Joe’s TOP 40 Albums Of 2011



Ah the obligatory end of the year “best of lists”. Thousands of websites and twitter feeds vying for your attention and forcing their ideas of what the absolute best things were each year and in what order they mattered. It can all be a little overwhelming. That’s why I’m here to saturate the atmosphere even more! I’ve seriously been thinking about this list pretty much every day since January and I haven’t missed a Tuesday at the iTunes store previewing or downloading the latest offerings for your potential listening pleasure. Why? I really have no idea. The year off drinking has left some strange voids that simply must be filled without question. (More on that here if you haven’t been following my time in Sober City)

Now 2011 has truly been an epic year for music (despite what your radio stations may tell you) and I’m here to help guide you to all that is awesome. It hasn’t been easy narrowing things down or putting things in order, and as much as I wanted to pick a “best album of the year”, it didn’t seem right given the relative diversity of the list (my money is on Gaga for the Grammy though), so instead I merged two lists into one making a simple and abundant list of 40 excellent albums. The first 25 on the list (in alphabetical order) are my most liked favorites of the year, the albums that spent the most time in regular rotation on my iPod and continue to take up prime real estate in my ears. The next 15 (also in alphabetical order) are favorites as well but ever so slightly less. They were just too good to completely ignore.

I also included ten honorary shout outs, as well as a small list of albums that felt like they were released this year (See: The Naked And Famous) but were actually officially released in 2010. Also there’s a bunch of great albums that will surely be on every other “best of” list out there that I didn’t include on mine (Fleet Foxes, PJ Harvey, The Decemberists, etc..) because I made sure to pick albums that I actually keep listening to on a regular basis and not just include albums that I think should be included for hipster cred. And finally, to pre-empt any backlash over ADELE only getting an honorable mention, I do agree that “21” is a near perfect album and it deserves all the Grammys it’ll inevitably win but I am in fact not a 20 something year old girl dealing with a recent breakup so I can’t honestly say I loved it as much as a lot of you did. Just keeping it real kids!

So with the obligatory preamble out of the way I finally give you “Joe’s Top 40 Albums of 2011”. Do with it what you will! I will gladly defend any and all picks against your scrutiny. Enjoy!

In the spirit of making decisions and picking winners, I’ve highlighted my top 5 albums of the year. Still in alphabetical order but at least I narrowed it down to a top 5. And I don’t want to hear any flack over Lady Gaga. The album is great, deal with it. Happy 2012!!

JOE’S TOP 40 ALBUMS OF 2011 (in alphabetical order)
The Antlers – Blown Apart
Black Keys – El Camino
Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Cage The Elephant – Thank You, Happy Birthday
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Fiest – Metals
Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
Foster The People – Torches
Friendly Fires – Pala
The Head And The Heart – The Head and The Heart
Hey Rosetta! – Seeds
Jay Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne
The Joy Formidable – Big Roar
The Kills – Blood Pressures
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
My Morning Jacket – Circuitical
MuteMath – Odd Soul
Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
Tune-Yards – whokill
Wye Oak – Civilian
Boy & Bear – Moonfire
City And Color – Little Hell
Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune
Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Givers – In Light
Gotye – Making Mirrors
Imaginary Cities – Temporary Resident
Jane’s Addiction – The Great Escape Artist
Middle Brother – Middle Brother
Pepper Rabbit – Red Velvet Snow Ball
The Pretty Reckless – Light Me Up
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
Sleeper Agent – Celabrasion
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra


Seriously you guys. Good year for music! And that’s just one random asshole’s opinion on the internet! You’ve got some downloaded to do, but first…there’s more!

10 Honorable Mentions:

ADELE – 21
Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – It’s a Corporate World
Death Cab For Cutie – Codes And Keys
Lonely Island – Turtlenecks and Chains
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Portugal. The Man – In The Mountain In The Clouds
The Roots – Undun
The Strokes – Angles

And for all of you not bound by stupid laws of the universe like time, here’s one more list for you:

Ten From ’10: Joe’s Late Bloomers

Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
Frightened Rabbit – The Winter Of Mixed Drinks
J Roddy Waltson and The Business – J Roddy Waltson and The Business
JEFF The Brotherhood – Heavy Days
Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
The Naked And Famous – Passive Me Aggressive You
Sleigh Bells – Treats
The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt
Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
Young The Giant – Young The Giant


OK that’s way more than enough good music to keep you warm through those cold winter nights. Please do your best to legally purchase as much of the music as possible and of course feel free to add any albums you think I missed in the comment section below. Hopefully 2012 will bring us plenty more great albums to love just in time to burn in the apocalyptic hell fire promised by The Mayans. Happy Holidays!



One thought on “Joe’s TOP 40 Albums Of 2011”

  1. Great list, Joe! You’ve given me a handful of artists to check out, and I’m particularly happy to see Young The Giant made the cut. And Bombay Bicycle Club. And Dan Mangan (pssst…typo on Managan?). If I could add one to Ten From ’10, it’d probably be Alkaline Trio – This Addiction. As for 2011…off the top of my head…Noah and the Whale – Last Night On Earth. May the music be with you!

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