Off Key Online

Off Key With Eric D. presents the Top 11 Albums of 2011!!!

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Greetings music lover,

Normally I would count down the top 20 records of the year, supplementing each with a nifty diatribe as to why they were so awesome and prevalent in the given year. However, in an effort to balance out my busy nature and, more so, not conform to myself, I’ve decided to focus upon the top 11 records of this year, a year which conveniently ends with the number 11. Get it? I thought you would. Anyway, without further ado, here are those best records of the year, discussed in bite-sized reviews so you can read them on that brand new iPhone 4S you got for Christmas:

11. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds” [iTunes version] (Sour Mash)

Finally, Noel breaks away from his [expletive deleted] brother to go out on his own, releasing an album that proves him to be the only good thing to come out of the late Oasis.  Key tracks: “(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine,” “Stop The Clocks,” “A Simple Game Of Genius”

10. Atlas Sound – “Parallax” [Japanese version] (4AD)

Atlas Sound’s latest album, their most accessible thus far, is the sixth album frontman Bradford Cox has released in the last 4 years. Calling him prolific is an understatement.  Key tracks: “Te Amo,” “Angel is Broken,” “Terra Incognita”

9. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Belong” [Japanese version] (Slumberland)

Pains’ second album makes their first album sound like crap.  Key tracks: “Belong,” “Anne With An E,” “Strange”

8. St. Vincent – “Strange Mercy” (4AD)

Annie Clark’s latest album is more strange than merciful, taking a slightly divergent direction that concedes a less enthralling listening experience than her first two records. It’s still good though.  Key tracks: “Cruel,” “Cheerleader,” “Surgeon”

7. My Morning Jacket – “Circuital” (ATO)

After the interestingly eclectic, indie/neo-psychedelia headache that was 2008’s “Evil Urges,” My Morning Jacket returned this year with an album that (thankfully) sounded like their much-revered older work, in turn making for much-revered newer work.  Key tracks: “The Day Is Coming,” “Wonderful (The Way I Feel),” “Outta My System”

6. Friendly Fires – “Pala” [Japanese tour edition] (XL)

“Pala” is the perfect second act to Friendly Fires’ dance pop story, gyrating its way into our hearts with songs about love, loss, and films with talking dogs.  Key tracks: “Live Those Days Tonight,” “Hawaiian Air,” “Hurting”

5. The Horrors – “Skying” [Japanese version] (XL)

If there was anyone out there wondering what a sequel to Ride’s “Nowhere” would sound like if done by The Horrors, well, “Skying” is it.  Key tracks: “Changing The Rain,” “I Can See Through You,” “Still Life”

4. R.E.M. – “Collapse Into Now” (Warner Bros.)

One of the undisputed greatest rock bands of all time, R.E.M. ended their career on a high note with this year’s aptly-titled “Collapse Into Now,” their best effort since 1992’s “Automatic For The People.”  Key tracks: “Discoverer,” “Überlin,” “Every Day Is Yours To Win”

3. Stephin Merritt (Buffalo Rome/The Gothic Archies/The Magnetic Fields/The 6ths) – “Obscurities” (Merge)

Stephin Merritt is easily the finest songwriter living today. Proof of this can be found in his odds-and-ends compilation “Obscurities,” which effortlessly meanders through a smattering of salacious selections from venerable projects such as The 6ths and The Magnetic Fields.  Key tracks: “The Sun and the Sea and the Sky,” “Yet Another Girl (with Stuart Moxham),” “Take Ecstasy With Me (Susan Anway, vocal)”

2. British Sea Power – “Valhalla Dancehall” (Rough Trade)

Never in recent memory has there been an album as continuously promoted as British Sea Power’s brilliant “Valhalla Dancehall.” Starting in October 2010 with the equally brilliant “Zeus E.P.,” BSP released their fifth album in January and followed it up during the year with two supplementary albums of demos and remixes, a b-sides EP, and three commercial singles. Yet at the core of all this is a truly captivating album that succeeds on all fronts, driven by songs about societal structure and change, postmodern history, and VPL.  Key tracks: “Luna,” “Living Is So Easy,” “Heavy Water”

1. The Vaccines – “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” [Japanese reissue version] (Columbia)

Not since the rise of The Fratellis in 2006 has a band burst onto the scene with such unabashed vigor and excitement as The Vaccines. Their almost-eponymous debut album permeated all facets of decent society, heralding a seemingly unheard of seven singles for public consumption. Following on the sheer brilliance of this debut, don’t expect much of a hit for a second album (another Fratellis hallmark). For this year though, The Vaccines were the cure for the common music collection.  Key tracks: “Wetsuit,” “Post Break-Up Sex,” “All In White”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: