Friday, January 20, 2012

Best Albums of 2011

Better late than never, here is my best of 2011 Album List. 

10. The Bewitched Hands – Birds and Drums
These French rockers come from the small town of Reims--which is known more for producing champagne than it is for producing bands. And The Bewitched Hands bring a sound that is unique, playful and melodic music that is quite original.

9. Cults – Cults
Listening to this album makes me think about the Jackson 5 of the 70's. Happy, optimistic music with a certain level of reverence to Motown melodies. It's hard to argue that Go Outside wasn't one of the best songs of the year.

8. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
TV on the Radio has quickly emerged as one of the best bands from the United States. While critics did not embrace Nine Types of Light as much as their earlier albums, I feel this was a highly-underrated work and solid from start to finish.

7. Jay Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Typically, I do not add many rap albums to my best-of list, but my number 7 and number 6 on the list feature two rap albums. Jay Z and Kanye West turn in some of the best singles of the year with this album. And despite spending too much time bragging about their wealth, it's apparent that their talent has earned it.

6. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
Ishmael Butler leads this rap group and you can hear elements from his days with Digable Planets. This is one of the most creative rap albums I have heard in quite some time. There is an innovate, jazz-based sound that draws you in.

5. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo
I am very late to the Kurt Vile bandwagon--and bought this album only after seeing it on my friend's best of 2011 list. And it's a shame that I found this album so late as it is a gem. Vile is a new breed of Lou Reed or Bob Dylan. Yet, his album is one that is from a guy who isn't trying to hard to fit into any specific formula.

4. Eddie Veddar – Ukelele Songs
While my days of believing Pearl Jam can do no wrong are long gone, this simple album by Eddie Vedder was such a pleasant surprise in 2011. Just Eddie and a ukulele. And the combination of Vedder's baritone voice with the light and perky strum just goes together so well.

3. The Antlers – Burst Apart
After buying Burst Apart, it quickly became an album I listened to every day on loop. It's drifty, sleepy sounds grab at your ears and keep a tight grip. 

2. Portugal the Man – In the Mountain In the Cloud
This album seemed to be overlooked by virtually every music critic when assembling their best of the year list. But this is a remarkable album that does not contain one bad song and I do hope it becomes one of those albums that gets a following a year after it's release.

1. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Every year when I put together this list, I pick my number one album is the album I believe that if you had to spend any of your hard-earned money on, that it'd be worth every penny. This album is not just the best album of the year, but one of the best in the past five years. The songwriting is simple in its approach, yet the melodies are inspiring. Along with Pink Floyd-esque songs like My Ma there is a track (Die) that pays homage to 70's metal. Such a wide-range of sounds, yet it all comes together to create one heck of an addictive album.

Wilco – The Whole Love
Yuck – Yuck
Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys
The Black Keys – El Camino
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy (One of the worst albums I have ever heard.)

1 comment:

Rick Z. said...

I like roughly half of your top 10. I think your honorable mention pile belonged in the top 10, personally. I do not enjoy Kurt Vile. Not sure the draw there. But, thanks for posting and some new stuff to check out.