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My Favorite Albums of 2011
My Favorite Albums of 2011
12/23/11 at 06:12 PM by sargentlgfuad
50. Tristen - Charlatans at the Garden Gate
49. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
48. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
47. The Swellers - Good for Me
46. Araabmuzik - Electronic Dream
45. Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man
44. Feist - Metals
43. TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
42. Toro Y Moi - Underneath the Pine
40. Eisley - The Valley
39. Thrice - Major/Minor
38. Noah and the Whale - Last Night on the Earth
37. The Horrors - Skying
36. Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride
35. WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
34. Childish Gambino - Camp
33. The Get Up Kids - There Are Rules
32. The Strokes - Angles
31. O'Death - Outside
30. Architecture in Helsinki - Moment Bends
29. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
28. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
27. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - Mammoth Swoon
26. Friendly Fires - Pala
25. La Dispute - Wildfire
24. Drake - Take Care
23. Defeater - Endless Days, Sleepless Nights
22. Givers - In Light
21. The Dear Hunter - The Color Spectrum
20. Cults - Cults
19. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong
18. The Weeknd - House of Balloons / Thursday / Echoes of Silence
17. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
16. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
15. Lady Gaga - Born This Way
14. Cage the Elephant - Thank You, Happy Birthday
13. Astronautalis - This Is Our Science
12. Thursday - No Devolucion
11. Adele - 21

10. The Dangerous Summer - War Paint

Two years ago, when The Dangerous Summer released one of my favorite albums... ever, I completely doubted the fact that they could make another album nearly as perfect. I was right. However, I had no idea that they would come so close. War Paint takes a slightly different approach than Reach for the Sun did, and it pays off. With arguably some of their best songs they've ever created ("Work in Progress", "War Paint"), The Dangerous Summer puts everything under a giant microscope, and inspects everything in relationships that has ever made you upset, confused, or depressed, and they don't shy away from bringing you along with them.

9. Tune-Yards - W H O K I L L

Although I never heard of Tune-Yards before this year, I'm glad I did. Lead singer, Merrill, brings forth a completely different feel to the music world. A feel free from shame or pain. W H O K I L L brings you back to your childhood and makes it okay to make a fool out of yourself in your room or at a concert. The playful attitude is apparent not only in Merrill's obnoxious vocals or phrases in songs like "Gangsta" or "Killa" but in her amazing talent in looping the most random sounds and creating a completely new sound. Her ability to remain playful and balance that out with really touching songs, such as "You Yes You" and "Doorstep" make Tune-Yards one of the most well-rounded bands in the industry today.

8. Portugal. The Man - In the Mountain In the Cloud

With Portugal. The Man's sixth album in five years, you'd think they'd run out of steam and ideas by now, but with arguably their best album to date, Portugal show no sign of slowing down. In the Mountain, In the Cloud is a tremendous, well-fined album that proves that Portugal know their best qualities and know how to show them off. Their immaculate song-writing is incredibly catchy. Every song on this album has been in my head after each listen. And each song sounds like it's it's own single, which bands usually tend to shy away from, but Portugal goes for it and made one of my favorite albums of this year.

7. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

As I never heard of Lykke Li before this year, I was first taken aback by her vocals and odd arrangements. However, whether it be her upbeat and dancier songs to her slowed down, mellow-dramatic approach there is not much Lykke Li does bad at all. She's not afraid to be completely down on herself "Unrequited Love" or "Sadness Is a Blessing" or stand strong "Get Some" or "I Follow Rivers". There are so many sides to Lykke Li and so many sides to Wounded Rhymes but each side is as beautiful as the other.

6. Fucked Up - David Comes to Life

How do you make an 18 song, 1.2 hour long, concept album not become dull even once? I have no idea, but Fucked Up did it. As the self-proclaimed "fucked up" band, due to their complete opposite polarities as it comes to musical tastes, Fucked Up has crafted up a shit-storm of amazement. The raw, screaming vocals mixed with the more "poppy" drums and the melodic guitars, Fucked Up has found something never touched before. Not to mention one of the best lyrical albums this year, it takes a lot to make a punk album have so much heart in it.

5. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes also had a lot to live up to this year, after their incredible debut. However, shying away from strictly harmonies, Fleet Foxes focused on incorporating intricate string melodies and a soft ambient feel to their sound, creating a deeply touching album. The other-worldly sound is what separates Fleet Foxes from the other art-folk bands, because Fleet Foxes does it right. They aren't afraid to stick to generic pop structures but then branch off entirely and break out into guitar solos (i.e. "Sim Sala Bim"). The way the album flows makes me want to grow a beard, go live in the deep woods, and bring a banjo.

4. The Antlers - Burst Apart

Albums about sex is usually a risque topic and fall into the hands of awful musicians who all sing about the same thing. However, The Antlers take a completely different approach and discuss the shortcomings of a fallen lust and the truly empty feeling of loss after opening yourself up to someone else. From the high-pitched vocals that would make cats cry to the flawless lyrics of Burst Apart, The Antlers have crafted up something incredibly touching and intricate. The genuine feel to the album is so raw that it makes you fight against your own thoughts and ideas as The Antlers bare all in a gripping form.

3. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver is a genius. Coming off of For Emma, Forever Ago, he knew he had a lot to overcome and outdo himself. Instead of keeping his same style, he completely took on a new task and mindset with Bon Iver, Bon Iver that someone could even argue it's flawlessness. Its proximity to the 80s is evident, but there's something rather soothing about the inspirations he draws. The eerie, truthful lyrics and the incredible range of his vocals creates a incredibly sincere album that no other artist could've pulled off.

2. Mansions - Dig Up the Dead

Pop Rock is Not Dead, and Mansions proves it. I'm even hesitant to give it a genre as Mansions is much better than any label it could be assigned. No other artist this year was able to match up such truth-telling lyrics set to a pop-esque vibe. As every other chorus on Dig Up the Dead feels like a substantial quote, it's hard to not be touched by Christopher Browder's incredibly raw and caring vocals. Every instrument, from the recording of the drums, to the driving guitars, to the softness of the bass, feels purposeful. If you aren't shouting along or tapping your feet or jumping up out of your seat when listening to Dig Up the Dead then music is not meant for you.

1. James Blake - James Blake

If you don't know who James Blake is or haven't listened to him yet, then stop reading this and do your heart a favor and go listen. There's no amount of words I can express as to the utter greatness of James Blake. It's raw, it's real, it's beautiful, it's deep, it's intricate, it's heavenly, it's music. A guy who just comes onto a scene of incredible musicianship and creates an entirely new sound that literately has no comparison to anything else deserves to be recognized. And then making the best album of the year on top of that!? There's nothing this man can do wrong, in my book.

5. Fences/Mansions SPLIT
4. Childish Gambino - EP
3. You, Me, and Everyone We Know - Things Are Really Weird Right Now
2. Innerpartysystem - Never Be Content
1. James Blake - Enough Thunder

Blink 182 - Neighborhoods
Bright Eyes - The People's Key
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Panic! at the Disco - Vices & Virtues
Jay Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
MuteMath - Old Soul
Laura Stevenson & the Cans - Sit Resist
The Sounds - Something to Die For
Justice - Audio, Video, Disco
The Woods - Sun & Shade
Emery - We Do What We Want
Atmosphere - Family Sign
Doomtree - No Kings
Wye Oak - Civilian
Dolorean - The Unfazed
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes & Keys
The Head and the Heart - The Head and the Heart
Hercules and Love Affair - Blue Songs
The Kills - Satellite
Surfer Blood - Tarot Classics EP
U.S. Royalty - MIRRORS
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die / Deer Leap - SPLIT
Des Ark - Don't Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker
Fireworks - Gospel
The Graduate - Every Other Time (B-Sides)
And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead

10. Toro Y Moi - Still Sound
9. Hercules & Love Affair - Painted Eyes
8. La Dispute - The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit
7. M83 - Midnight City
6. Eisley - Ambulance
5. The Dangerous Summer - Work in Progress
4. Bon Iver - Holocene
3. Azealia Banks - 212
2. James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream
1. Adele - Someone Like You

5. Underoath w/ Thursday & Animals as Leaders
4. Tune-Yards
3. Motion City Soundtrack w/ Jenny Owen Youngs
2. Manchester Orchestra w/ Cage the Elephant
1. James Blake w/ Chairlift
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