Well 2011 is over and now I can do my favorite thing, list the best of the year. Unfortunately I haven’t seen enough films to do a top ten for film (mostly because many films “officially” released in 2011 aren’t made available to the public till 2012) but for now I can list the best in music. This has been a great year for music as we have had a new Radiohead record, sophomore efforts from Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, and the emergence of M83 to the public eye. So listing ten records was hard but one must for my own satisfaction. So here is my top ten albums and songs of 2011.
Disclaimer: Although I love to list music, I haven’t listened to nearly enough albums to justify it. So if you want a more definitive list then look elsewhere.
Top Ten Albums of 2011
10. Strange Mercy by St. Vincent
A dark and moody album from the talented St. Vincent. Stange Mercy mummers with loss and regret and when put together, is a painful and wonderful portrait of a woman in these modern times.
9. Tourches by Foster the People
Didn’t think I would like this album after the huge response to “Pumped Up Kicks” but when I did sit down and listen to it I was pleasantly surprised. Tourches is like a light MGMT album where it is easier on the ears and a sure crowd pleaser.
8. Let England Shake by PJ Harvey
Let England Shake feels like it is was made raw on the streets of London as Harvey’s voice feels like it is drowned out with the gloomy weather of England. A wonderful patchwork of sounds and emotions.
7. The Rip Tide by Beirut
A lot more poppy than Beirut’s previous releases but the nostalgia and eastern themes are still present. Happy that Beirut is evolving in a time where many artists are content with what is.
6. King of Limbs by Radiohead
May not be another Kid A or In Rainbows but it is a Radiohead album which means that it is still a Radiohead album. A mellow mix between In Rainbows and Yorke’s solo effort and is one of the most interesting and polarizing releases of the year.
5. Take Care by Drake
Drake isn’t just another mindless rapper as Take Care shows the person and the story behind the mike. Filled with sadness and loss, Take Care is the most surprising and heartfelt rap release to come out in awhile.
4. Burst Apart by The Antlers
Must have been a daunting task to follow up the great “Hospice” but The Antlers put out an album that is worlds apart from their masterpiece and in most respects is actually better than it’s predecessor. An indie kid’s prom night dream.
3. Bon Iver, Bon Iver by Bon Iver
I liked Emma but I was hoping that Bon Iver would bring in more sound. They did just that and made an album that is head and shoulders above their breakout album. No sophomore slump here, as it seems like Bon Iver is here to stay.
2. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83
Listening to M83’s newest release is like taking a journey through time and space. Some songs are there to make you dance, others are there to make you smile, and the rest are there to make you wonder. Like the cosmos, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is a strange sort of beautiful.
1. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
Growing up is all over Helplessness Blues. Comparing yourself to others lives and wondering what will become of us and those around us. Helplessness Blues is like a mediation on all things and like most great pieces of art it is nothing more than just a bunch of terrifying and worrisome thoughts. Fleet Foxes are more than just a bunch of hipster musicians, they are just like all of us stuck in a world with no comprehension.
Top Twenty Songs of 2011
20. I Would Do Anything for You by Foster the People
19. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO
18. Over My Dead Body by Drake
17. Vagabond by Beirut
16. N***** in Paris by Jay-Z and Kanye West
15. Perth by Bon Iver
14. Steve McQueen by M83
13. Lotus Flower by Radiohead
12. Terra Incognita by Atlas Sound
11. Calgary by Bon Iver
10. Think You Can Wait by The National
9. Marvin’s Room by Drake
8. The Rip Tide by Beirut
7. Montezuma by Fleet Foxes
6. Midnight City by M83
5. She Will (Feat. Drake) by Lil Wayne
4. Holocene by Bon Iver
3. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
2. I Don’t Want Love by The Antlers
1. Te Amo by Atlas Sound