Best Albums of 2011...Well, Kind Of
27 December 2011
Are we witnessing the death of the LP?
For years now I've been a fan of the format and have religiously compiled year-end 'best album lists'. Even until the summer of 2011, I argued in favour of the LP format as I've always preferred to listen to a tight and purposeful arrangement of songs.
Something changed this year...
The explosion of microscenes, the persistent release of independent self-produced singles, the growing popularity of sharing music on the 'cloud' and even my own expanding musical palate made it difficult, no impossible for me to pay attention to albums the way I did even last year! Listening to one artist and one style of music for 40 minutes or more at a stretch often felt like asking too much. While it might be far-fetched to say that the LP is dead, I dare say it is starting to seem a little redundant.
So, inspite of the fact that we all know year-end lists are subjective, that arguments based on them are quite pointless and also that I could get away with a half-heartedly compiled list, I decided instead to scrap the 'best albums list for 2011. (That's your cue to gasp. You just witnessed a paradigm shift!)
Instead, here is my personal list of 'essential songs of 201189775'. These have been the most-played songs in the perpetual music machine inside my head.
20. “Second Song” - TV On The Radio
Nine Types of Light was a very underrated album. Maybe we've come to expect too much from TVOTR, Radiohead-syndrome?
19. “No Room to Live” - Times New Viking
Coolest video of the year!
18. “Switty Tera Pyar” - Delhi Belly
Catchier than “Kolaveri Di”!
17. “Lazy Bones” - Wooden Shjips
The rock bands won't go down without a fight! Digital music hasn't won yet...
16. “Swerve The Reeping Of All That Is Worthwhile (Noir Not Withstanding)” - ShabazzPalaces
A rap record like no other! Side-effect: The phrase “So sick” will unsuspectingly enter your personal lexicon.
15. “Middle of the Bed” - Lucy Rose
I was going to place “Rolling in the Deep” at this spot, which is unquestionably the pop anthem of 2011 but while Adele ruled the charts, Lucy Rose's simple, genuine songwriting won me over. She seems so real, she has this almost Zooey-Deschanel-like quality..
14. “Baba Yaga” - Amen Dunes
Obscure = Better? Maybe.
13. “Posers” - Andy Stott
Techno? Dub? IDM? No, shut-up-and-dance...
12. “Memories” - Pangaea
Filthy dubstep has made it to the Grammies and taken over the world, while the others like Pangaea take the genre forward with their “minimal” contribution. Stand up and listen.
11. “Toxic” - Cosmic Tone
I haven't danced to anything all year as much as I've danced to Cosmic Tone. At home, at parties, on the train. Good times.
10. “Street Halo” - Burial
Burial is one of my favourite producers. Untrue is the greatest dubstep album ever and Street Halo lived up to the excitement.
9. “I'm New Here” - Jamie xx and Gil-Scott Heron
R.I.P Gil-Scott Heron. Long live Jamie xx
8. “Soldier” - Himalaya
I don't know who they are, where they're from or what other music they've made, but this track is mind-blowing!
7. “House of Balloons / Glass Table Girls” - The Weeknd
Catchiest song of the year, just doesn't leave your head and so groovy.
6. “Michicant” - Bon Iver
My favourite track off his brilliant album.
5. “Colomb” - Nicolas Jaar
One of my favourite albums of 2011 is Space Is Only Noise by Nicolas Jaar. So fresh. Minimal perfection.
4. “Shake Me Down” - Cage the Elephant
3. “My Country” -tUnE-yArDs
WHOKILL would be my other favourite album of the year. Lyrically and musically power-packed. It's quite the opposite of Nicolas Jaar. Simply can't get enough of this album.
2. “Glass Jar” - Gang Gang Dance
This song is a trip. A perfect one...
1. “Limit to Your Love” - James Blake
Minimal was the way to go in 2011. Nobody did it better than James Blake. The sound of 2011.
Words: Indivar Jonnalagadda