Album of the Year 2011 – 10-06…The End is Nigh

And now we take it up a notch, with pretty much the hardest decision I usually have to make. This being which five albums make it through to the top five and which leave the race now. This year has been exceptionally difficult, as even though getting twenty albums together for the year’s best was difficult, the ten in here of a top class. But, as mentioned before, decisions have to be made and I’ve made mine here:

10. The Dodos – No Color (Frenchkiss)

One that will no doubt surprise Per Ericsson, as it’s one of his type of bands (American High School Music) and one that I don’t need to introduce to Ian Stackhouse, rather knock him around a little for having it much lower in his twenty of the year, yet for the rest of you these may well be new to you all.

The first time in a chart of mine and punchy drum beats got me from the off. If the album would have maintained the quality found in the last two tracks this one could have made it all the way to the top five. As it stands it is in a very lofty position at ten, much higher than it has been in any of the best ofs I’ve read so far. Maybe I’ve got a soft spot for this one, maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to it on and off since February this year, or maybe it’s just a top-notch album.

Have a listen and see what you think.

09. Radiohead – King of Limbs (XL Recordings/Playground)

Time for the first of a few of my traditionals in the top ten, showing another year of mixing between the old and the new, showing my loyalty to bands that are already established in my music spheres, whilst also listening to the new kids on the block (no reference to Marky Mark intended there).

Early contender for album of the year, with me getting it in March, before noticing a few cracks, not enough to keep it out of the top ten but enough to nudge it out of the top five. High points are that Radiohead are always engaging, always interesting, always hard to ignore. The album has several of their ‘classic’ tunes in Morning Mr. Magpie, Lotus Flower and Codex, but struggles a little for me with its shortness (I know they like their short albums) and staying power of one or two tracks.

Still it’s Radiohead and those who know me know how much respect I have for the band.

08. Tom Waits – Bad as Me (Anti)

A couple of twitterings have already predicted Tom at number one for me and I have to be honest and say there was never any danger of that happening. Tom is my hero and everything he does is a masterwork (well almost everything) but he appears to be suffering from a lack of inspiration in that pretty much every track on this album can be traced back to one on one of his last three studio albums.

The man is a genius but even I have to admit that genius may well be waning. Number eight may well be Tom’s lowest position since I started the album of the year in 1996 further strengthening that idea.

07. Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys! (Fiction/Polydor)

Extremely disappointed with this one when I first heard and for another ten listens it didn’t get any better. Yet, like any other Elbow album, you have to give it a worthy listen before judging it too harshly. As the number of listens increased, so did the score and it kept on climbing until hitting its biggest position today at number seven.

It’s an interesting Elbow album but yet has much to give and is easily better than their less impressive albums. It’s not up to the dizzy heights of their masterpieces but sits very solidly in the discography as a stand out album.

06. Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix (Island)

This album dropped out of the top five for the first time today, due to me giving really solid listens to two others in contention and finding them stronger albums. That this one was in the top three for most of the year is testament to how highly I respect this band and what they are up to. They are a class act and mixing the quality songs with that classic indie pop sound is no mean feat and these guys achieve it with aplomb!

Look out tomorrow for number five of 2011.

About Mark S. Deniz

English teacher, writer, editor, publisher, reviewer and blogger. Founder of publishing company, Morrigan Books and imprint, Gilgamesh Press. Also cycles, listens to lots and lots of music, reads a ton of books and tries to fit in some TV, film and writing too. View all posts by Mark S. Deniz

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