My favourite 30 albums of 2011

Here it is – my list of favourite albums of 2011.  Of course, some of my choices fly in the face of public opinion, because – to be honest – I don’t really think a great deal about what is popular or what music magazines’ critics decide we should be listening to.  I like what I like.  The best selling album of the year was by Adele, so that says a lot about what most people have been listening to this year whereas I would rather have my eardrums violently penetrated by knitting needles than sit through an album by Adele.

I don’t think 2011 has been a classic year for music.  There haven’t been many albums I have truly loved.  Less than ten.  In fact, I don’t think a single album released this year would make my top hundred albums of all time.  Having said that, however, there have been more than a handful of truly excellent releases which I have thoroughly enjoyed, with a few tracks on them which have been tremendous.  All of the following thirty albums fall into that category for different reasons.  The top nine, especially, are absolutely fantastic and I would recommend any of them without hesitation.

So, without further ado, I give to you…

andrewdsweeney’s Top 30 albums of 2011

1.  Don’t Explain – Joe Bonamassa & Beth Hart
2.  Bella – Teddy Thompson
3.  Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
4.  The King Is Dead – The Decemberists
5.  Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
6.  Cashmere If You Can – Chris Difford
7.  Welcome 2 My Nightmare – Alice Cooper
8.  How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell – Bob Geldof
9.  Gentle Spirit – Jonathan Wilson
10.  Killer Sounds – Hard-Fi
11.  Crystal Sounds – Thirteen Senses
12.  Long Player, Late Bloomer – Ron Sexsmith
13.  Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns – John Hiatt
14.  Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes
15.  Everything Changes – Julian Lennon
16.  2 –  Black Country Communion
17.  American Goldwing – Blitzen Trapper
18.  So Beautiful or So What – Paul Simon
19.  Dust Bowl – Joe Bonamassa
20.  Mondo Amore – Nicole Atkins
21.  Sky Full Of Holes – Fountains Of Wayne
22.  Man Made – Doyle & The Fourfathers
23.  Build A Rocket Boys! – Elbow
24.  Collapse Into Now – R.E.M.
25.  Nothing Is Wrong – Dawes
26.  England Keep My Bones – Frank Turner
27.  Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
28.  Let England Shake – P.J. Harvey
29.  Lioness: Hidden Treasures – Amy Winehouse
30.  Different Gear, Still Speeding – Beady Eye

There have been a few disappointments.  The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first album without John Frusciante since Californication was horribly average.  Wilco’s The Whole Love was decent enough, but failed to excite after such a brilliant previous effort.  The Kaiser Chiefs also delivered a competent album but it certainly seems like they have had their day in the sun.  Similar to The Kaiser Chiefs’ effort, Kasabian’s Velociraptor wasn’t bad, but I’m aware that I’m damning it with faint praise.  Other pretty good albums were released by Florence & The Machine, Real Estate and Dream Theater, but they just didn’t make my Top 30.

There are a few albums I would have liked to have heard but haven’t yet, such as Panic! At The Disco, The Vaccines and Bon Iver, but I’ve been waiting for them to come down in price before taking the plunge.  I have had less time this year to listen to new music than previous years, so I have been a little more selective about my purchases, even though I’ve bought over 60 new studio albums released in 2011.

Here’s hoping for a better 2012.  Last year wasn’t terrible, but it is, to me, one of the least memorable years for music in the last decade.  Be sure to check out any of the albums in my top thirty if you haven’t heard them yet, especially the first nine.

About A.D.S.

You are reading the musings of a music-obsessed forty-something who was brought up on The Beatles, lived through Britpop and now spends his time in pursuit of the best music around. This 'blog gives me an outlet to write about the huge number of albums I buy and the many gigs I go to. All of the opinions expressed are my own and if you don't agree with me, then I understand - music is a very personal thing. I like to receive comments, especially if they're nice ones.
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2 Responses to My favourite 30 albums of 2011

  1. Bill says:

    Beady Eye’s album was better than I had expected, but not as good as you should expect from two good songwriters, the brother of a great songwriter, a drummer who has worked with one of the greatest songwriters and the best producer of his generation.

    Noel Gallagher’s album sounds like the record he’s been waiting ten years to make and finally can now that he doesn’t feel he has to carry his idiot brother.

  2. Beady Eye’s album is a lot of fun. A rollicking, feel-good piece of highly-derivative rock ‘n’ roll that is heaps better than everyone expected it to be. It’s not high art, but it was never going to be. It gets a mention on my list because of the sheer enjoyment it gives. For me, Noel was the only songwriter in Oasis who was above average, so the sum of the parts that is Different Gear, Still Speeding is one of the surprise packages of the year.

    Noel’s album is great, it really is, but I was honestly hoping for better. I was hoping that he’d re-discovered the muse which had produced so many great songs on Oasis’ first couple of albums and even the B-sides from the same era. He doesn’t quite hit those heights, but it’s a lot better than most of his compositions in every Oasis album since Be Here Now, so it’s definitely a hit with me!

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