I love doing these lists every year for 2 reasons. I love remembering the records that were really great from throughout the past year, but I also love seeing other people posting their favorites in the comments so please make sure to let me know what your top 10 was this year. I want to find all the records I may have missed this year! I hope you enjoy the list and the honorable mentions listed below.
My Top Ten Albums of 2011 ///
10.) Moby – Destroyed
I’m always looking for great instrumental records or simple ambient records to run to and work to and that’s how I discovered this Moby album. Moby always has a great underlying concept behind his records and this record, like Moby’s last record Hotel, contains more than first meets the ear.
9.) The Strokes – Angles
This the Strokes best album since “This is it” and possibly the best vocal melodies they’ve ever written. I remember at the first of the year people talking about the Strokes saving Rock n Roll again. This record is not that monumental, but was a must have for 2011.
8.) Radiohead – TKOL RMX 1234567
I know it’s a remix record, but it’s an amazing remix record. These songs were already amazing as I’ll discuss later (wink, wink) but put them in the hands of the worlds greatest DJs and it’s one of, if not the best, remix record of the year.
7.) Foo Fighters – Wasted Light
Music being played in a room together by 5 humans going straight to tape and harnessing rock n roll in all it’s glory. This is the most rock n roll album of the year. It reminded me why I started listening to music in the first place.
6.) John Mark McMillan – Economy
One of the best songwriters of our time. This record musically was very inspiring to me and lots of friends who write music. It never ceases to amaze me that the simplest albums are the ones that always catch my hear and hold me there for a long time.
5.) Ryan Adams – Ashes and Fire
Let me be honest. I’m bias. I believe Ryan is the great American songwriter of our generation. This album is the most foundational and cohesive set of songs he’s ever released and it doesn’t hurt it was recorded all live in 3 days by Ethan Johns (Heartbreaker, Gold) father. The elder Johns made albums for the Stones, Beatles, and more.
4.) Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2
Beasties changed the game and continue making incredible hip-hop into their 40s. They make art records that somehow translate to the mainstream and when you find yourself doing that you have a long career ahead. This was the best hip-hop album of the year in my opinion.
3.) Radiohead – The King of Limbs
Come on… it’s Radiohead. Even though at first I really didn’t care for TKOL it slowly sucked me in like a black hole and it’s probably my 3rd favorite Radiohead album ever… right now. Just like always, amazing melodies, amazing tones, amazing chord structures continuing to humble me as a musician.
2.) Bon Iver – Bon Iver
I was hesitant to pick up Bon Iver’s follow up only because it seemed he had been sucked into mainstream culture and I was scared he would lose what made the first album so epic, but I need not worry. Forever Emma Ago, will probably be his best record, but Bon Iver seems to have a long career of awesomeness ahead of him.
1.) Wilco – The Whole Love
Best Wilco album ever. Songwriting, arranging, tones, production, and artwork all shine through cohesively and beautifully. It’s a symphony of Americana, avant garde jazz, and good old rock n roll. Please pick this record up and listen all the way through at least twice.
Honorable Mentions ///
– Tom Waits – Bad as Me
– Bjork – Biophilia
– Gungor – Ghosts Upon the Earth
– My Morning Jacket – Circuital
– Superheavy – Superheavy
– Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials
Don’t forget to post your favorite records in the comments and help me find a few I may have missed. It was a great year for music!