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Old 12-19-2011, 02:50 PM  
Reaper16 Reaper16 is offline
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Reaper's Favorite Albums of 2011

Here it is, y'all. The highly-anticipated annual list of my favorite albums of the year. 2011 was an interesting year in music. There wasn't a single album that I personally rated 9/10. No great albums. But there were a ton of albums that I rated 8.5/10 to 7.5/10. Lots and lots and lots of really good albums. I struggled with the ordering of these albums; it seemed arbitrary at times. So that's why in lieu of doing honorable mentions this year I'm just going to do an ordered top 50. That's right, these are my favorite 50 albums of the year.

As always, this isn't meaning to be an objective list of best albums of the year. While I listen to over 300 new albums each year, I still don't listen to enough to feel comfortable making objective claims about quality. Do you think I snubbed some really great dubstep album? Did I miss out on a perfect bluegrass album? It's very likely that I did, but this is a list of my personal favorites. That's why you're going to see lots of metal albums on the list. It's also why you're going to see as many, if not more, hip-hop albums on this list. 2011 was a stupendous year for rap music.

Anyway, I'm going to be rolling these out over the next couple of days or so as I write up little paragraphs for each album in-between working on other stuff.

50.) Tune-Yards - w h o k i l l
49.) White Willow - Terminal Twilight
48.) Blut Aus Nord - 777 Sects
47.) Blut Aus Nord - 777 The Desanctification
46.) La Dispute - Wildlife
45.) Childish Gambino - Camp
44.) Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
43.) Boris - New Album
42.) Antediluvian - Through the Cervix of Hawaah
41.) Fen - Epoch
40.) Kendrick Lamar - Section.80
39.) M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
38.) Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials
37.) Wild Flag - Wild Flag
36.) Opeth - Heritage
35.) The Roots - Undun
34.) Vektor - Outer Isolation
33.) Rudra - Brahmavidya: Immortal I
32.) Tech N9ne - All 6s & 7s
31.) Lady GaGa - Born This Way
30.) Death Grips - ExMilitary
29.) Leprous - Bilateral
28.) Mr. Mother****in eXquire - Lost in Translation
27.) ASAP Rocky - LiveLoveA$ap
26.) Hades Archer - For the Diabolical Ages
25.) Cities Aviv - Digital Lows
24.) Big KRIT - Return of 4Eva
23.) Absu - Abzu
22.) Disma - Towards the Megalith
21.) Cunninglynguists - Oneirology
20.) Bon Iver - Bon Iver
19.) Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
18.) Das Racist - Relax
17.) Steven Wilson - Grace for Drowning
16.) Necros Christos - Doom of the Occult
15.) Ulcerate - The Destroyers of All
14.) Cormorant - Dwellings
13.) Symphony X - Iconoclast
12.) Danny Brown - XXX
11.) St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
10.) Hell - Human Remains
09.) Wolverine - Communication Lost
08.) G-Side - Island
07.) Dessa - Castor, the Twin
06.) TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
05.) Unexpect - Fables of the Sleepless Empire
04.) Sims - Bad Time Zoo
03.) Doomtree - No Kings
02.) G-Side - The One... Cohesive
01.) Astronautalis - This Is Our Science

Thanks for reading and listening. Please put up your own lists in this thread if you'd like, or talk about other year-end lists, etc. Just like you guys have done for the past few years that I've done this.

Per QuikSsurfer's request, here are links to previous year's list threads: http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=238651 (2010); http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=219784 (2009) (I would change the order of the top 15 around if I were to re-do this one); http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=202037 (2008).

Last edited by Reaper16; 12-20-2011 at 11:00 AM..
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:33 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by NewChief View Post
Curious about your methodology:

Do you take notes throughout the year on the albums to go back and look at? I think that if I did a list like this, I would have a bad tendency to really weigh albums that I'm buzzing on toward the end of the year (like the Oscars), and I'd forget a bunch of the albums I liked from earlier in the year.

The TVOTR album, for instance, was awesome. It would be high on my list for sure. That being said, I haven't listened to it in probably 5 months. On the other hand, right now I can't get enough of WU LYF, but that's because I've been listening to them nonstop for the last 48 hours. Who knows if they'd make my list in six months... but right now.. they'd be toward the top.
I think I actually overcorrect that tendency; I tend to give major weight to albums that come out early in the year and still get listened to. Bad Time Zoo and The One... Cohesive enjoy that extra weight.

I keep a running list of favorites that I update every three months. It helps me keep track of how much albums are rising or falling in estimation over time.

I spend a lot of time and energy into the ordering. I put a lot of unnecessary stress on myself making sure that I'm giving a fair shake to recent albums and early-year albums.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:41 PM   #77
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46.) La Dispute - Wildlife
La Dispute are a post-hardcore band who are sort of reclaiming the original intent of the emo movement. I’m talking about way back when emo was first applied to a subgenre of hardcore punk. Las Dispute’s songs scoff at conventional song structure; there are basically no choruses on the album at all. Instead, each song is a carefully paced narrative, with the importance placed on the lyrics and vocal performance. I don’t know the name of La Dispute’s vocalist, but he has one of the most sincere and affecting voices I’ve heard out of this scene. His lyrics are always drenched with emotion, sure, but it is specifically his delivery that moves his audience. And you will be moved. Just listen to the song I’ve linked to, album standout “King Park,” which tells the story of innocent lives taken by stray bullets. When, during the song’s crushing climax, the vocalist gives a repeated cry of “Will I still get into Heaven if I kill myself?” you will feel desperation and fear right alongside the character. This album is one of the most genuinely moving emotional experiences I’ve had listening to music this year.

Wow, just wow. I've NEVER heard vocals like that before. I dislike most Post-Hardcore because typically the vocalist is just screaming his head off being a retard. I know because I've had the unfortunate circumstances of playing aside a lot of these bands in the Kansas City area when it was all the rage a few years back.

This kid reminds me a lot of Zack De la Rocka. He has a terrifying, yet mesmerizing voice... and an extremely odd way about going at vocals.

Instead of finding words that rhyme, or setting up certain structures... he just reads it as it is on paper and lets his emotion of tone do the talking. As a vocalist myself, I find this method easy and hard to do at the same time.

Lyric/harmonies/chorus structures are all a part of the writing process, and a lot of times make writing a lot harder than just jotting down what your thinking on a piece of paper and calling it good.
It's also easy to over-critique lyrics and change/mash them up multiple times until you feel something makes more sense/ sticks to the storyline / or removing easy to use words such as "I, we, you, them, etc". SO in turn, makes the process more difficult and time consuming.

This kid bypasses some of the most tedius things in vocal writing and just seems to sing word for word what he's reading... the thing is, he presents PASSION about his story, and as a listener... you WANT to hear how it ends. Which makes the last line of the song ****ing awesome. Because he didn't want to see how it ends.

As I listened, I thought about how awesome this vocalist could be if he went with a more traditional way of writing vocals, but at the same I loved what he did because I respect what it takes to do, and it is something that is new to me.

Although I'm still skeptical about listening to an entire album of this style.

Thanks for the link reaper.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:47 PM   #78
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9.) Wolverine – Communication Lost

This is a progressive rock album that everybody is sleeping on. Who has even heard of this album? You should probably listen to it, though. I’d say that fans of harder prog rock like Tool or Oceansize or Riverside would like this, even though Wolverine doesn’t actually have all that much in common with them. I guess they might be as much metal as they are rock. Whatever. The melodies are deliberate and frequently gorgeous. The songs have an organic pacing to them and there is a complete lack of ornate instrumentation thrown in for no reason (as is the downfall of many prog albums). My favorite part of this album are the vocal harmonies and how they are complimented and lifted by the lead guitars. I guess I’m most reminded of Green Carnation when I listen to this album, which is probably why I love it so much. Tracks like “Your Favorite War” are sweeping and emotional like the best Broadway show closing songs, without being one bit cheesy. Please listen to the linked track, “Communication Lost.” It’s one of the most uplifting, feel-good rock songs of the year to me. The album builds up the whole time to that song and its climax, and the release that you get for getting to that point is something that is only possible in the rarest of progressive albums. It’s a HUGE moment, and it totally destroys the forced hugeness of pop albums like M83’s and Florence + the Machine 2011 albums (and I really, really like those albums; they place #39 and #38 respectively in my list). This album may actually rise in esteem for me over the years.
This is where you caught my attention. I'm a prog-rock lover, so mentioning Tool, Oceansize, and Riverside clearly stood out to me. At first listen, I notice the vocalist is a bass-baritone (same as I) which has been somewhat rare to find for me now days. I liked the two songs and am currently downloading the album. The prog/art-rock scene is very small, so I'm really hoping to find a gem here.

EDIT: I ended up not liking the album. I've heard this done too many times so it brought me nothing I've not already heard a zillion times. The band while solid, did nothing incredibly technical that stood out, and the vocalist ended up being yet another typical prog-metal style with an over use of vibrato. While some prog lovers just LOVE and DROOL over that kind of vocal, I can't ****ing stand it... it always sounds so forced.

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Old 12-20-2011, 03:03 PM   #79
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love this thread

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Old 12-20-2011, 03:34 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Molitoth View Post
Wow, just wow. I've NEVER heard vocals like that before. I dislike most Post-Hardcore because typically the vocalist is just screaming his head off being a retard. I know because I've had the unfortunate circumstances of playing aside a lot of these bands in the Kansas City area when it was all the rage a few years back.

This kid reminds me a lot of Zack De la Rocka. He has a terrifying, yet mesmerizing voice... and an extremely odd way about going at vocals.

Instead of finding words that rhyme, or setting up certain structures... he just reads it as it is on paper and lets his emotion of tone do the talking. As a vocalist myself, I find this method easy and hard to do at the same time.

Lyric/harmonies/chorus structures are all a part of the writing process, and a lot of times make writing a lot harder than just jotting down what your thinking on a piece of paper and calling it good.
It's also easy to over-critique lyrics and change/mash them up multiple times until you feel something makes more sense/ sticks to the storyline / or removing easy to use words such as "I, we, you, them, etc". SO in turn, makes the process more difficult and time consuming.

This kid bypasses some of the most tedius things in vocal writing and just seems to sing word for word what he's reading... the thing is, he presents PASSION about his story, and as a listener... you WANT to hear how it ends. Which makes the last line of the song ****ing awesome. Because he didn't want to see how it ends.

As I listened, I thought about how awesome this vocalist could be if he went with a more traditional way of writing vocals, but at the same I loved what he did because I respect what it takes to do, and it is something that is new to me.

Although I'm still skeptical about listening to an entire album of this style.

Thanks for the link reaper.
I agree; his vocal performance is cheating in some respects, as it is almost inherently un-musical. But he gets away with it because of how sincere and effective his passionate delivery is. That un-musical quality is what makes Wildlife such an interesting album to listen to.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:41 PM   #81
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I agree; his vocal performance is cheating in some respects, as it is almost inherently un-musical. But he gets away with it because of how sincere and effective his passionate delivery is. That un-musical quality is what makes Wildlife such an interesting album to listen to.
Reminds me of The Hold Steady of hardcore.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:46 PM   #82
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Might not be your type of music, but I have been digging Dawes-Nothing Is Wrong. It's been my favorite album all year.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:49 PM   #83
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17.) Steven Wilson – Grace for Drowning


Steven Wilson, in the absence of a Porcupine Tree album, released one Hell of a solo album this year. It’s 2 discs (!) and Wilson considers it part of a loose conceptual album cycle with Opeth’s Heritage (#36 on my list). It does similar things as the Opeth album: it looks backwards at prog giants from the past – King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes – and wears those influences on its sleeve and also constructs the sleeve itself out of those influences and the whole shirt too is made of those influences too. It’s what you’d expect of Steven Wilson: tight songwriting (despite the length of songs), a few grand tracks, a few experiments that never achieve full lift-off. It doesn’t have the song structure issue that the Opeth album does, but it does suffer in my opinion of being too reliant upon sounds from the past. Still, this is a dynamic and enjoyable album on a number of levels. If I could like you to the 25-minute long “Raider II” I would, but instead you can settle for a 9-minute long song. Despite the flaws of these two albums, I’m excited for the third and final album in this cycle coming next year – a album that Wilson and Mikael Akerfeldt (of Opeth) are writing and performing together.



This was an album that was a very challenging initial listen, but has grown on me tremendously. As much as I have come to really like the album, the material is even much better live. For instance, I felt "Raider II" on disc was overindulgent and needed some editing, but live it was absolutely epic ... my jaw literally was agape.

You make a very good point about relying too much on sounds of the past. From the first listening, I was sitting there going, "That sounds like 'Devil's Triangle' on 'In the Wake of Poseidon,' that sounds like something from 'Red,' that sounds like 'Cirkus' on 'Lizard ...'"

Still, I really like it, more so than "Insurgentes" (which isn't bad).
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #84
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Might not be your type of music, but I have been digging Dawes-Nothing Is Wrong. It's been my favorite album all year.
Their first album was fantastic. I haven't listened to the second though.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:22 PM   #85
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:39 PM   #86
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:36 AM   #87
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:44 AM   #88
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Might not be your type of music, but I have been digging Dawes-Nothing Is Wrong. It's been my favorite album all year.
Listened to the second album last night. It's not as good as the first (imo), but it's still solid. I prefer Middle Brother's album for 2011 (Middle Brother, if you don't know, consists of the singers from Dawes, Deer Tick, and Delta Spirit).
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:18 AM   #89
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I keep trying to read Reaper's list but I never can get past #42.

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Old 12-21-2011, 10:58 AM   #90
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I keep trying to read Reaper's list but I never can get past #42.

Their previous album Enter the Vulva of Vishneka was superior, imo.
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A new website that shows member-created construction site listings that need fill or have excess fill. Dirt Monkey @ https://DirtMonkey.net
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