The early bird specials for AOTY 2011

by chaotarroo

I am doing this early to avoid my judgment being clouded by lists from the others, be it music vloggers or prolific music review sites. Having witness the pattern of albums release year after year, I am certain that Black Key’s El Camino will be the last of 2011’s gold nuggets. From experience, nobody releases anything good in later December. Expect nothing but reissues, itunes live sessions and poorly compiled EPs just to pay the land lady the rent that has been due for 9months. With that rambled, even deciding my list nearly a full month before new year, I am confident no changes will be made in the days to come. It’s an attempt more calculated than careless, rest assured.

When it comes to music reviews, I am normally terse with my words for I find it hard to translate what my ears feels into spoken words without coming up with rhetorical essays filled with expressions that mean so different from one person to another. How do people even relate to the words “dynamic”, “impressionistic”, “mellow”, “intimate” and “virtuosic” when reading a Bon Iver album review. How much does it say? Or does it say anything at all? Or perhaps there’s an objective meaning to all those jargon and by carefully reading it, the melody of the album will naturally transpire into your auditory nerves but it’s just so I am too thick to get it. Must be. It baffles me on why and how are the pockets of music journalist bloated.

Knowing that I will be saying practically nothing while listing my list. Before I begin with it, allow me to briefly share some of my thoughts on 2011 releases in a nutshell. The first quarter of the year caught me by pleasant surprise. Good albums were regularly churned out in pairs or more every week and there were at least three brilliant ones within that quarter. The first quarter of the year could literally be crowned as the golden age of Electronica. The next quarter was … agreeable. Between April and May, the mediocre albums were innumerable but there was at most a single brilliant album. That accolade belongs to Smoother by Wild Beasts. Eventually, the quarter ended strong thanks to the contributions of Bon Iver, Cults and Fucked up in June. The remaining half of the year was disastrous. Arguably the worse music drought that I had ever suffered from. Even stooping my standards, albums that I would consider decent were exponentially decreased and the catastrophe persisted till date. Indie “superband” Mister Heavenly first LP was an expected disappointment, Laura Marling’s was an unexpected one and the only two saving graces during this lull period happened in October thanks to Bradford Cox and Youth Lagoon. In the nutshell of a nutshell, 2011 as compared to it’s past 5 precedents is weak as crap. Nevertheless, here’s the list that no one cares for, my top 20albums of 2011. All texts and no pictures, I am lazy.

Tied at 1st: James Blake – James Blake, Bon Iver – Bon Iver
3rd: Devotchka – 100 Lovers
4th: Youth Lagoon – Year of Hibernation
5th: Destroyer – Kaputt
6th: Wild Beasts – Smoother
7th: Atlas Sound – Parallax
8th: Man Man – Life Fantastic
Tied at 9th: Bibio – Mind Bokeh, Metronomy – The English Riveria

11th to 20th in no particular order

Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine
Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys!
Peaking Lights – 936
The Weekend – House of Balloons
tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
Cults – Cults
Beirut – The Rip Tide
St Vincent – Strange Actor
The Black Keys – El Camino
Braids – Native Speakers

A shitload of honorable mentions.

White Lies – Ritual
Fujiya and Miyagi – Ventriloquzzing
Eleven Tigers – Clouds are Mountains
Cold War Kids – Mine is Yours
Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
Cut Copy – Zenoscope
Asobi Seksu – Fluroescence
Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Lines
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Alex Turner – Submarine OST
The Kills – Blood Pressure
Jamie Woon – Mirror Writing
Okkervil River – I am Very Far
Danger Mouse/ Daniele Luppi – Rome
The Antlers – Burst Apart
Friendly Fire – Pala
WU LYF – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
Washed Out – Within and Without
Mister Heavenly – Out of Love
War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
Neon Indian – Extra Extrana
Real Estate – Days
The Black Keys – El Camino

Disappointing albums

Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
Sigur Rios – Inni
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Tennis – Cape Dory

I love my list and I hope it isn’t cliche. Bye.