Best Albums of 2011 Albums
5,417 views by  Ranker
 > Weekly New Music Releases
more info

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.
The List
rerank list
  1. 1

    El Camino The Black Keys Their best - even better than the excellent "Brothers"

  2. 2

    #1 on the original list Adele Honestly, at different times any of these top 5 records could be my #1 - and it was nice to ...

  3. 3

    Mine Is Yours Cold War Kids My go-to 2011 record when I just need an energy boost (sadly, there don't seem to be as many ...

  4. 4

    #12 on the original list PJ Harvey PJ Harvey's albums tend to each have a unique feel, and while I've always liked her work, the ...

  5. 5

    #23 on the original list Wilco A fine return to "Ghost Is Born" form. I can't say I've yet listened to this enough ...

  6. 6

    Iron & Wine A bit of a departure from the previous Iron and Wine releases, it took me a few listens to ...

  7. 7

    #63 on the original list Bad As Me Tom Waits Like his 1999 Mule Variations (and unlike everything else he has released since then) Bad As ...

  8. 8

    #35 on the original list My Morning Jacket 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
  11. 11

    Battles Each of their records is a "levelup" - easily the best experimental/(mostly) ...

  12. 12

    Here We Rest Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit Blows away the Drive-By Truckers 2011 album, which was one of their weakest efforts.

  13. 13

    #43 on the original list Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds More consistent than any Oasis record since Morning Glory

  14. 14

    #11 on the original list Fleet Foxes Sounded even better live.

  15. 15

    Give Till It's Gone Ben Harper I kinda forgot about this record, but it's up there with Ben's better work - first two songs ...

  16. 16

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

  17. 17

    Dark Hope Renée Fleming Opera singer doing rock songs - and mostly non-obvious ones. Quite cool and unique - seek this ...

  18. 18

    Low Year after year, Low's songwriting skills slowly creep upward.

  19. 19

    #42 on the original list Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi

  20. 20

    #73 on the original list Fucked Up Need to listen to this more (just don't find myself in the mood for 70 minutes of loud ...

  21. 21

    Diotima Krallice

  22. 22

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

  23. 23

    Mockingbird Time Jayhawks Best thing they've done since . . . well since Olson left the band in '97 or so.

  24. 24

    #16 on the original list Red Hot Chili Peppers John Frusciante is definitely missed, and I don't hear any outright classics on this, but ...

  25. 25


  26. 26

    #45 on the original list Panda Bear It grew on me (and as an aside, I actually preferred the solo Panda Bear set I saw at the ...

  27. 27
  28. 28
  29. 29

    TKOL RMX Radiohead 2CDs of "Limbs" remixes by many electronica-folk, about half of which I hadn't even ...

  30. 30

    Elsie The Horrible Crowes A side project by the Gaslight Anthem guy. If you haven't heard Gaslight Anthem yet, you are ...

  31. 31

    Constant Future Parts & Labor

  32. 32

    #5 on the original list Bon Iver Definitely overrated - the amount of attention lavished on Bon Iver this year is yet another ...

  33. 33

    #37 on the original list Yuck I'm not quite as into this as others seem to be (wish the songs were more consistent), but ...

  34. 34

    #34 on the original list R.E.M. This, their swan song, is maddeningly inconsistent and not quite as good as their previous ...

  35. 35

    The Secret Vieux Farka Toure

  36. 36

    Marble Son Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter I know almost nothing about this woman, and she appears to have put out a bunch of earlier ...

  37. 37

    #17 on the original list Beastie Boys Far superior to their last album (that rancid turd "For the 5 Boroughs" they put out ...

  38. 38

    TV on the Radio Unquestionably their weakest work, and lacking in standout tracks. But in a relatively ...

  39. 39

    Blessed Lucinda Williams More consistent than some of her post-Car Wheels output, though never great.

  40. 40

    #24 on the original list Paul Simon Some of it blows, but there are about 5 surprisingly great songs (#s 1, 2, 3, 6, 10)

  41. 41

    #48 on the original list Jane's Addiction Much of this record is mediocre (Navarro truly shot his riff-wad by '90 or so), but Perry ...


think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists