Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2011

Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2011

Original Source →

50. Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation

September 27, 2011
Critic Score
78
18 reviews

Hibernation is a record for pulling up the covers and dreaming and then venturing out to the town to see the strange and magical world of encroaching adulthood.

49. Wild Flag - Wild Flag

September 13, 2011
Critic Score
79
21 reviews

The band rarely sacrifices the rock'n'roll fun-- they no doubt deliver that elusive black-and-blue, but it's a hit that feels like a kiss.

48. Toro y Moi - Underneath The Pine

February 22, 2011
Critic Score
75
24 reviews

If he was feeling any pressure to validate himself and his peers, Underneath the Pine doesn't show it.

47. Sepalcure - Sepalcure

Sepalcure - Sepalcure
November 21, 2011
Critic Score
81
10 reviews

Sepalcure nimbly incorporate current trends but arrive at a sound-- politely mysterious rhythms put to life by haunted vocal samples-- that's familiar and rich.

46. Cults - Cults

June 7, 2011
Critic Score
74
21 reviews

It executes what it sets out to do masterfully while allowing the group room to grow and mature.

45. Kendrick Lamar - Section.80

July 2, 2011
Critic Score
80
8 reviews

Section.80 still stands as a powerful document of a tremendously promising young guy figuring out his voice.

43. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

March 1, 2011
Critic Score
79
26 reviews

Li proves a rich and compelling character in her songs, which are dark but also complex, contradictory, and, thank goodness, still rough around the edges.

42. SBTRKT - SBTRKT

June 28, 2011
Critic Score
76
18 reviews

SBTRKT is ultimately a colorful and highly enjoyable future-pop record, an extension of bass culture but not indebted to it.

40. AraabMuzik - Electronic Dream

June 14, 2011
Critic Score
76
6 reviews

Electronic Dream is pretty, but it's pretty like the morning sun twinkling off of a dangling machete blade.

39. The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient

August 16, 2011
Critic Score
77
25 reviews

The really amazing thing about the album is how anthemic and affirming it feels despite the near total absence of proper sing-along choruses.

38. Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces

Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces
October 18, 2011
Critic Score
78
7 reviews

Perri's invariably calm tenor assumes the reassuring presence of a tour guide who won't tell you where you're going but ensures you pass through safely

37. Iceage - New Brigade

January 7, 2011
Critic Score
80
17 reviews

While they still have room to grow as songwriters, the energy in every atom of New Brigade's charred, sub-25-minute rush is seductive.

36. Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow

November 21, 2011
Critic Score
86
26 reviews

Her best music, this album included, has the effect of putting one in the kind of treasured, child-like space-- not so much innocent as open to imagination-- that never gets old.

35. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.

February 18, 2011
Critic Score
74
6 reviews

34. Katy B - On a Mission

April 5, 2011
Critic Score
79
21 reviews

What puts On a Mission over the top is Katy's way of expressing herself with emotions that extend past "wooo, druuunk".

33. Fucked Up - David Comes to Life

June 7, 2011
Critic Score
81
25 reviews

David Comes to Life is absolutely worth the commitment, a convincing demonstration of what can happen when a band works without limitations.

32. Panda Bear - Tomboy

April 12, 2011
Critic Score
78
25 reviews

He's condensed the sprawl and stylistic shifts of Person Pitch into seemingly tidy songs.

31. Ty Segall - Goodbye Bread

June 21, 2011
Critic Score
74
11 reviews

Goodbye Bread is filled with such rich, breathtaking moments, and Segall, who plays every instrument here, sounds as though he's savoring every part of process.

30. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

February 15, 2011
Critic Score
84
15 reviews

The notion of music as a cheapened, battered object, touches nearly every aspect of Ravedeath, 1972, a dark and often claustrophobic record that is arguably Hecker's finest work to date.

29. DJ Quik - Book of David

April 19, 2011
Critic Score
76
5 reviews

A rich stew of warm disco, grown-and-sexy R&B, and classic g-funk, it sounds engineered to waft out over barbecues.

28. Cut Copy - Zonoscope

February 8, 2011
Critic Score
73
29 reviews

Cut Copy have the architecture of dance music down perfectly and the confidence to execute the genre's moves with absolute precision.

27. Beyoncé - 4

June 28, 2011
Critic Score
71
25 reviews

26. The Field - Looping State of Mind

October 11, 2011
Critic Score
78
22 reviews

He's brought all his skill to bear on Looping, as composer and arranger and texturologist, in order to build something this simultaneously sweeping and subtle, deep and immediate.

25. Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

May 10, 2011
Critic Score
82
23 reviews

It's a tighter and more focused record that pares back the band's habit for noisy embellishment and psychic jewelry to reveal taught rhythms and catchy hooks.

24. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place

February 22, 2011
Critic Score
80
12 reviews

So while there are few identifiable words here and the titles don't really register, there's a hell of a lot being expressed.

23. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse

April 5, 2011
Critic Score
78
15 reviews

Callahan has nothing to add to the general conversation about music in 2011 but is making the best albums of his career.

21. Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch the Throne

August 8, 2011
Critic Score
74
28 reviews

They push each other and have fun doing it, and the result is a stadium-sized event-rap spectacle that still sounds like two insanely talented guys' idiosyncratic vision.

20. Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise

January 31, 2011
Critic Score
82
15 reviews

Space never feels like a showcase for Nicolas Jaar; it's just a modest and well-decorated gathering place for some things he loves, a place for them to interact.

19. Danny Brown - XXX

August 15, 2011
Critic Score
83
7 reviews

18. Atlas Sound - Parallax

November 8, 2011
Critic Score
80
26 reviews

Parallax feels like a more complete work than any other Atlas Sound record, with the differences between the songs less distinct and everything flowing together more naturally.

17. Clams Casino - Instrumental

March 2, 2011
Critic Score
81
4 reviews

16. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

March 8, 2011
Critic Score
77
21 reviews

This feels like a family of songs, one whose complexion and course changes as a whole with every spin.

15. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

May 3, 2011
Critic Score
83
32 reviews

The record showcases the band's expanded range and successful risk-taking, while retaining what so many people fell in love with about the group in the first place.

14. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up

June 28, 2011
Critic Score
84
23 reviews

Black Up lets some sunlight in, breathes fresh air, and finds Butler returning to an occasionally lighter flow, the most unburdened he's sounded since the world first heard him.

13. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints

May 10, 2011
Critic Score
81
23 reviews

Anderson's music has the power to plummet to the depths and drag you right down there with her.

12. James Blake - James Blake

February 8, 2011
Critic Score
81
28 reviews

Horgeous, indelible tunes that are as generous in content as they are restrained in delivery.

11. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

September 13, 2011
Critic Score
87
33 reviews

On Strange Mercy, she ditches Marry Me's naivety and Actor's ostentatious arrangements, boosts the inventive guitar playing, and ends up with her most potent and cathartic release yet.

10. The Weeknd - House of Balloons

March 21, 2011
Critic Score
79
15 reviews

The group's penchant for druggy atmospherics is mirrored in their lyrical content, which is overtly sexual, narcotics-focused, and occasionally downright frightening.

9. Real Estate - Days

October 18, 2011
Critic Score
74
24 reviews

Cleaner, sharper, and just plain stronger, Days is like a single idea divided into simple statements

8. Drake - Take Care

November 15, 2011
Critic Score
78
26 reviews

Drake's worked on his own technical abilities, too, and both his rapping and singing are better than ever here

7. tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

April 19, 2011
Critic Score
85
26 reviews

The music benefits from the increased professionalism, but Garbus has not abandoned her lo-fi aesthetic.

6. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

November 8, 2011
Critic Score
79
26 reviews

There's a real sense of discovery here, or possibilities being probed, and that feeling is infectious.

5. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

September 13, 2011
Critic Score
80
26 reviews

Their music pilfers from the past without shame but also manages to sound like no one else.

4. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

February 15, 2011
Critic Score
89
32 reviews

Even considering all of the horror on display, this is her most straightforward and easy to embrace album in a decade.

3. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

October 18, 2011
Critic Score
76
31 reviews

Above all else, it's the best M83 record yet.

2. Destroyer - Kaputt

January 25, 2011
Critic Score
86
26 reviews

More than any other Destroyer record, you can just throw this on and it sounds good, and plenty will do well stopping there. But for those so inclined, there's more to explore.

1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

June 21, 2011
Critic Score
84
32 reviews

After the closeness and austerity of For Emma, Vernon has given us a knotty record that resists easy interpretation but is no less warm or welcoming.

Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/8727-the-top-50-albums-of-2011/
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