Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of 2011: Top 25 Albums of the Year (plus a long list of honorable mentions) and a spotify playlist

Oh 2011, good riddance. You've been a decent year but the media/arts output especially in music has been critically underwhelming. Maybe some recent years have been so good that we've come to expect a musical revolution to occur every year. If there was a year worthy of skipping lists and contenders with the increasing influx of releases from all angles, you'd be a good year to set a precedence.

There's some good stuff in you but all time classics that will continually pop up in a collection are few and far between. Opening a new decade is a tough job but when the 2010's are up, you will hardly be remembered or mentioned. Either way, a year is over and the kids want a list so here it is.

  1. It's a Corporate World by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

    The top of the heap goes to a debut that I've been anticipating for quite a while after getting a taste of their 2010 Horse Power EP. The promise carried over in a eclectic collection of jangly, infectious pop.

    Full of effervescent energy, vigor and craftsmanship, It's A Corporate World delivers track after track. Catchy, peppy, and invigorating from the word go.

    Despite the perceived silly name, DEJJ have a cacophony of vibes to impart on a listener, looking for hook-filled pop perfection.

    It may not be the most daring, challenging, or coolest album in history but credit the quality, consistency, and whistle-ability for making it easily the most worn out LP (digitally of course) across my music collection in 2011.
  2. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83 
  3. Zonoscope by Cut Copy

  4. Apocalypse by Bill Callahan
  5. Let England Shake by PJ Harvey (Welcome back Ms. Harvey.)
  6. Days by Real Estate
  7. Smoke Ring for My Halo by Kurt Vile
  8. Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Only four songs besides the high quality Cliff Martinez instrumentals but those four tracks are infinitely awesome.
  9. In The Mountain, In the Cloud by Portugal. The Man
  10. The Year of Hibernation by Youth Lagoon

  11. Reptilians by Starfuckers
  12. Bon Iver by Bon Iver
  13. Father, Son, Holy Ghost by Girls
  14. The King of Limbs by Radiohead
    They are my all-time favorite band and this may be a bit of posterity reach but it's my f'in list.
  15. Gimme Some by Peter Bjorn and John
    Everyone was on board after "Young Folks" but then completely lost interest yet these Scandanavians can really write a catchy tune.
  16. No Color by Dodos
    Another "it" band from a few years back didn't get enough love for their follow up.
  17. The Whole Love by Wilco 
  18. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

  19. 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis
    Their last effort was amazing. This album is pretty high quality.

  20. Living Room Songs by Olafur Arnalds
  21. Dye It Blonde by Smith Westerns
  22. Circuital by My Morning Jacket
  23. Tomboy by Panda Bear
  24. Bad as Me by Tom Waits
  25. Build a Rocket Boys by Elbow

Honorable Mentions ('cause they all deserve some credit)

Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage: 1982-2011 by  R.E.M.

Greatest hits aren't eligible for the list but in honor of the recent demise, pack some R.E.M into a playlist before the New Year. I mean, what's a holiday mix without some "E-Bow the Letter"? Even their latest record had some pretty good tracks.

Tago Mago (40th Anniversary Edition) by Can

Don't usually do reissues either but I love me some Can and Tago Mago is a good gateway drug from a band that is too often overlooked in the history of music.

In Light by Givers
whokill by tuneyards
Diaper Island
by Chad Van Gaalen
Divine Providence
by Deer Tick
Within and Without by Washed Out
Slave Ambient
by The War on Drugs
Era Extrana by Neon Indian
Life Fantastic
by Man Man
Goblin by Tyler the Creator
Thursday by The Weeknd
C’mon by Low
Kiss Each Other Clean by Iron & Wine

And don't forget your free parting gift/goody bag, a lengthy Best of 2011 Spotify Mix, 5 hours full of the best that the year had to offer (although some great sadly aren't available on there). Enjoy and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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