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2. Leslie Carters Autopsy Inconclusive 3. Lana Del Rey Compelled By Britney Spears NextDec 6 2011 6:53 AM EST 26,757Drake, Adele And More: The 20 Best AlbumsOf 2011From Girls to Beyoncé (and just about everyone in between),Bigger Than the Sound takes a look at the years bestalbums.By James Montgomery (@positivnegativ) o Email MORE >In 2011, we all seemingly discovered dubstep and learned how to pronounce "Bon Iver." Wemarveled at the success of Adele, Katy Perry and Rihanna, took the leap with Beyoncé and gotroyal with Jay-Z and Kanye. We said hello to bright new stars like Frank Ocean and the Weekndand watched former breakouts Florence Welch and Drake take the next steps in their careers. Oh,and pretty much all of us bought Lady Gagas Born This Way, or at least debated its pricingschemes.Yes, its been a pretty eventful 12 months, and now, its time to take a look back with my picksfor the Best Albums of 2011. Rock, hip-hop, pop and electronic records — from artists big andsmall — that managed to stick with me through the entire year. Looking at it now, there are atleast a half-dozen other albums I couldve included — it really was that big of a year.Whats your favorite album of 2011? Tell us on Facebook!
That said, Im sure I left a few off my list, so Im counting on you to remind me of anything Imight have missed. Let me know in the comments below, and now, lets get right to my Best of2011 list. These are my favorite albums, from a fascinating year in music.20. Beyoncé, 4An artfully anachronistic album — in that it takes its cues from Fela Kuti and Earth, Wind andFire instead of, you know, David Guetta — its little wonder 4 confounded a large portion of therecord-buying public when it was released this summer. But given time, most (myself included)have come to love its classy flourishes and classically influenced roots. From big-boned balladsto weirdo world-music jams, 4 is clearly the disc on which Beyoncé makes her bid for artisticcredibility. Sadly, it just took us all a while to realize it. James Reacts To This Years Grammy Shocks and Snubs19. Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX, Were New HereThe late Scott-Herons final album gets reworked by Jamie Smith (avowed superfan andbeatmaker behind the XX), who deftly combines the poets gravelly ruminations with cutting-edge electro flourishes, yet never lets the latter outshine the former. And in that regard, WereNew Here stands apart from most remix albums, in that it is very much a labor of love. Releasedin February, it fittingly took on new life when Drake made its final track — "Ill Take Care OfU" — the centerpiece of his Take Care disc.18. Rihanna, Talk That TalkDepending on your perspective, its either "the best pop album of the year" or maybe "the dirtiestpop album since Madonnas Erotica," though given some time, perhaps its best to just call TTTRihannas best album, a streamlined, over-sexed, oft-adventurous thing that pushes everything tothe limit. And while you can get caught up in the adjectives, the real proof of TTTs power lies inits ability to make you move, endlessly, effortlessly, excitedly so. Thats what pop albums aresupposed to do, after all.17. Gospel Music, How to Get to Heaven From Jacksonville, FLPocket-size pop from Owen Holmes, current (former?) member of Black Kids, whose deepcroon recalls the likes of Calvin Johnson (not Megatron) and Stephin Merritt and whoseerudition brings to mind Jarvis Cocker. High praise, but when the music comes this effortlessly(check "This Town Doesnt Have Enough Bars for Both of Us" or "Lets Run" for proof) and thelyrics are this heartbreakingly hilarious ("He pores over Poe, peruses Proust/ While waiting forsauce to reduce/ Buys only seasonal produce/ I dont know what you see in him"), well, thedudes sort of earned it, really. Quite possibly the years most underrated album.16. Black Keys, El CaminoOn the follow-up to their breakout Brothers, the Black Keys go full-throttle, tearing through 11hard-riffing, deep-boogying tracks in something like 38 minutes. All handclaps and talk-boxguitar solos, El Camino rattles and chugs along like the titular Chevy and, on tracks like "Lonely
Boy," "Money Maker" and "Little Black Submarines," manages to get positively brilliant too —in a George Thorogood-meets-the Cramps kind of way, of course.15. Florence and the Machine, CeremonialsFlorence Welch possesses a voice that can shatter glass, shift tectonic plates and quite possiblyalter the very fabric of time, so it sort of makes sense that, on Ceremonials, producer PaulEpworth provides her with the appropriate backing tracks. This is an unapologetically massivealbum in just about every conceivable way, from the soaring heights of "Shake It Out" and "NoLight, No Light" to the delving depths of "Only If for the Night" and "What the Water GaveMe," which is to say it fits Florence like a glove. Or high-end Givenchy couture.14. The Weeknd, House of Balloons and ThursdayMysterious, majestically paced R&B from Canadian Abel Tesfaye, who rode his pair of (free)releases to breakout success. Both Balloons and Thursday tell the trope of the troubled loverman,but rarely are matters of the heart played out as honestly as they are here. An endless cycle ofdruggy nights, desperate flings and depressed dawns, Tesfaye makes no apologies, and with histwo albums of masterful murk, hes inadvertently created mood music for increasingly moodytimes.13. Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues"So now, Im older/ Than my mother and father/ When they had their daughter/ Now what doesthat say about me?" Thats how Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold opens the bandssophomore effort, and rarely does he relent from those notions. For an album so rich in wide-screen vocal harmonies and warm, finger-picked acoustics, Blues is far from atmospheric — infact, its downright analytical. Pecknold roots through problems that are very real, and thatbalance is key to the albums strength. Because for a band that so indulges in the space of thestudio, this is an album that is rarely, if ever, self-indulgent.12. Frank Ocean, Nostalgia, UltraThe years most self-assured debut, courtesy of the only Odd Future member who seems toactually shrink from the spotlight. Like the title implies, Nostalgia is an album that longs for thepast, both sonically — sampling Radiohead, Coldplay and the Eagles — and thematically, asOcean tills through broken relationships and lost associates. The results are unflinchingly, almostunassumingly great, and wherever Ocean goes from here, Ill be sure to follow.11. The War on Drugs, Slave AmbientHeres a fascinating little album, one that pulls just as readily from Bruce Springsteens and TomPettys wide-eyed-yet-wincing Americana as it does Sonic Youths and Spacemen 3s hazydirges. Part road record, part barroom soundtrack, its a compelling — and slightly confounding— listen, pairing jangly guitars with sleepy, bedheaded sonic sections, and frontman AdamGranduciel is frequently a man without a home, keening about freeways and harbors and greatopen expanses. In that regard, perhaps this is a record less about the final destination as it is thetrip itself — a somnambulant trek in which the lines between awake and dreaming are constantlyshifting.
10. Lady Gaga, Born This WayWhen it was first released, it wasnt a stretch to call BTW the years most anticipated album, andthough the debate may rage about whether it lived up to the hype, you cannot deny that Gaga puteverything into it. From the piston-pumping electronics of "Marry the Night" and the tarantulatango of "Americano" to the twitching, "Transformers"-huge techno of "Heavy Metal Lover" andthe epic balladry of "Yoü and I" and "The Edge of Glory," this truly is an effort that tries veryhard to be everything to everyone. And, in the process, Gaga has created something entirely new.BTW is quite possibly the first multi-national, multi-hyphenate, multi-sexual pop album of ourtime. And sure, its probably too long, but thats sort of the point, isnt it? Gaga only operates onthe hugest of stages, and BTW is her grandest mission statement to date. And if she didnt pleaseeveryone, you cant say she didnt try.9. Portugal. The Man, In the Mountain, In the CloudIt is quite possible to argue Portugal. The Man may be the new Flaming Lips, especially if youveever caught them live (and since the Lips seem content to simply embed songs inside humanskulls these days). They are both from spots firmly off the musical map (Wasilla, Alaska, andOklahoma City, respectively); they both indulge in frazzled, psych-tinged pop; and both seemhell-bent on doing things their way, no matter what the consequences. And if all that logic holds,then Cloud is either their Hit to Death in the Future Head (the one before they had the hit) ortheir Clouds Taste Metallic (the one before they got universal acclaim). On their major-labeldebut, Portugal got proggy, arty and unapologetically weird, and the disc sold about as well asyoud expect. Still, theres true genius in tracks like "So American," "Senseless" and "SleepForever," and while theyve still got, like, two decades to go before they can match the Lips interms of longevity, consider this the next step on their voyage.8. Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the ThroneThe years highest-profile collaboration didnt exactly play against type — except for the factthat, unlike most other meetings-of-the-egos, it actually ended up being really good. And thatsbecause, despite all the flash surrounding it (the globe-trotting recording sessions, the RiccardoTisci-designed cover, the video where they sawed the top off a Maybach) and all the boastscontained within it, WTT is very much an album that grapples equally with big themes —success, race, responsibilities, public perception — and, you know, big watches. And then, ofcourse, theres the incredibly odd "N---as in Paris," surely the first rap song to give equal facetime to Will Ferrell. A weird, wonderful, whirling album — the kind that, sadly, they dont makeall that often, mostly because its impossible to do so.7. Bon Iver, Bon IverJustin Vernon has done the impossible: follow up a beloved, much-mythologized debut album(you know, the one that was recorded in a cabin) with a record thats just as good — if not better.Hes always been one for atmospheres, but never before have those atmospheres been so dense— or so compelling. Here, he creates a singular, breathless world, building it with layers ofechoing instrumentation and his own ghostly falsetto. There are moments where the sun shinesthrough the cracks — a horn crescendo, a silvery sliver of bell — but for the most part, Bon Iveris a mesmerizing trip through a dewy dreamscape. And in that regard, its a momentousachievement (one made even more momentous by Vernons recent Grammy nominations), evenif the last song does sound like Bruce Hornsby.
6. PJ Harvey, Let England ShakeThe iconic Brit shape-shifts with seemingly every record she releases, and on Shake, shes rebornas an old-fashioned protest singer (with a newfound upper register too). The sad thing is, thesubjects shes singing about — conflict, bloodshed, mans unending cycle of self-immolation —are just as timely now as they were 50 years ago. Through it all, Harvey weaves a partial historyof her oft-troubled homeland, and does so with haunting, harrowing specificity: the quiveringflesh of the dead, the fog rolling over the bones of deceased sea captains, the tread of tanksplowing the countryside. That she manages to do so without ever gnarling into full-on outrage isa testament to both her skill as an observer of the human condition and her love of England,which is perhaps the most impressive feat of all on an album brimming with them.5. The Horrors, SkyingIs there a band with a more inexplicable career arc than the Horrors? They started off as spooky-ooky figureheads of Londons goth-garage scene (or whatever you want to call it), reimaginedthemselves as psych disciples on 2009s Primary Colours and, finally, on the wildly emotiveSkying, theyve emerged as one of the U.K.s best rock acts. Its a rhetorical question — there isno band quite like them, and their aptly named latest captures them at the height of their abilities.Skying is a bold, big, decidedly Technicolor affair, packed with synth peaks and piles of echoingguitars, and much like its title implies, it positively soars. The great moments abound, though itson lengthy tracks like "Moving Further Away" and "Oceans Burning" — when they breakthrough the clouds and let the daylight pour in — that they really, truly shine in ways no onethought imaginable.4. F---ed Up, David Comes to LifeA wrecking-ball sorta rock opera courtesy of Torontos hardest-working (and, most likely, only)six-piece punk collective, David Comes to Life tells the story of a downtrodden factory workerwho may have killed his true love. I think. Because, along the way, theres also betrayal,heartache, bomb blasts, fisticuffs and a whole lot of plot-twisting shifts in narration too. Ofcourse, the story behind the album is largely unimportant (if you want to keep score at home,heres a handy guide), especially when the album itself hits so hard. The (multi-multi-multi-)tracked guitars squeal and chug for days, and frontman Pink Eyes screams are so visceral youcan practically feel his blood welling up in your headphones. Its an ambitious, ringing, ragingsuccess, the kind of record youll listen to over and over again, either to try and follow theplotline or just get pummeled by the sheer might of the thing. Either way, youll enjoy yourself.3. Drake, Take CareWhat was that line Drake dropped a few years back? "Last name ever, first name greatest?"Right. Well, heres the proof that he wasnt lying. Take Care is his masterpiece of mope, anagoraphobically artistic exploration of late-night excesses and early morning regrets, of beingsmothered by fame and troubled by success, of drunken phone calls and drugged-out epiphanies.You can chalk it up to him being "emo," but I prefer to think of it as him just being honest,unafraid to play the villain or point out his own shortcomings. And thats what makes this albumso wonderful: It is very much about losing contact, fracturing relationships and attempting to putthe pieces back together again. Much like Kanyes My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (or 808s& Heartbreak), on Take Care, Drake and producer Noah "40" Shebib craft an insular, downrightclaustrophobic world, one fraught with perils both real and imagined. Though, when your life is
as fantastically surreal as Drakes, its often difficult to tell the difference — much to his dismay,and our benefit.2. Adele, 21Its nice when the years best-selling album also ends up being one of the flat-out best, but, in thecase of Adeles 21, we should have seen it coming. After all, she wowed critics and fans with herdebut, but this time, well, shes stumbled onto something else entirely. She created a classy,classic album that moved units the old-fashioned way: namely, on the strength of some hits andher prodigious pipes. On 21, shes also grown as an artist, become a singer capable of bothtremendous power (like on the smash "Rolling in the Deep") and terrifying tenderness too (likeon the smashing "Someone Like You"). A roiling collection of breakup ballads, revengefantasies, heartbreaking honesty and even a little humor, there truly was no other album quitelike 21 released this year. Its a throwback in every way, though it recalls nothing else so closelyas it does the heady times when great albums were also great-selling albums. Hopefully, its asign of things to come.1. Girls, Father, Son, Holy GhostIn a year when dance music slithered its way onto the top 40 and dudes like Skrillex pick up BestNew Artist Grammy nods, I found solace in the bristling, brokenhearted Father, Son, HolyGhost, a masterful collection of retro-leaning rock (Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys)that rang true above everything else. Thats mostly because it is an undeniably real album, bothsonically (the surging guitars and crashing drums that open "Honey Bunny," the pealing organthat closes "Jamie Marie") and spiritually pining over lost loves and the emptiness of sex. Andon two epic, excellent tracks — "Vomit" and "Forgiveness" — songwriter Christopher Owenslets his sadness and frustrations boil over, resulting in two of the most visceral moments of theyear. Its a chilling, hair-raising ride, a heartbreaking listen that channels genuine emotions; fullof sadness, self-loathing and real anger, it doesnt pull any punches, and somewhere in thatmorass, it also stumbles across true beauty too. In a time when everyones got a DJ and peoplecontinue to sing like robots from the 23rd century, Ill take Father, Son, Holy Ghosts unflinchingrealness any day. After all, sadness is a virtue too.MTV will reveal the best artists, songs and movies of the year. Come to MTV News eachday to see more big reveals and check out more of MTVs Best of 2011 music, TV, moviesand news coverage. o Email MORE >
1. Photo: MTV NewsRelated Videos 1. Video: Girls "Honey Bunny" Posted 10/20/11 2. Video: Adele "Someone Like You" Posted 10/1/11 3. Video: Beyoncé "Best Thing I Never Had" Posted 7/8/11 4. Video: The Black Keys "Lonely Boy" Posted 11/7/11 5. Video: Adele Was No Surprise But Kanyes Grammy Snub Was Shocking Posted 12/2/11
1. Halston added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago If you want to read decent articles about both Adele and Drake go to http://ratemusicart.blogspot.com/ Comment | (1)2. Bria <3 added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago What about Tha Carter IV? Comment | (1)3. Jonathan added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago Drake, Hands Down, Had the best album of the year. i never even heard of the #1 so I cant judge, but I only like 6 songs from Adeles album while I like 18 out of 19 from Drakes.... Comment | (1)
4. John added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago drake is the best ever he should win artis of the year Comment |5. John added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago drake is the best ever he should win artis of the year Comment |6. MrUndead added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago Born This Way deserved to be at least in the Top 5. Overall though, a great list. Finally some sense and putting Britney in her right place- NOT deserving a title to a top album! Femme Fatale was undeserving of being in the Top 20, let alone the Top 50. Thank you for having some sense! Comment | (1)7.
xLovaticStrongx added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago Okay so um who the **** are these people. I literally only know 6 of these bands/singers. Comment |8. Seiam added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago Yeah Rihanna and Drake â™¥ Comment |9. swing444 added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago how can MTV make a list of the best albums when they dont play music videos on Tv anymore? ? WACK! Comment |10. Jarrett added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago Tha Carter 4 was garbage kiddies. Beyonces 4 was less than stellar as well. Good artists, wack albums. Stop whining.
Comment |11. eMi55 added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago BEYONCEEE 20??? -_____- She should be in the top 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! girlsss?? WTFFFFF?!?! Comment |12. corey2012 added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago I only knwo 3 out of these and like none of them. Jay & Kanye and Beyonce are fine but the rest, WTF? And whres Lil Waynes Carter IV? I went double platinum and its not there, your list sucks. Comment | (1)13. Clément added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago "That said, Im sure I left a few off my list, so Im counting on you to remind me of anything I might have missed. Let me know in the comments below..." The only thing you can be sure about, is that Britney Spears "Femme Fatale" should be in this list! Comment |
14. KENNETH added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago Most of your lists are always wack. How the f... is WTT ahead of black keys ? how the f... is Talk that Talk and 4 in your top 20 and beastie boys isnt ? Or Saigion ? Take Care #3 ? GTFOH. Comment | (1) 15. Allain Mae added a comment on a News article | 1 month ago i dont know most of them.. HAHA Comment |Next » 1. Get More For Less w/ DISHPromo Price Starting at $19.99/mo. Don’t Wait. Switch to DISH®! www.DISHNetwork.com 2. Roxio CinePlayerPlay DVDs on your PC Today! Get the latest DVD player software www.Roxio.com 3. VHS Video To DVDMost Orders Complete In 72 Hours. Free Copies For Friends & Family. www.HomeMovieDepot.comMTV Logo: