Top 10 Albums of 2011

Remember when we owned things?


2011 was an odd year for me and music. Looking around year-end lists by other publications made me worry about how out of step I’ve become. Yes, some of the albums you’ll see on this list have popped up on other lists, but not as often as in year’s past. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve become more original and iconoclast, but honestly, it seems like the way to make this list was to be an artist I already liked releasing an album of similar quality to that which I’ve liked in the past (although it could just be that what was buzz-worthy this year was genres I don’t really care for). While I stand by my choices here, it’s possible that in the future, I may end up thinking of 2011 as the year my tastes calcified and I just gave up. But until then, at least I’ll have these albums to sustain me.
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A Moment in Song: “The Good That Won’t Come Out”

Rilo Kiley - The Good That Won't Come Out

Welcome to a new feature on the blog, “A Moment in Song”, where I analyze some of my favourite moments in some of my favourite songs. Music can work on many levels, with the best songs featuring a combination of lyrical content, musical arrangement, tempo, vocal stylings, and just a little bit of magic to create something memorable. But sometimes within a song is one transcendent moment that stands out, a moment that hits you the first time you hear it and every moment after that. That moment may only be seconds long, but it’s what you always remember when you think of the song. This feature focuses on such moments to try and highlight all the little things that make music such a special experience.

The Song: “The Good That Won’t Come Out” by Rilo Kiley from The Execution of All Things LP (2002)

(To download, right click on this link choose Save Link As: https://andythesaint.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/01-the-good-that-wont-come-out.mp3)
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Top 10 Albums of 2010

This is a list by Critically Speaking.

For the past three years, I’ve done a Top 20 Albums list. I could’ve easily done the same with this year, as there were double that many albums I was into this year. But as I was compiling the contenders for the list, I realized that there were only 15 I felt strongly about. If I took more time, I’m sure I’d feel that way about at least five more (especially ones released later in the year). But taking more time is something I really need to do less of on this blog (as followers of my top films of the decade list will attest. Only 12 more to go!). So a top ten with five honourable mentions made the most sense, but don’t take that as an indictment of the quality of music in 2010, which was generally high.
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Top 20 Albums of 2009

He likes their eclectic sounds. Either that, or he prefers jewel cases to digi-packs for chewing on.


Some people look at the calendar and think “doing a year end list over a third of the way through the following year is beyond indulgent”. I’m actually one of those people, but if I cared about being indulgent, I wouldn’t exactly be posting my thoughts about my favourite things to an ambivalent audience of dozens, now would I? This list, like all the lists I’ve been doing since January, was delayed due to personal reasons like being busy with work and my newborn son (pictured – already a developing music snob). With this particular list, there was also the practical reason that I spent most of 2009 listening to the best albums of the decade. So I needed these past few months to really experience and embrace the music of 2009 – and once I did, I must say, it was a pretty good year for music. So good that I couldn’t let it go unlisted (of course, my own compulsions probably wouldn’t allow it to go unlisted even if it were an average year for music).
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Bonus List: Top 25 Canadian Albums of the Decade


Inspired by Maclean’s list of the Top 10 Canadian albums of the decade, I decided to bang out an all-Canuck version of my top 25 albums of the decade. This has been a fantastic decade for Canadian music, which benefited from the fracturing of pop culture that allowed small acts from Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and points in between to gain a foothold in the popular consciousness throughout the world, without having to overcome the traditional barrier in spreading Canadian art: we don’t have a big enough population to warrant attention. This was a problem back when bands had to sell millions of records and dominate the charts to get buzz. Now you just need to get the attention of the proper taste-makers, sell a few units, do the right festivals, and let the internet do the rest. Oh yeah, and have the talent to back it up.

Sure, we still had some artists getting attention the traditional way, like Nickelback and Avril Lavigne, and for that… I apologize. But judging our music by its most popular acts would be just as big a mistake as dismissing American music because of the work of the Black Eyed Peas and American Idol or the UK because of James Blunt and The X Factor. Instead, let’s celebrate the best.

The following is just a short list, with no write-ups, designed to just give an idea of what kind of decade it’s been for the True North Strong and Free (although, if you want to read write-ups for the top 8, see my Best Albums of the Decade list). I didn’t take too much time putting this list together, so don’t get too focused on the order. As always, this list is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be used for wagering of any kind.
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Top 25 Albums of the Decade – 5 to 1


When I first began this list I predicted that it might end up taking two months to complete. That was November 2nd, so I suppose I beat the prognostication by a couple days, and just got it under the wire for the change of the decade. And speaking of the wire, be on the lookout for my breakdown of the best TV shows of the decade sometime in the new year.

Here’s a recap of how we got here. Click on the links to read the write-ups/listen to the song samples.
25. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
24. Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
23. The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight (2003)
22. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
21. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)

20. Elliott Smith – Figure 8 (2000)
19. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)
18. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People (2002)
17. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
16. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)

15. Common – Be (2005)
14. Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
13. Feist – The Reminder (2007)
12. Tegan and Sara – So Jealous (2004)
11. Okkervil River – The Stand-Ins (2008)

10. Okkervil River – The Stage Names (2007)
9. Kathleen Edwards – Failer (2003)
8. Stars – Set Yourself On Fire (2004)
7. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2004)
6. The National – Alligator (2005)

Click on to find out the top five.
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