Top Ten Albums of 2011 (Part Two)
December 13, 2011
For my top 5, click HERE.
10: Strokes: Angles The main reason why the Strokes made my list is because they actually put out an album—it’s been five years since they released their underwhelming First Impressions of Earth. Angels definitely trumps Earth and while it comes nowhere near their opus debut Is This It, a lot of the album echoes back to those days when Julian Casablancas and the rest of the crew were concocting their most resonant tunes. "Machu Picchu,” the opening track of the latest LP, will hold you down and make you want to listen to the other nine songs.
9: Lil Wayne: Tha Carter IV Everything Lil Wayne does is entertaining: When he was locked up at Rikers, we read his blogs without any prompting. Hell, even a still photo of the rapper—covered in more ink than the Sunday edition of The New York Times—can keep a pair of eyeballs occupied for several minutes. Wayne’s double platinum follow-up to his acclaimed Tha Carter III, delivers all the stuff we love about his style: grandiosity, absurdity and cocksureness. But it’s the Cash Money mastermind’s lyrical phrasing and unapologetic brutal honesty that continues to be most infectious: “She used to always say, fuck my niggas/ And when I went to jail, she fucked my niggas.”
8: Bon Iver: Bon Iver Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore album is proof that frontman Justin Vernon isn’t a one-trick-pony. The 10-track LP is intoxicatingly engaging from its lyrics to its instrumentation to its overall subtleness. A strong sense of place bleeds throughout the album, whisking its listeners away to a snowy evening in northwest Wisconsin comforted by a cozy cabin and bottle of whiskey waiting at the end of a moonlit path.
7: Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee 2 Before the Beasties began recording their first non-instrumental album since 2004’s To The 5 Borough, Adam “MCA” Yauch announced he had cancer of the parotid gland. The Brooklyn trio was forced to cancel a handful of shows while Yauch underwent treatment but still managed to crank out Hot Sauce Committee 2, a wonderful throwback to Check Your Head. The samples are still fresh and dynamic and the lyrics still present a nice mix of humor and pop culture. MCA, AD Rock and Mike D never seem to age.
6: Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts This year, one of the most beloved and lasting rock couples called it quits: Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon split after 27 years of marriage. I don’t know whether it was the pain of the breakup that breathed inspiration into Moore’s ear or Beck’s hands-off approach to production, but the indie legend managed to churn out the best solo work of his career, from start to finish. Check out the killer orchestration on "Benediction" that accompanies Moore’s touching prose.