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Top 10 Albums of 2011

Time for my yearly contribution to LWJ, with my annual top 10 favorite albums of the past year, which is about as unnecessary and unwelcome as the time I applied for an eharmony account.

Honorable Mention:
Sloan - The Double Cross
Sloan returns with their 10th album on their 20th anniversary.  And this one plays pretty much like a Sloan greatest hits record, even though it's all new material if that makes any sense.  I think I'm ready to declare Sloan as the greatest Canadian band of all time; just barely edging out the Guess Who, Rush and the Anne Murray Experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JoeYMF3Frg

10.  The Bangles - Sweetheart Of The Sun
The Bangles return with their first new album in 8 years, and this just might be their 2nd best record ever, after their 1984 debut All Over The Place, one of the great underrated albums of all time.  Fans of their early stuff will love this.  Seems like it was only yesterday I was timidly asking girls to dance to "Eternal Flame" at junior high dances.  Wait, that came out wrong.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwrmU4nZIhE

9.  Cults - Cults
Cults is a newer boy/girl combo that specializes in 60's-style girl group ditties.  That alone would be cool, but they also have a knack for underlying creepiness.  Their videos are bizarre; one involved actual footage of Jim Jones' followers edited to make it look like they're singing along with the Cults' music.  And because that's in my head, most of their songs now sound like they could be sing-along anthems for cults.  I like when music can do that crap to my brain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAM9diyVRiM&ob=av2n

8. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
Another boy/girl combo, the Civil Wars is all about laid back acoustic harmonies, with a little swagger thrown in.  A great album for a quiet romantic evening at home, preferably with another human being.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrOUwbsy12E

7.  Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
The Beasties finally return with their best album since 1998’s Hello Nasty.  Of course, since then they’ve only released two other albums and one was all instrumental, but it still counts.  And check out the video for “Make Some Noise”, as they take the “celebrity cameo in a video” concept and completely drive it into the ground.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdgLMslbDuY&ob=av2e

6.  Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane
Alison Krauss returns to her Union Station boys after hanging out with Robert Plant the past few years.  And it’s a great return to form.  There’s a reason why people say Krauss’s voice is very angelic; it’s because she sings like a friggin’ angel. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTOB-JW9sM4

5.  The Cars - Move Like This
The 80’s nostalgia trip continues with the Cars’ first new album in like 25 years.  And the coolest thing ever?  It sounds EXACTLY like a Cars album from the 80’s.  And there’s not too many things better than that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxqxNzlEFM4

4.  Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See
I finally made it to my “British bands are better” section.  That train’s never late!  This is the 4th album from the Arctic Monkeys, and it might be their best ever, combining catchy indie rock with a little harder edge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr5U1A94IRM

3.  The Strokes - Angles
I always thought these guys were British, but they’re not.  Fans of witty observations like that should read my blog “Stuff I thought was one thing but turned out to be something else.”  Remember like 10 years ago when the Strokes, White Stripes, Hives, etc. were all ushering in a new era of cool, punky garage rock?  What happened,
America?  Stupid Nickleback.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l09H-3zzgA

2.  Wilco - The Whole Love
I’m so grateful to live in a place and time where Wilco is a band and they record music.  You should all be too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuSri-q1zac

1.  Adele - 21
The British girl with a big voice and a perpetual broken heart returns with her 2
nd album and this is a rare case where I’m down with both popular and critical praise.  This thing sold a gazillion copies of both the album and the “Rolling In The Deep” and “Someone Like You” singles, and it should clean up at next year’s Grammy Awards.  And it deserves every award won and every dollar made.  Adele sings her heart out over some of the most heart-breaking music I’ve ever heard.  I wasn’t totally on board after her first album a few years ago, but she’s made me a believer by channeling her inner Dusty Springfield on a lot of these tunes.  May she never find happiness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2NFIDnUBi8







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