Dan's Top 10 Albums of 2011

Too indie to be mainstream. Too mainstream for hipsters. This tweener list kinda reminds me of my high school days -- when I was too Korean for my white friends, and too white for my Korean friends. I guess what I'm trying to say is:  EFF Lady Gaga.


10


The Strokes


Angles

The Strokes finally got back together after what -- 5, 6 years? -- and did anyone care? Well, I did. Each member of the band kept busy during the hiatus and did their own projects, solo and whatnot, and it clearly shows because they bring some of that work into this album. Though, don't get me wrong, this is very much a Strokes album -- it still has that classic New York post-punk sound, albeit with some new/old dressings on the side, in the form of 80's influences.


I've been out around this town
everybody's been singing the same song for ten years


9


The Weeknd


Echoes of Silence

I haven't listened to much R&B since the 90's, so I'm no expert on the genre. But this doesn't sound like Boyz II Men. This sounds dirty, with a druggy atmosphere. And I like that...?


and you reply
"I like the thrill
nothing's gonna make me feel this real"


8


Bon Iver


Bon Iver

(you're going to see this sentence a lot in this list) Not quite an instant-classic the previous album was. It sounds different than For Emma, but damn, this is beautiful music. And I even like the closing track, you haters!


and at once I knew I was not magnificent
high above the highway isle
jagged vacance, thick with ice
but I could see for miles, miles, miles


7


M83


Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

As a child of the 80's, I approve this album.


the night city grows
look and see her eyes, they glow


6


Say Hi


Um, Uh Oh

2 years have passed since the last album, and I still have a hard time trying to describe his music. All I can say is, I like it and I want more. Keep on truckin' Eric Elbogen. And say hi to your mother for me, okay?


I'mma tryin' hard to get up but he made it to my heart
so I cannot make it back from the dark, dark, dark


5


The Drums


Portamento

Not quite an instant-classic the previous album was, yet I'm not sure why. Their sound is mostly the same, the lyrics seem to be a little better, but I just didn't fall in love with this one like I did with their debut. It's still better than LMFAO.


I want to buy you something
but I don't have any money


4


The Antlers


Burst Apart

Not quite an instant-classic the previous album was (I swear this is the last time), but not for lack of effort. It's only because Hospice was just that good -- sadly, they probably won't ever top it. But that's okay, guys. This is a great album. And I like that they moved on from Hospice and are treading in a warmer soundscape. I don't think people can handle another heart-wrenching album like that.


you can't keep running out
kicking yourself off the bed
kicking yourself in the head
because you're kicking me too


3


Cults


Cults

Upbeat 60's sound, catchy melodies, sugary vocals, with dark, depressing, and cynical lyrics. Perfect match, right?


I knew right then that she'd been abducted
I knew right then that I would be taking her heart


2


The Roots


Undun

Confession:  I love concept albums. I've wondered if these guys are fans of Gaspar Noé because this album seems to be influenced by the structure and themes of his films, IRREVERSIBLE and ENTER THE VOID. Somehow, it wouldn't surprise me. How did Jimmy Fallon (of all people) get these guys?


they told me that the ends won't justify the means
they told me at the end, don't justify the dreams
that I've had since a child
maybe I'll throw in the towel
make my, make my departure from the world


1


Thrice


Major / Minor

Oh look, Thrice made it on to my top 10 list. I am Jack's complete lack of surprise. Well it's only their best album since Vheissu, so I didn't really have much of a choice. No dud track in sight, with some of the best lyrics Dustin has ever written. He's writing songs I wish I could've done. GOD, WILL YOU GIVE ME SOME TALENTS?!


I felt white and black reverse
and the lifting of a curse from my heart
then like one receiving sight
I beheld a brilliant light in the dark

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