Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Best of 2011: Rolling Stone's Best Albums

The Rolling Stone list is out! Topping the revered music and culture magazine's list of 2011's best albums is Adele's 21. I'm surprised and happy to see Adele atop the list. It's rare that RS chooses a pop album. They generally go in for something rock or hip-hop. In fact, the last time a female pop artist topped the list was, appropriately, 21 years ago, when Sinead O'Connor's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got was named the best album of 1990.

1. Adele - 21. I adore this album, so it's great to see it #1 here, as I didn't expect it would be the kind of album Rolling Stone would choose for its favorite album of the year, particularly considering that they gave it only a 3.5/5 when it was originally reviewed (recent #1 albums were from Kanye West, U2, TV on the Radio, MIA and Bob Dylan).

2. Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne. Kanye West had Rolling Stone's favorite albums in 2004, 2005, and 2010 (he was #5 in 2007), and Jay-Z has had four albums appear in the top 5, so it's no surprise the duo's collaboration finishes well.

3. Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What. Rolling Stone likes to pay tribute to the legends, so this is not unexpected, but don't expect to see it on the "cooler" lists. He had RS's favorite album of 2006 and his 2000 album, You're the One, made the top 10.

4. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues. Fleet Foxes' second album outpaces their 2008 debut (it was #11), although personally I liked their first album better.

5. Radiohead - The King of Limbs. Surprised to see this in the top 10. The reviews were good, but not their usual. All of Radiohead's albums since OK Computer have appeared in the RS year-end top 10, with OK Computer and Hail to the Thief placing the highest (#2 in 1997 and 2003 respectively).

6. Lady Gaga - Born This Way. Another I didn't expect to see in the top 10, but it deserves it. Her best album yet and first appearance on the RS list.

7. The Decemberists - The King is Dead. Not seeing this on a lot of lists and I'm surprised. It's great. They were #23 on the 2006 list.

8. Wilco - The Whole Love. Great choice. I haven't reviewed this yet, but I like it.

9. Wild Flag. Don't know this one, although I know I've seen it (it has distinctive cover art). Described as post-punk girl group rock. Could be interesting.

10. Robbie Robertson - How to Become Clairvoyant. Don't know this one either. This is the only list I've seen this on so far.

Other selection entries:

11. My Morning Jacket - Circuital
12. The Black Keys - El Camino (nice)
16. R.E.M. - Collapse into Now
20. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
21. Bon Iver (strikingly low, but more in line with my thinking)
22. Drake - Take Care
25. Beyonce - 4 (glad this made it)
26. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
27. Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials (a bit low I think)
41. Little Dragon - Ritual Union
44. Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'
47. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (shockingly low, considering how many lists have this as #1)

Enjoy the full list here.

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