This year, I have clearly not have not had as much to digest all the music of 2011. So, for the first time – maybe ever – I have a unranked list of albums. Mostly, these are some things I’ve listened to over the year that I thought were especially good. You can judge for yourself.
The Weeknd – House of Balloons/Thursday: I’m likely in the minority here as I like Thursday more than I like like House of Balloons, but the Weeknd seem to have filled that gap left by the fact that Portishead took over a decade to release the same number of albums that the Weeknd released in 2011 alone. (By the way, they’re free – along with a third new album that I haven’t even had a chance to hear.)
From Thursday – “Birds Part 2”
From House of Balloons – “High for This”
Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne: Maybe I am a sucker for Jay-Z, but I got into Watch the Throne more than any Kanye album. I still can’t get over the fact that Kanye just isn’t a good rapper, sorry.
Urge Overkill – Rock & Roll Submarine: I might have listened to this as much as I did more out of nostalgia than the quality of the music, but UO came back after 15 years and did what they do best: rock out.
Boston Spaceships – Let It Beard: Speaking of rock, this might be my favorite Robert Pollard project in years.
“Make a Record for Lo-Life”
Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost: A late entry, but a lot of fun. Very much in the “we love Brian Wilson” school of indie.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming: Pretty much a decent album buoyed by a truly excellent song.
Alvy, Nacho and Rubin – Interpretan a Los Campos Magnéticos: Sure, it is an album of covers of Magnetic Fields songs, but whatever, they did them well.
“Sí, Oh, Sí”
TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light: Hard for me not to like an album by these guys. This one was a rebound (at least in my opinion)
Beirut – The Rip Tide: The same could be said for Beirut. I found Rip Tide a little less stuffy than The Flying Club Cup, which is a good thing for the band to not get buried in baroque.
“The Rip Tide”
Horrors – Skying: Not the sort of quantum leap that the band made between its first and second albums, but in order to do that, you’d need to be following the Radiohead trajectory.
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy: My sister said it best: “she’s like Bjork, but you can actually understand a word she’s saying”.
“Chloe in the Afternoon”
Mastodon – The Hunter: I did get more into their back catalog this year, but The Hunter was a good showing.
Jens Lekman – An Argument with Myself EP: And honestly, what year would be complete without the inclusion of Jens Lekman on these lists?
“An Argument with Myself”