us share.
Anyway, kudos to the Foo Fighters for winning the Best Band Category. I just waved Dave over here to type out a few words, but he's respectfully bowing out. What a humble guy! Moving on to Best Album
01. Foo Fighters "Wasting Light"
No way! Best Artist and Best Album? What a feat.
"Wasting Light," the Foo's seventh studio album, sold 235,000 copies during its first week of sales and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, as well as #1 in many other countries. That, my friends, is not bad for a record that proudly boasted an all-analog recording approach amongst the majority of digitally recorded albums.
If the analog approach wasn't enough to satisfy the eardrums of longtime rock fans, "Wasting Light" featured acclaimed producer, Butch Vig, and even an appearance from Grohl's old bandmate, Krist Novoselic, which honored Grohl's early days in Nirvana and celebrated the spirit of real, organic-sounding rock music. On why Dave and Co. decided to go an analog route for the new record, in a recent interview, Grohl praised the honesty of analog recording versus the calculated and (arguably) overly-manipulated effect of digital recording processes: "We're not the greatest band in the world, but when we get together and we play, it sounds like us." What you hear on record, is exactly what they sound like live; and what that says to fans is that if they are going to pay to see the band live, they are going to get the real deal.
You want to hear what Mr. Grohl has to say, right? Of course, you do. I really had to coax Dave to sit at the keyboard and start typing. Here's Dave:
"Wow, UG community, thank you so much for the love this year. It's been an amazing ride and we're all so grateful for the fans that have bought the record and come to see us live. I'd also like to acknowledge the other bands that were up for best album; Mastodon, you guys wrote one hell of a record. Megadeth? Simply rules! Machine Head - still as heavy as ever, and Dream Theater, come on, those guys are some of the finest metal musicians we have the pleasure listening to. Maybe I can audition if Mike Mangini doesn't work out. Alright, later guys!"
Wow, such a nice dude; Dave just got up to grab some Kleenex for the guys who didn't win the past two categories. I didn't think the news would make some of them cry! Aw. Well, I guess they really value the input of the UG communityI didn't know our opinions held that much weight. Okay, well now that everyone except Dave is either crying or pouting, why not continue with the coveted category: Worst Album of 2011.
01. Lou Reed and Metallica "Lulu"
Surprise, surprise! Well, is it really? Earning a whopping 80% of your votes, the meandering, questionably legitimate earsore of a record, "Lulu," is now officially the Worst Album of 2011.
Much like other national tragedies, we remember exactly where we were when the first single, "The View," rang into our ear canals. We rolled our eyes and thought for a second that Metallica and Lou Reed were just playing a huge joke, thus becoming the Trolls of 2011. But no, "Lulu" is very real, an experiment that most likely began with good intentions, but horrifically derailed along the way. Bizarre press quotes from Lou Reed and Metallica, who basically hailed the album as an artistic work of sheer brilliance, did little to sway us from aversely reacting to this confusing record. Songs like "Pumping Blood" and "Iced Honey" became chores to listen to, and Lou Reed's rambling, often incoherent lyrics made us cringe with disbelief.
It really comes to no surprise that this particular album would be the most unpopular on UG. The reception was overwhelmingly negative, the only real arguments against it were, "if you don't like it, don't listen to it," or, "it's not a Metallica record, don't compare it as such" (we get that).
But we move on and look forward to the more promising Metallica EP, knowing that at least nothing this bad will come out in 2012but then again, you never know.
I'd now like to invite Lou Reed to the keyboard to address you guys; however, I'm not sure if this is exactly a good idea. Well, here's Lou
[Stares at his hands hovering above the keyboard for an uncomfortable 30 seconds]
"You don't understand the tortured genius of the record because you lack basic literacy skills. These young whippersnappers in Metallica are the best hefty metal band I've ever heard. You punks wouldn't know good music if it hit you on the head, dragged you into the forest and left you for dead, your body eventually becoming stiff and petrified, later to be fashioned into a sturdy table. I am Lou Reed, and I was in the Velvet Underground."
Thanks? Okay, we need to get back on track. Onto a more positive category: the UG Idol of 2011!
01. Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl again?! Damn, either every man in here has a dude crush on Dave Grohl, or this poll was seriously rigged. Naw, it's well deserved. Dave Grohl is the guy you want to be your best friend. He rocks out, he's amiable, he's funny, and he doesn't take himself too seriously. What's not to like?
The Top 5 are also true idols Slash always proves to be one of the most recognizable icons for guitar playing; John Petrucci embodies the pinnacle of progressive metal and possibilities of precise, developed technique; Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders is a young, incredible innovator of the guitar, pushing the boundaries of the instrument and sure to have a bright career ahead of him; and Dave Mustaine, well, he's Dave! We like him. And you gotta give it up for Megadeth, still riding on the momentum they picked up since "Endgame."
Once again, here's Dave Grohl to thank you guys for the honor:
"Wow, I don't even know where to beginyour kindness has reallywhat the?...HEY!"
[Lou Reed shoves Dave and grabs laptop]
"Pumping BLOOD!!!! Pumping BLOOD!!! I actively DESPISE you!!!"
That's enough! This laptop is uninsured and I can't allow any physical altercations in my apartment. One more outburst, Lou Reed, and you're gone. Sit down!
Sorry about that. Rockstars
Okay, only two more categories remainlet's get this over with.
01. Lou Reed
Ouch! Most Hated Artists and Worst Album? Not Lou Reed's finest year to say the least. And what a shockingly polar nature of this year's best and worst; on one end of the spectrum, you have the Foo Fighters honest, pure, likeable, fun rock music that doesn't take itself seriously and is respectful toward the fans. On the other end, you have the Metallica and Lou Reed "project" mostly pretentious, a little snobbish and too "experimental" to be enjoyed. And yes, I'm overtly dissing the record. Maybe this hosting gig is just wearing me down.
Okay, now Lou Reed just flipped off everyone in the room, said something about the ghost of a magnet (?) and stormed off. What a grouchy fellow.
Phew, just one more category. Then I can finally take off my damn tux, which is too tight in the crotch. What do you guys think will be the Most Eagerly Anticipated Event of 2012?
01. Black Sabbath Reunion Album and Tour
Finally! Something that doesn't have to do with Lou Reed, Metallica or the Foo Fighters! It looks like there is going to be some fine music released in 2012. Personally, I'm already doing preemptive neck stretches so I can emphatically headbang to the new Lamb of God record in January. New Slash, new Tool, and most importantly, new SABBATH!!
After several months of will they/won't they surrounding the rumored reunion, Black Sabbath announced that they are set to record a new studio album, followed by a string of shows in Europe, including the 2012 Download Festival. To quote the wise Wayne Campbell, "excellent!"
And now, accepting the award for Most Eagerly Anticipated Event of 2012 is the Prince of Darkness, Mr. Ozzy Osbourne!
"uh right, I said we're all excited for Sabbath bloody Sabbath, I mean who wouldn't want to watch me, Ozzy Osbourne it's going to be madness Toni Iommi, Bill Ward, the uh, other guy! We're just so excited. Peace and love to everyone at Ultimately Guitar, best wishes. It's going to be f-cking WILD!"
Brilliance. Man, Ozzy rules. Okay, so there you have it! You guys voted and those are the winners. On behalf of the UG Team, we'll see you all back here next year in 2012. Dammit, I'm gonna have to clean up the mess Lou Reed made
By Zach Pino