Best Albums of 2011 Albums
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Best Albums of 2011

2011's releases easily topped the Best Albums of 2010, but that is faint praise indeed. 2011 was a slightly sub-par year by recent (the last 5 years) standards, but IMHO new rock (and related) music has been ebbing for quite some time (see the best albums of the '00s). Not to be a total downer though - everything in my Top 10 is top-notch, even compared to the respective artists' previous work. Nos 11-20 are also quite solid, though the quality drops for the rest of the list.

Updated in 2012: moved the order around of the Top 5 now that I have some perspective. Giving the nod to The Black Keys - a band that I've been a fan of since their first indie release, but who have really grown and expanded their songwriting depth.
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  1. 1

    El Camino

    The Black Keys More
    Their best - even better than the excellent "Brothers"
  2. 2
    Adele More
    #1 on the original list
    Honestly, at different times any of these top 5 records could be my #1 - and it was nice to ... more
  3. 3

    Mine Is Yours

    Cold War Kids More
    My go-to 2011 record when I just need an energy boost (sadly, there don't seem to be as many ... more
  4. 4
    PJ Harvey More
    #13 on the original list
    PJ Harvey's albums tend to each have a unique feel, and while I've always liked her work, the ... more
  5. 5
    Wilco More
    #20 on the original list
    A fine return to "Ghost Is Born" form. I can't say I've yet listened to this enough ... more
  6. 6
    Iron & Wine More
    A bit of a departure from the previous Iron and Wine releases, it took me a few listens to ... more
  7. 7

    Bad As Me

    Tom Waits More
    #51 on the original list
    Like his 1999 Mule Variations (and unlike everything else he has released since then) Bad As ... more
  8. 8
    My Morning Jacket More
    #34 on the original list
    Another strong MMJ record.
  9. 9

    Wild Flag

    Sounded a bit wishy-washy on the first few listens, but has really grown on me since then.
  10. 10
    Radiohead More
    #6 on the original list
  11. 11
    Battles More
    Each of their records is a "levelup" - easily the best experimental/(mostly) ...
  12. 12

    Here We Rest

    Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit More
    Blows away the Drive-By Truckers 2011 album, which was one of their weakest efforts.
  13. 13
    Noel Gallagher More
    #41 on the original list
    More consistent than any Oasis record since Morning Glory
  14. 14
    Fleet Foxes More
    #18 on the original list
    Sounded even better live.
  15. 15

    Give Till It's Gone

    Ben Harper More
    I kinda forgot about this record, but it's up there with Ben's better work - first two songs ... more
  16. 16

    Dynamite Steps

    The Twilight Singers More
    Not their best work, but almost everything Dulli does is at such a high level of quality . . . more
  17. 17

    Dark Hope

    Renée Fleming More
    Opera singer doing rock songs - and mostly non-obvious ones. Quite cool and unique - seek this ... more
  18. 18
    Low More
    Year after year, Low's songwriting skills slowly creep upward.
  19. 19
    Norah Jones, Danger Mouse, Jack White More
    #29 on the original list
  20. 20
    Fucked Up More
    #57 on the original list
    Need to listen to this more (just don't find myself in the mood for 70 minutes of loud ...
  21. 21

    Diotima

    Krallice More
  22. 22

    Gentle Spirit

    Jonathan Wilson More
    Added late as I didn't hear this until 2012 . . . might climb even higher on the list
  23. 23

    Mockingbird Time

    Jayhawks More
    Best thing they've done since . . . well since Olson left the band in '97 or so.
  24. 24
    Red Hot Chili Peppers More
    #15 on the original list
    John Frusciante is definitely missed, and I don't hear any outright classics on this, but ... more
  25. 25
    Behemoth More

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