Jason Tate’s Top Albums of 2011

The Best of 2011

Ok .. ok … now it’s time to try and figure out just how the hell to rank all the albums from the past year. This is where I do my best to remember everything I love. Inevitably leave something out. And then read comments about how stupid I am.

Top Albums of 2011

  1. The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
  2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
  3. Maritime – Human Hearts
  4. Dessa – Castor, The Twin
  5. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
  6. Radiohead – King of Limbs
  7. Transit – Listen and Forgive
  8. blink-182 – Neighborhoods
  9. Astronautalis – This is Our Science
  10. The Black Keys – El Camino
  11. Augustana – Augustana
  12. Thrice – Major/Minor
  13. Sims – Bad Time Zoo
  14. MuteMath – Odd Soul
  15. Thursday – No Devolucion
  16. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
  17. The Decemberists – The King is Dead
  18. Daybreaker – The Northbound Trains EP
  19. Butch Walker – The Spade
  20. Doomtree – No Kings
  21. The Damnwells – Nobody Listens to the Band Anymore
  22. Yellowcard – When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes
  23. Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground
  24. AraabMuzik – Electronic Dream
  25. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
  26. The Rosebuds – Loud Planes, Fly Low
  27. Mariana’s Trench – Ever After
  28. The Dangerous Summer – War Paint
  29. Patrick Stump – Soul Punk
  30. Rise Against – End Game

This year ended with me battling between what I thought was my favorite album of 2011. It ended up being a two horse race, and I ended up going with The Horrible Crowes because of the emotional attachment I made with the lyrics. Brian Fallon just has a way of saying things that I truly appreciate and can relate to. That album stuck with me through the entire year, and even now as the ground continues to get colder … I find myself listening to it late at night and still having it resonate with me. For the rest of the list, I spent a lot of time thinking about the albums I listened to the most. And then I tried my best to rank them as I saw fit. Albums got more points for how I related to them, and their overall impact on my musical tastes. Not a perfect science … but it works for me.

Obviously, I wasn’t able to fit everything in this year that I really liked – it was just that kind of year. So, I’ve got a few honorable mentions that I needed to make sure at least got some love. I could probably have made this list another 30 to be honest. But, I have to draw the line somewhere it seems.

Honorable Mentions

  • Panic at the Disco – Vices and Virtues
  • The Republic Tigers – No Man’s Land
  • Cartel – In Stereo (EP)
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (OST)
  • Booker T Jones – The Road From Memphis
  • Cut Copy – Zonoscope
  • Real Estate – Days
  • Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
  • Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
  • New Found Glory – Radiosurgery
  • Jacks Mannequin – People & Things
  • Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones
  • I Am The Avalanche – Avalanche United
  • Kevin Devine – Between the Concrete & Clouds

Best New Band of 2011

Basically this just means I paid more attention to them this year, and they’re relatively “new.” I know that my pick did not form this year, and had a few releases prior to this year … however, this was the year I think they stepped up and really stood out from the pack. They released an album that I think everyone should check out, fans of the genre or not. It’s Transit with their “one helluva good album” Listen and Forgive.

Best Lyrics of 2011

Brian Fallon (The Horrible Crowes)

It’s the reason the album ended up being my favorite of the year. Most of the years that Brian Fallon is writing music, I am going to fall in love with his lyrics. I look to lyrics a lot in the music I connect with – so my top list, in a way, sort of follows my favorite lyrics all the way down.

Best Vocals of 2011

Thom Yorke

This year was the year Thom’s voice just hit me in a way it previously hadn’t. I can’t really put my finger on what it was about this year that did it (I’ve always known he had a great voice), but this was the year that put him up front for me. I think it also helped that I’ve mentioned a lot of the other candidates in past “EOTY” lists. Dustin Kensrue is always up there. How many times can I pick the same ones, you know?

Best Record Label of 2011

Hopeless Records

Best Movies of 2011

  • Horrible Bosses
  • Harry Potter
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Bridesmaids
  • Source Code
  • Drive

I liked comedies this year. It was just one of those years where I saw a lot of them – and didn’t really have much time to go see anything else. I love seeing movies, this year just ended up being one where I didn’t see a whole lot. Have quite a bit on my list I need to go see … if I ever can find the time.

Best Book of 2011

I have to give this to the Steve Jobs biography. I don’t think it was the best written I read this year; however, in light of how much the man inspired me … it really did hit home.

Best TV Shows of 2011

  • How I Met Your Mother
  • House
  • Mad Men
  • Modern Family
  • Parks and Recreation

You need to be watching Parks & Rec. One of the most consistently funny television shows I’ve ever watched.

Most Anticipated of 2012

  • No Trigger
  • Fun.
  • Yellowcard
  • Pheonix
  • Neon Trees
  • A Wilhelm Scream
  • Brand New (?)
  • Astronautalis/POS Collaboration Album
  • Every Time I Die
  • Miike Snow

Note: If you grab anything from this list through Amazon the affiliate link ends up giving me a little extra back as well.