Making a Top 10 list is hard. Not busting-up-concrete kind of hard, but in an instant-remorse kind of hard. It never fails —the minute it’s unchangeable and I’m locked in, I inevitably remember something that I wish I’d put on the list or a great new album comes out after my deadline (for me, that was Anthony Hamilton’s “Back To Love”). Then other top 10 lists make me realize how many albums I was unable to give a full and fair listen to in their totality, even when I liked the individual tracks I heard. Among the albums in that category this year are Wild Flag’s self-titled set, Cut Copy’s “Zonoscope,” The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” and tUnE-yArDs’ “whokill.”
In addition to serving as reminders, best-of lists also provide the opportunity for music discovery. I get great pleasure out of looking at other people’s lists and learning about albums that I didn’t have time to get to at all. Among the albums that I spent no time with this year that are showing up with some regularity on other lists and I have now earmarked for future listening include Fucked Up’s “David Comes To Life,” Shabazz Palace’s “Black Up,” and Toro y Moi’s “Underneath The Pine” (despite the album cover that creeps me out).
So with all that said, bear in mind that these are my favorite albums that I listened to in 2011. I make absolutely no claim that they are the best albums of 2011, and I know for sure that my selection at No. 10 made no other lists. Plus it sounds totally different from everything else that comes after it in my Top 10. These were the albums that I found myself returning to over and over again whether I needed a pick-me-up, a good workout on the treadmill or just a musical companion during my journey.
My colleague Katie Hasty has already posted her video of her top 10 singles (and 40 more that she liked) and it's chock-full of great stuff. I’ll post a text list of my top 10 singles over the next few days.
So watch the video, tell me what I got wrong while admiring HitFix's own Alex Dorn’s great editing work. Then tell me what you liked this year that I missed.
If you don't want to watch the video, here's the list.
10) Pitbull, Planet Pit
9) Little Dragon, Ritual Union
8) Raphael Saadiq, Stone Rollin’
7) The Low Anthem, Smart Flesh
6)The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow
5) Dawes, Nothing Is Wrong
4) Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What
3) Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
2) Adele, 21
1) Glen Campbell, Ghost on the Canvas