We count down our top 10 albums of 2011 in two instalments, today it’s numbers 10 – 6. Words by Buster Stonham and Anna Feintuck.
With 2012 now well established and the end of the world apparently just around the corner, the only sensible thing to do, it seems, is to look back fondly on the year just past. 2011 may go down as a defining year in music, with many writers commenting on the decline of rock bands and the rise of solo electronic artists. One positive outcome of this trend is the eclectic range of quality music released in 2011. So to celebrate, over the next two days Music Factory Number One will be counting down the top 10 albums of the year. Here are albums 10-6:
10. Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will
If there were an award for best album title of the year then Mogwai’s seventh studio album would surely win. The Scottish post-rockers’ formula for atmospheric, feedback-driven, big tunes is a tried and tested one, but their latest offering is perhaps their most accessible to date. A rocking soundtrack to get yourself lost in seems the perfect way to kick off our countdown. BS
9. Tyler The Creator – Goblin
Perhaps the most controversial album of the year, thanks to Goblin, Tyler the Creator has managed to simultaneously become the poster boy for reactionary hip-hop hating parents and genuine rap fans who see him as the saviour of their beloved genre. Often dismissed as talentless hack merely spouting obscenities to gain notoriety, but when approached with an open mind and sympathetic ear, Tyler’s lyrics reveal a tortured and surprisingly vulnerable soul, struggling to cope with the absence of his father and unsure of how to interact with women. A refreshingly personal approach to rap…and oh yeah, some cracking beats! BS
8. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
The fact that Radiohead seem to be single-handedly trying to transform the music industry surrounds any new release with a unique sense of importance and excitement. Eight tracks of understated, minimalist tunes may not seem like much return from four years of work by the world’s biggest band, but what TKOL lacks in immediate impact is more than made up for by the beauty and simplicity of its melodies. Thom Yorke’s increasingly cryptic lyrics and significant dubstep influences once again prove the band’s unending commitment to innovation, and their surprise appearance at Glastonbury was the highlight of the summer. BS
7. Metronomy – English Riviera
It’s been quite the year for Metronomy. The Mercury Prize nomination they received for this album is a small part of the adulation it has inspired, from dark discotheques to festival main stages. It’s not hard to work out why; their beats are tight, their lyrics are smart, and they look so damn good. That’s not to mention the chic videos, the rapidly-becoming-iconic lady drummer, and the gorgeous vocal harmonies. AF
6. Little Dragon – Ritual Union
The most charismatic frontwoman since Karen O, butter-soft beats and sleekly poetic lyrics combine to make this album nothing short of stunning. Listen to it when you get up in the morning, before you go out at night, when you’re falling asleep (honestly – it’s surprisingly soothing), and any times in between that you get the chance. AF
Click here to view the top 5.