Unlike my favorite books of 2011, which was difficult because I haven’t read as many books this year, my favorite albums of 2011 was hard for the opposite reason – too many good albums to pick from! But that’s a nice problem to have.
Without question my favorite musical artist of the year was Katy Perry.
No, I’m kidding. I just wanted to see if I could type that with a straight face. (I couldn’t.) My daughters don’t even like Katy Perry (praise God), though my youngest is convinced that she likes Justin Bieber despite the fact that I don’t think she could name a single Justin Bieber song.
Anyway, here are the five albums that I’ve enjoyed the most over the last year. I won’t pretend to have any opinion as to whether they’re actually the “best” of 2011, whatever that means. But they are rather good.
5. St. Vincent, Strange Mercy
4. M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
3. Wild Flag, Wild Flag
2. PJ Harvey, Let England Shake
1. Bon Iver, Bon Iver
(Honorable Mentions: Megafaun, Crooked Fingers, TV on the Radio, The Antlers, Wye Oak, The Decemberists, and Feist)
And just for fun, here are some albums in a variety of random categories:
Best Study Music: The Antlers, Burst Apart
Guilty Pleasure: Adele, 21 (To be honest, I don’t feel all that guilty for enjoying her voice.)
Album I thought I’d like and didn’t: Wilco, The Whole Love (I usually enjoy their stuff, but this one just didn’t work for me.)
Album I thought I’d like and did: TV on the Radio, Nine Types of Light (Dear Science was one of my favorites a couple years back, so I was looking forward to this one. Though not quite as good, I still enjoyed it.)
Album I didn’t like at first but is growing on me: Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues (Some albums just need to percolate for a while.)
Album everyone is raving about that I don’t like: tUnE-yArDs, whokill (With a sound only a music critic could love.)
Best album I haven’t heard yet: Black Keys, El Camino (I’m not sure what I’m waiting for, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.)
Something a Little Different: Ry Cooder, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Well worth checking out if you’re looking for something off the beaten path.) JFCTX6P6NKH4