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.