Drew L: Top Albums of 2011

Syracuse, NY

top ten albums

10Gillian Welch: The Harrow and the Harvest

Welch’s best album since her debut: whiskey-soaked and gothic roots country.

Standout Track(s): The Way It Goes, Down Along the Dixie Line,

08Bon Iver : Bon Iver

That cheesy synth track? El Beardo is FUCKING with you.

07My Morning Jacket: Circuital

Hey man, got a joint? Cause this album would be a lot cooler if you did. Seriously, man, you carrying?

06The Black Keys: El Camino

The Black Keys’ follow-up to “Brothers” is rather like Modest Mouse’s “Good News for People Who Like Bad News”: band seeks mainstream breakthrough with a smoother, poppier album destined to piss off no small amount of their original fans. While it’s not quite as good as “Brothers,” “El Camino” is fun and accessible, but yet, I think, true to the Black Keys’ bluesy bar-band sound.

05Lia Ices: Grown Unknown

Standout Track(s): Love is Won, Lilac

04TunE-yArDs: w h o k i l l

I want to hate this band. I DO hate the album’s cover, the irritating LeTTeRinG, and the very premise that some white girl from Connecticut wrote a song entitled “Gangsta.” Yet I can’t get this fucking album out of my head.

03Wilco: The Whole Love

Standout Track(s): The Whole Love,

02Cults: Cults

Catchy, surprisingly twisted and delicious, a kind of optical-illusion album where seemingly light tracks about adoration and youthful revolt can be read as the brainwashed pleas of doomed cult members. My only question: now that they’ve exhausted their band title concept and the best samples of Charles Manson and Jim Jones, what the hell are they going to do for their second album?

Standout Track(s): “Abducted,” “Go Outside

01PJ Harvey: Let England Shake

An epic, nostalgic, and dark tour of Britain’s wars, her empire, and her rolling hills. There is no such thing as a bad PJ Harvey album, and this is one of her very, very best.

honorable mentions

Adele, “21,” Elbow, “Build a Rocket, Boys,” also not technically new, but you all should really buy the remastered hits collection “Wall of Sound: The Best of Phil Spector.”

similarity to overall top ten: 32.17%, 3 matches

top songs

10Coldplay, “Paradise”Thanks, Matt Karp, for getting me to overcome anti-Coldplay bias.[Ed: WTF? Karp, I blame you.]

09Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”There was a New York Magazine article that claimed this was a generational anthem for the millennials. Dubious. Good song, though.

08Bon Iver, “Holocene”

07Florence + the Machine, “Shake It Out”

06Mountain Goats, “Damn These Vampires”

05Elbow, “Lippy Kids”

04Wilco, “One Sunday Morning”

03Cults, “Abducted”

02Tune-yards, “Gangsta”

01PJ Harvey, “The Last Living Rose” and “In The Dark Places” (tie)

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