Matt K: Top Albums of 2011

Philadelphia, PA

2011 was many things, but it was not 2010. I listened to more albums this year — damned Goldfarb Honor System! — and even liked most of them, but nothing on the list below really matches Kanye or Phosphorescent or Arcade Fire or Robyn. It was a year where old favorites (Wilco, Ryan Adams, My Morning Jacket) aged with grace, if not with glory; where zombie Britney robotically but systematically kicked Gaga’s ass; and where all the best music lovingly conjured the atmosphere of the mid-1980s. (That is, except for PJ Harvey, who concentrated her formidable and unloving energies on the mid-1910s). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been meaning to fuck someone in the garden.

top ten albums

10Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean

Sweet poky rhythyms of love and nostalgia and other pleasant things.

Standout Track(s): Tree By The River, Me And Lazarus

09My Morning Jacket: Circuital

MGMT meets Dirty Projectors meets M83, except they’re Romanian! No, not really. But this is a hell of a lot of fun anyway.

Standout Track(s): Outta My System, Circuital

08My Morning Jacket: Circuital

Another MMJ album that’s good top to bottom and great in a few places, too. Yawn.

Standout Track(s): Outta My System, Circuital

07Cut Copy: Zonoscope

MGMT meets Dirty Projectors meets M83, except they’re Romanian! No, not really. But this is a hell of a lot of fun anyway.

Standout Track(s): Rich Doors, Shot Big Horizon

06Mates of State: Mountaintops

Whoo-oooo-oooo-hooo-ooo!

Standout Track(s): Palomino, Mistakes

05Bon Iver : Bon Iver

All sopping wet with the gorgeous innocence of a fresh morning dew. Angelo Badalamenti couldn’t have done better.

Standout Track(s): Towers, Holocene, Beth/Rest

04Jay-Z / Kanye West: Watch the Throne

Suffers from a little too much realness to top, or even to approach My Beautiful Dark Fantasy, but hell, the stars is still in the building.

Standout Track(s): No Church in the Wild, New Day, Lift-Off

03Frank Ocean: Nostalgia, Ultra

Who’s that laughing in my library? Not me, Frank. I’m leaning back in my armchair, slurping up your deliciously liquid ear candy.

Standout Track(s): Nature Feels, Novacane, Dust

02PJ Harvey: Let England Shake

Eerie, distressingly beautiful word-pictures, all adrift in a wide and varied musical ocean that shimmers like very little else. Sharp, strange, tender, and taut.

Standout Track(s): The Last Living Rose, All and Everyone, Written on the Forehead

01Beirut: The Rip Tide

Eerie, distressingly beautiful word-pictures, all adrift in a wide and varied musical ocean that shimmers like very little else. Sharp, strange, tender, and taut.

Standout Track(s): East Harlem, A Candle’s Flame, Vagabond

honorable mentions

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues; Britney Spears – Femme Fatale; Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto; Adele – 21; Charles Bradley – No Time For Dreaming; Fruit Bats – Tripper

similarity to overall top ten: 33.33%, 3 matches

top songs

Who listens to albums anymore? Honorable mentions here include Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” the only thing I liked in her disappointing follow-up; War on Drugs, “Come to the City”; Austra, “Lose You”; Wale, “Ambition”, which needs to achieve its apotheosis in a motivational Nike commercial (I’m picturing Calvin Johnson working out shirtlessly in a starkly-lit gym); and T-Pain (w/ Lily Allen & Wiz Khalifa), “5-O’clock,” which features the best sweaters in any pop-hop video I saw seen all year.

10My Morning Jacket, “Outta My System”You can feel it in your bones, but try to deny it.

09Rihanna (w/ Calvin Harris), “We Found Love”Dance pop champion of 2011.

08Beirut, “East Harlem”Sound is the color I know.

07Bon Iver, “Towers”Would quote a lyric here if I could understand what he’s saying.

06Coldplay (w/ Rihanna), “Princess of China”The year’s single most awesome chorus (“I coulda been a Princess, you’d be a king…”). Also the year’s most embarrassing chorus to be caught singing over your headphones at the gym.

05PJ Harvey, “The Last Living Rose”God damn Europeans.

04Frank Ocean, “Nature Feels”Doing wild things in a wild land.

03Cut Copy, “Need You Now”Echo & the Bunnymen wish they’d come up with this shit.

02Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”One of the best Simon & Garfunkel songs of all time. OF ALL TIME!

01Jay-Z and Kanye West, “No Church in the Wild” Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy laid beats. Yup.

similar voters suggested albums

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *