Despite having even more albums to listen to than last year, I really had a difficult time finding ten albums that got me really excited. A lot of that, again, had to do with the way that I was listening to music. I really like to interact with my music, be it the ritualistic process of listening to music on vinyl or just cranking something in iTunes and dancing like nobody is watching (read: judging), but here, those deeper connections aren't options. This year, more often than not, if earbuds were inserted it was to listen to podcasts.
Also, this September, I listened to Nevermind for the first time in a long time, it's (still) %#*!ing amazing. On one hand, it's hard to believe that it's already 20 years old, on the other it's hard to imagine that it's only 20 years old; despite being so deeply connected to the early nineties and Generation X, it really is a timeless album. That listen got me thinking about the way I've been listening to music the last few years.
I, and I think a lot other people, have been trying to listen to as much (new) music as possible instead of listening to what is already known and loved. I thought about the fact that I while I am listening to albums that I'll probably only listen to once and then completely forget, I could be listening to Pet Sounds, The Beatles, Nevermind, London Calling, X/O, Funeral, Odelay, The Velvet Underground and Nico...
Perhaps by listening to so much music I will find the next Surfer Rosa or Bringing It All Back Home, but I imagine I'll find the bands and albums that stick by the tried-and-true methods of recommendations from friends and acquaintances and getting to shows early enough to see opening acts.
This list has and will always be about my favorite albums, not necessarily the best albums, though hopefully there is a bit of overlap. Usually I start making my long list sometime in October or November and the contenders are repeatedly listened to and critiqued, while adding in year end releases. This year, even my top ten albums don't have play counts in the double digits, so there aren't any growers this year, and rankings are even less meaningful than usual; 2011 is much more about the music than the "list."
Some albums from the past twelve months that I enjoyed more than others:
10. Foster the People - Torches
9. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
8. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
7. Megafaun - Megafaun
6. We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships
5. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
4. Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital
3. Battles - Gloss Drop
2. Geotic - Mend
1. Saintseneca - Last
What I really listened to this past year:
9. 20 Minute Yoga Sessions from YogaDownload.com
8. Freakonomics Radio
7. Day 6
6. Vinyl Cafe
website - podcast
5.This American Life
3. The Moth
1. The Dirtbag Diaries