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 Their best - even better than the excellent "Brothers"

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  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 ...

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  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 ...

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  4. 4

    #13 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 ...

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  5. 5

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

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  6. 6

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

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  7. 7

    #55 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 ...

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  8. 8

    #32 on the original list My Morning Jacket Another strong MMJ record.

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  9. 9

    Wild Flag Sounded a bit wishy-washy on the first few listens, but has really grown on me since then.

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  10. 10

    #6 on the original list Radiohead

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  11. 11

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

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  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.

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  13. 13

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

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  14. 14

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

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  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 ...

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  16. 16

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

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  17. 17

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

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  18. 18

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

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  19. 19

    #29 on the original list Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi

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  20. 20

    #64 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 ...

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  21. 21

    Diotima Krallice

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  22. 22

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

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  23. 23

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

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  24. 24

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

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  25. 25


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