Best Albums of 2011 – A Retrospective, Vol. I


This post is a bit different from my regular ones. As some of you may know (I’m going to call you lot the good readers), I’ve been listening to Paste Magazine’s 50 Best Albums of 2011.

The going has been rough. I’ve heard things -unhearable things. Things I shouldn’t mention lest they infect your earholes with their…IDEAS.

But you’ll hear about some of them tonight. Tonight’s post features music from the bottom 11 albums (50-40). I haven’t listened to all of them yet. Cut me some slack. I’ve already told you that you need to listen to something twice before you know if you like it. I’ve taken that advice. Which means I’ve listened to these albums at least two times. The amount of time I’ve already invested is insane, and I have 39 more albums to go.

Sing, O Muse, of my perseverance and open-mindedness. Because some of these albums really try me. And some of them make me smile.

I’ve decided to rank the albums on a scale of 1-5. The scale goes like this:

1 – NO. Just NO.

2 – It doesn’t offend me…much.

3 – I tolerate it.

4 – I want to see this band live. They’re great.

5 – I will stalk this band until they love me or file a restraining order.

WARNING: These ratings are based on my musical knowledge and preferences. Don’t expect an exhaustive look at the album’s good and bad points. You won’t get it. That being said, I do tend to simplify things. I’m not going to toss out random references to other bands you’ve never heard of to sound well rounded and a shade pretentious.

That ain’t my style…mostly.

50. “England Keep My Bones” by Frank Turner

Frank Turner -

Rating: 4/5

Best Songs: “Eulogy”, “English Curse”, “Wessex Boy”

Summary: English folk rock at its finest. Highly recommended.

49. “Mountaintops” by Mates of State

Mates of State -

Rating: 3.5/5

Best Songs: “Palomino”, “Desire”, “Mistakes”

Summary: I’m a sucker for male and female vocalists sharing the song. This band is an interesting blend of easy-listening and folk rock. Worth listening to.

48. “Take Care” by Drake

Drake -

Rating: 2.5/5

Best Songs: “Make Me Proud”, “Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude”

Summary: If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m very set in my musical ways. I don’t do hip hop or rap. That being said, I saw some things to like about the album. If I knew more about the genre, I could probably give a better review. I think the album has enough musical and lyrical surprises for you to give it a listen.

47. “Days” by Real Estate

Real Estate -

Rating: 1/5

Best Song: “Out of Tune”

Summary: Generic. Not worth it.

46. “Holy Ghost!” by Holy Ghost!

Holy Ghost! -

Rating: 4/5

Best Songs: “Do It Again”, “Hold My Breath”, “Jam for Jerry”, “Hold On”, “Slow Motion”, “Some Children”

Summary: These guys are great. They’ve remixed songs for LCD Soundsystem, MGMT and Phoenix. They know their stuff. HIGHLY recommend.

45. “Screws Get Loose” by Those Darlins

Those Darlins -

Rating: 3/5

Best Song: “Be Your Bro”

Summary: Very much in the tradition of The Runaways, Those Darlins are girl rock. I couldn’t listen to them every day, but once in awhile will be nice.

44. “Smoke Ring For My Halo” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile -

Rating: 2.5/5

Best Song: “Peeping Tomboy”

Summary: This album was not very accessible. Very old school country rock. That being said, I come off loving that song. I don’t know where that leaves me…

43. “The Big Roar” by The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable -

Rating: 5/5

Best Songs: “The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie”, “I Don’t Want To See You Like This”, “A Heavy Abacus”

Summary: Yes. This album is a whole lot of yes.

42. “Wild Flag” by Wild Flag

Wild Flag -

Rating: 2/5

Best Songs: “Black Tiles”, “Future Crimes”

Summary: Girl power rock. Cool concept. Not so crazy about the execution. Listen to a couple of songs to see what I’m talking about.

41. “James Blake” by James Blake

James Blake -

Rating: 4/5

Best Songs: “Lindisfarne I”, “Give Me My Month”, “To Care (Like You)”

Summary: This album is deceptive. The first time I listened to it, I hated it. I listened to it again, and I started loving it. It’s weird British dubstep/bluesy/folksy, making it wonderfully eclectic.

40. “In The Mountain, In The Cloud” by Portugal. The Man

Portugal. The Man -

Rating: 3/5

Best Songs: “Head Is A Flame [Cool With It]”, “So American”

Summary: Pretty traditional indie rock. And, don’t get me wrong, I like falsetto used sparingly, but it’s in pretty much every song. It gets a little tiring.

And that’s the first 11 albums. Needless to say, there will be 39 more. Patience, kids. We’ll get there.

Oh and, before I forget, be sure to submit to the best band name contest. Closed for entries next Wednesday, so get them in!

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Weekly Setlist – Jan. 19 « Allyson's Setlist

  2. Pingback: Best Albums of 2011 – A Retrospective, Vol. II « Allyson's Setlist

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