Top 50 Albums of 2011
December 16th, 2011 in
At this year’s Record Store Day – the April one, not the November shindig – I felt something that hadn’t occurred to me in probably 10 years. I felt excited to hold a record. Standing in line, clutching the inside of my far-too-thin hoodie (thanks, Chicago wind), I paced back and forth in my mind, thinking, God, I hope I get this album. The item in question? Big Star’s unreleased Third.
Of course, I didn’t get it. Nobody did. The store didn’t even receive a copy. So, instead, I spent a couple bucks on some singles, bit my lip, and went home somewhat satiated. But, for the 45 minutes prior to that moment, it was something slightly alien, but moreover familiar. There used to be a time when you couldn’t get an album.
Not everyone can remember that feeling, but they should. Prior to the digital revolution, music was somewhat of a privilege. As a child, you might spend weeks saving up money for something that takes less than two clicks to grab now. Don’t get me wrong — it’s liberating. But value gets partly tossed aside now. It really shouldn’t.
The album is by far the most integral facet of the music industry. People throw out EPs, toss in singles, but albums really mean something. If it’s even halfway decent, it’s essentially then a collection of perfected thoughts, emotions, and creations that are meant to be consumed, examined, and experienced. This year, we had far too many experiences – seemingly overloaded by an open-door policy of music thanks to Spotify.
That didn’t stop us, however, from finding 50 albums we thoroughly enjoyed.
Adele, Annual Report 2011, Atlas Sound, Beyoncé, Bill Callahan, Bon Iver, Childish Gambino, Colin Stetson, Cut Copy, Danny Brown, Destroyer, Drake, EMAs, Fleet Foxes, Foo Fighters, Fucked Up, Girls, Goyte, James Blake, Jay Z, Kanye West, Kate Bush, Kendrick Lamar, Kurt Vile, M83, Mikal Cronin, Oneohtrix Point Never, Panda Bear, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Real Estate, Ryan Adams, SBTRKT, Shabazz Palaces, St. Vincent, Summer Camp, The Antlers, The Horrors, The Joy Formidable, The Men, The Mountain Goats, The War on Drugs, The Weeknd, Thundercat, Tom Waits, tUnE-yArDs, Ty Segall, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Washed Out, Wild Flag, Yuck