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Old 01-01-2012, 07:22 PM   #91
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Here’s my final list with points assigned. Hopefully I’ll find time to add some comments later

1. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes (13)
2. Destroyer - Kaputt (11)
3. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (9)
4. Radiohead - The King Of Limbs (9)
5. Cults - Cults (8)
6. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy (8)
7. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See (7)
8. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (7)
9. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost (6)
10. Panda Bear - Tomboy (5)
11. Yuck - Yuck (5)
12. M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. (4)
13. Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials (4)
14. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo (3)
15. Wild Flag - Wild Flag (1)

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Old 01-01-2012, 10:07 PM   #92
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If you told me in January that two of my favorite artists' new releases wouldn't make my Top 5 (at least), I'd say you were crazy. While THE MALK! and LOS CAMP! both put out good/very good albums, both were missing something that made me fall in love with previous efforts. In the case of Malkmus, too many ideas and not enough classics, and in LC!, perhaps not enough inventiveness and an overall lack of spirit (that's what you get with an album called "Hello Sadness", I guess).

If you also told me my favorite album of the year would be a double album of electronica, I'd be just as flabbergasted. Especially as I enjoyed but wasn't over the moon about Saturdays = Youth.

It should be noted that my #1 here would probably have a tough time cracking the Top 3 of recent years; for comparison's sake I don't think Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is quite on the level of LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening.

1. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (13)
This was an album that I only used to listen to at night, or at dusk. Now I enjoy it any time of day. Each individual track isn't necessarily a stand-out, but it's a very easy and pleasurable listen considering its length. Favorite is Raconte-Moi Une Histoire, followed by New Map.

2. Tom Waits - Bad As Me (12)
I still say this is hismost enjoyable album since Rain Dogs. Mule Variations may get more respect around here (and it's very impressive) but this album is just too damned fun, which is why I compare this to Dylan's Love & Theft (an album I prefer to Time Out of Mind).

3. Stricken City - Losing Colour (11)
Sadly this UK band has disbanded following this, their sophomore effort. I was first turned onto them by a Pitchfork review, and I blind-bought their very cheap but beautifully-designed CD/DVD package for their first album, which I loved. This one is more consistent and diverse and has an mid-late 1980's alternative sound (almost like Siouxie at times?), led by the great voice of lead singer and keyboard player Rebekah Raa. I know it seems futile to try and get people into a short-lived band, but I really encourage fans of the various female-fronted artists this year (Lykke Li, Cults, Tennis) to check this album out. At its best it has a majesty that for me tops the others.

Here's one of the album's more energetic tracks:

4. Gruff Rhys - Hotel Shampoo (11)
Super Furry Animals frontman hits a home run on his third solo album. "Shark Ridden Waters" is one of the best singles of the year IMO.

5. Tennis - Cape Dory (9)
This one just puts a smile on my face. They pretty much do one thing, but they do it so well. The brevity is likely a plus in this case.

6. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now (8)
Thankfully retains much of the energy of 2008's Accelerate and adds some of the lushness and depth that album lacked. There are still a number of missteps (the groan-inducing Oh My Heart, the Country Feedback-aping Blue), but this album has some really strong peaks.

7. Malkmus/Jicks - Mirror Traffic (8)
Nothing particularly wrong with this album, and only a track or two out of 15 that I'm not into. The production by Beck is clean and sounds great. But there are only a few tracks that really shoot up into the stratosphere for me. Part of this is due to the lack of solos (which featured heavily on the psychedelic predecessor Real Emotional Trash) and the other is that a lot of these songs sound half-baked; from what I read Beck wanted to capture a lot of these little vignette-style stuff but this is a far cry from Wowee Zowee. Whatever, it's still a hell of a lot of fun.

8. Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness (7)
Once one gets over the disappointment of this not being a classic like their debut or Romance Is Boring, there's still a lot here to like. The album starts off fairly strong, stumbles a bit in the middle, then takes off again before stumbling to a finish. And it's that momentum killing that gives it an overall stink of failure. But still, there weren't many songs better this year than By Your Hand, the title track revs up to greatness, and Baby I Got The Death Rattle recaptures the anthemic LC! of old by its conclusion. To Tundra hints at a new direction very successfully. Subpar LC! is still pretty killer for me as they're my favorite band of the last 10 years.

9. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (6)
I respect it more than I like it, and I don't reach for this as often as I did Stories From The City... the year it came out. But this is still a major achievement in writing. Good to have her back.

10. Craig Wedren - WAND (5)
Former Shutter to Think frontman finally put out his long-gestating album which has a bunch of guest friends (including Conor Oberst and Sleater-Kinney alum Janet Weiss), and it's pretty impossible to categorize. The guy tries so many things here and it's a huge leap forward since his previous effort Lapland. His distinct voice is an acquired taste for some people (especially when he belts it out with heavy vibrato), but he's equally good at going big or intimate (the man has a beautiful falsetto).

11. Cults (3)
Very of-the-moment. 2011 memories soundtrack for sure. Not a whole lot of depth. But it's fun.

12. Paul Simon - So Beautiful Or So What (3)
Perfected simplicity.

13. Wild Flag (2)
This doesn't fill the void left by Sleater-Kinney. But it comes pretty damned close. Corin Tucker's 1,000 Years didn't make my list but it's also very good if less ferocious and vital.

14. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes (1)
This one's a firecracker. Nothing more to add to what's been said above by others.

15. Radiohead - The King of Limbs (1)
Some great tracks. But I can still name at least four on In Rainbows that are better than anything on here, and that album had a grandeur and heart this album for the most part lacks. Throw those non-album tracks on here (The Butcher/Daily Mail/Supercollider) and you have something more substantial but still wanting, and I maintain that three of the album's songs sound like Thom Yorke solo diddling or b-side experimentation. It sounds cool to the ears but I ain't feeling anything.

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:46 AM   #93
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1. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (12)
2. dEUS - Keep You Close (12)
3. Radiohead - The King Of Limbs (11)
4. Destroyer - Kaputt (11)
5. Amatorski - tbc (10)
6. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will (8)
7. The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient (7)
8. The Antlers - Burst Apart (7)
9. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (6)
10. The Horrors - Skying (5)
11. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (3)
12. The Black Keys - El Camino (3)
13. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See (3)
14. Russian Circles - Empros (1)
15. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (1)
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:28 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by nielsgov View Post
Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:06 AM   #95
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That Mogwai album title sounds like something Scumbo would say over the barrel of the musket he's pointing at someone.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:03 PM   #96
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I really enjoyed 2011 for music, lots of great stuff this year. You'll see from the points which 5 albums were my favorites, but there's no real order or ranking aside from that.

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming 10
It makes me happy to M83 finally getting some long deserved exposure and success, and it makes me happier that they're getting it with a great album.

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake 10
This is the first intelligent sounding political record I've heard in years, great music as well.

Destroyer - Kaputt 10
See my comments on Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and replace "M83" with "Destroyer".

Washed Out - Within and Without 10
I'm pretty sure I love everything this guy has released.

Beirut - The Rip Tide 10
His most accessible and "fun" album to date, includes many of my most listened to tracks of the year.

Okkervil River - I Am Very Far 5
Not the most cohesive or thematic Okkervil River album, but there are a lot of great tracks.

Black Lips - Arabia Mountain 5
Incredibly fun album, probably my overall favorite of theirs to date.

VNV Nation - Automatic 5
The best VNV Nation album in years. If you at all liked alternative dance / electronic bands of the '80's and early '90's, you really should give this a shot.

Mogwai - The Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will 5
They're still better than all the imitators.

Bon Iver - Bon Iver 5
Wish it would have been released in the winter instead of the summer, as it grew on me considerably once the weather got cold.

Danger Mouse & Danielle Lupi - Rome 5
I like westerns, I like this.

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues 5
Another great Fleet Foxes release.

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo 5
Rockin' and relaxin', relaxin' and rockin'.

REM - Collapse Into Now 5
My favorite REM album since the '90's. Sad that it will be their last, but glad it was a great one.

Radiohead - The King of Limbs 5
A "disappointing" Radiohead album is still better than a "good" album by most other artists.

Honorable Mentions
Low - C'Mon, TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light, Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, The Decemberists - The King is Dead, The Black Keys - El Camino, tUnE-yArDs - WHOKILL, St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:16 PM   #97
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ZOMG we have the same #1!!!

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Old 01-02-2012, 01:25 PM   #98
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:47 PM   #99
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Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far, great reading

Here's mine:

Top 15 Albums of 2011

Destroyer – Kaputt (15 points)

Not only the best album of the year, but the best I’ve heard since In Rainbows. After initially ignoring the album due to my misconception it was death metal, it took a few spins for the album to sink in. But once it did, it became firmly ensconced in my head. Now whenever I listen to the album I am transported to a happy place from the moment the Spanish guitars, gentle drums and subtle horns of Chinatown begin. Dan Bejar's lilting vocal is polarising but I can't imagine these songs, under the leadership of anyone else, being half as affecting or alluring. A lot was made of this album's 80s-leaning music – most critics barely containing their distaste for it whilst praising the band for pulling it off – but not for one second is it over the top. Each song has been my favourite at some point, and not one is anything less than eight or nine out of ten. The gorgeous Blue Eyes, the contemplative Suicide Demo For Kara Walker, the brilliant Downtown with its lovely synth washes... and this is not to mention the stellar title track or the ambient-disco-for-one of Bay of Pigs. I love it that much it has cracked my top 20 all-time.

Bon Iver – s/t (10 points)

I give this five less only to demonstrate how far ahead Kaputt was for me this year. Bon Iver's second album is remarkable and really benefits from a full band sound in comparison to For Emma Forever Ago. Nothing here quite jumps out at you like Skinny Love, The Wolves or Re: Stacks but instead the whole album works brilliantly as a cohesive piece. I've had the album for months; I would struggle to name all the songs on the album but that's not a knock. Perth is remarkable, and one of the best songs of the year and like iYup said, Beth/Rest comes along just in time to ensure the album has a memorable finish after it lulls slightly in the second half. There's been a lot of music that sounds like it could have been released decades ago in the past few years but I don't think any song captures this as well as Beth/Rest.

Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne (9 points)

Hip-hop's two biggest superstars release an album together hot on the heels of the MBDTF. It's the stuff dreams are made of and Watch the Throne didn't disappoint in the slightest. Hardly a misstep on the album, even if a few of the tracks are somewhat slight, and that's a huge achievement for a hip-hop album. No Church in the Wild is deliciously brooding, whereas Niggas in Paris – an instant classic – even manages to sample Blades of Glory and throw in a bit of dubstep and still makes it work. Otis and The Joy sample two black soul superstars with great success, there's dope spots everywhere. One other thing that needs to be remembered too is that Jay-Z is largely on song for most of the album, a welcome return to form after the spotty Blueprint 3.

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (8 points)

Ah, Coldplay. One of the most polarising bands on the internet. I was very excited about this album, having loved most of Viva La Vida and been blown away by songs such as Lost and Strawberry Swing. So when I first heard Every Band On My Finger Represents A Starving Child In The Horn Of Africa I was pretty disappointed. A massive step back, I felt, after the positive signs of Viva La Vida, what with its aggressively annoying synths and piss-poor lyrics. My excitement was tempered even further when it was announced Moving to Mars would not be on the album, and the follow-up single, Paradise, didn't set my world on fire. So boy oh boy was I surprised upon finally hearing the album to discover an incredible catchy album with awesome choruses, soaring guitar riffs, modern r&b production and a whole lot more. Hurts Like Heaven and Charlie Brown are two of the best songs the band has done but the entire thing is just one big, life-affirming joy to listen to, particularly when played loud. In the hands of a lesser band this would an awful album but Coldplay pull it off perfectly. I think the fact I now dearly love Every Teardrop is the biggest testament I can pay this album.

Arctic Monkeys – Suck it and See (8 points)

This album was probably my biggest surprise of the year. I've never been a fan of the band. Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor never did much for me, and I found Turner's voice and their music as a whole quite abrasive. So I was thrilled to find an album full of catchy hooks and great guitar lines. The influences are there for all to hear but I think that gives the album more charm. It's impeccably sequenced, mixing harder tracks like Brick By Brick and Don't Sit Down... with some great pop/rock songs like Reckless Serenade or Love is a Laserquest. A pleasure to listen to from start to finish.

M83 – Hurry Up We're Dreaming (8 points)

Song after song after song of huge, soaring guitars and synths and high-pitched vocals mixed in with some choice slower moments. It is too long but when there's songs like Intro, Reunion, Claudia Lewis, Raconte-Moi Une Histoire, My Tears Are Becoming A Sea, New Map, OK Pal, Steve McQueen, Outro, and, of course, Midnight Fucking City, who cares?

St Vincent – Strange Mercy (7 points)

This proved that I'm not a misogynist (now if only I could eradicate the homophobic and racist tags!!). Annie Clark is one exceptionally talented woman and this was one of the most impressive albums I heard this year in terms of scope and range. Some scintillating guitar work (Surgeon!!), insatiably catchy pop tunes (Cruel) and some more contemplative moments (Year of the Tiger). Clever and sometimes funny lyrics and I can't wait to see her live.

TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light (7 points)

The record itself is a bit all over the place, bouncing from big rockers to piano ballads, but the play counts for most of the songs speak for themselves. Second Song and Will Do are among the best songs of the year, Keep Your Heart, Killer Crane and Forgotten are great too.

Radiohead – The King of Limbs (6 points)

Remember how cool it was when they said “The King of Limbs. Out Friday.”???!!! I didn’t experience the same sense of disappointment most others did because I immediately resigned myself to the fact that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as its predecessor. And it wasn’t, but there’s still plenty to like. Bloom is a brilliant opener, the craftsmanship is as good as anything they’ve done to date. The next three do little for me but the second half is pretty great stuff. I think scumbo sums it up best – an ordinary Radiohead album is better than a really good album by most artists. It’s been an exciting time to be a Radiohead fan though; the other tracks have ranged from good to great, Subterranean Homesick Alien is back in the setlist and Thom Yorke is dancing.

Liam Finn – Fomo (5 points)

If someone was to ask me, “what does indie music sound like?” this is the album I would recommend. The Finns are all incredibly talented and Liam brings his own brand of versatility to the table. Fomo (Fear of Missing Out) is not an especially memorable album but you can’t deny the strength of tracks such as Cold Feet, Chase the Seasons, Jump Your Bones… hell, pretty much all of it. If you get a chance to see this man live, do it, because there are very few artists I’ve seen who have a stage presence to match him. Hard to believe he’s not Tim’s son…

Washed Out – Within and Without (4 points)

Banned in Utah for its outrageous cover art and suggestively placed words, this album is one of the most enjoyable to return to. I’ll admit not many of the songs have stuck with me but when the weather is right it has suited perfectly. Feel It All Around remains my favourite of his tunes but the fact this album is such a joy to get through is a credit since chillwave is far from my favourite genre (I enjoyed this a hell of a lot more than Era Extrana). Before is my favourite song and the dude said he wants to work with Outkast. Enough said.

Thundercat – Golden Age of Apocalypse (4 points)

Thundercat appeared on Cosmogramma, which was the best of the instrumental albums to come out last year, so I was always going to listen to this one. While not quite as good it’s still a pleasure to listen to, perhaps even more so than Cosmogramma due to its shorter length and poppier textures. Daylight was one of the songs of the year, and tracks like Jamboree, Boat Cruise, Walkin’ were undeniable.

Gotye – Making Mirrors (4 points)

Second single Somebody I Used To Know took Australia and later the world by storm, what with its quirky-yet-completely-accessible music and Facebook<3-friendly lyrics. But there were plenty of other pleasures on the album for those willing to look. Save Me is as good a pop song as any that came out last year, State of the Art offered some terrific beats and the more contemplative moments were good too. Inconsistent but among the best albums Australia had to offer.

Tyler – Goblin (3 points)

Too long, too offensive and far too much aggrandisement but Yonkers, She, Nightmare, Analog, Her, Sandwitches and AU79 ensured it was a more-than-worthy purchase. If someone can manage to reign in the ugly tendencies of OFWGKTA we may very well see the return of quality mainstream hip-hop.

James Blake – James Blake (2 points)

A lot of boring moments in the second half when Blakey Boi ditches the beats and sits at the piano but the highlights here are proof that the word dubstep needn’t necessarily inspire projectile vomiting. Unluck, I Never Learnt To Share, The Wilhelm Scream, Lindisfarne II, Limit To Your Love… that’s the shit.

Honourable Mentions

Big Scary – Vacation
Yuck – s/t
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Mirror Traffic
Frank Ocean – Nostalgia Ultra
Childish Gambino – Camp

Best 15 Songs, no order, one song per artist

Big Scary – Leaving Home
CunninLynguists – Stars Shine Brightest
Tyler – She (ft. Frank Ocean)
TV on the Radio –Will Do
Talib Kweli – Gutter Rainbows
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Senator
St Vincent – Cruel
RHCP – Brendan’s Death Song
Jay-Z & Kanye – Niggas in Paris
Neon Indian – Polish Girl
Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise
Cut Copy – Need You Now
Bon Iver – Perth
Junior Boys – Banana Ripple
M83 – Midnight City

Ten Best Albums Not Released in 2011 That I Heard for the First Time In Order

Wu-Tang Clan – 36 Chambers

Not my favourite hip-hop album (Aquemini) but I’m not sure I’ll ever hear a better rap album. A lot is made of RZA’s production so I’ll admit when I first heard it I wasn’t too impressed. But more listens revealed how good it is – he lays down a beat befitting of the rappers and then gets out of the way. Protect Ya Neck is my favourite hip-hop song ever now. It is just one absolutely killer verse after the other. Also one of the very few hip-hop albums I’ve heard where the skits add something. “I’ll fuckin, I’ll fuckin sow yo asshole shut and keep feedin you and feedin you and feedin you…”

David Bowie – Station to Station

Can’t believe it took me this long to get to this album. Definitely one of his best despite there only being six tracks. The title track is everything I love about late 70s Bowie, going from industrial noise to yearning soul to krautrock dance. The final three or so minutes is as good dance music as has ever been released, by anyone, ever. Then you’ve got the fucking awesome Stay, the catchy funk of Golden Years and dance of TVC15 and Bowie at his plastic soul crooning best on Word on a Wing and Wild is the Wind.

TV on the Radio – Cookie Mountain

I was hooked from the second I heard the synth drone in I Was a Lover. Aside from Method there’s hardly a misstep. Wolf Like Me and Blues From Down Here alone place TVOTR in the upper echelon of rock bands making music today and Tonight and Wash the Day Away is a killer combo to finish the album.

Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

An absolutely ridiculous amount of fun. Get in your car on a late afternoon, crank the bass up and be transported to a hazy Atlanta dungeon full of blunts and big booty bitches. Could do with an edit (but most hip-hop albums could) but the funk will blow your head off. Sleepy Brown stars.

Destroyer – Rubies

So good it’s ridiculous. Listening to this I am blown because nearly every track is killer. Rubies through 3000 Flowers is almost flawless and the last four tracks are all great as well. Painter in Your Pocket is indie pop/rock perfection, Looters’ Follies is perhaps the best David Bowie song the man himself didn’t write, Watercolours into the Ocean is gorgeous and hearing Destroyer turn themselves into a drunken pub band on the closer Sick Priest Learns to Live Forever is a hell of a lot of fun.

Outkast – ATLiens

Incredible unique. Hard to believe they followed up a straight-up p-funk debut with intergalactic space hip-hop. There’s very little to dance to here, but give it a chance in a car late at night, or in your room with good headphones – and really listen to the lyrics – and you’ll fall in love. The title track features some of the most skilled rapping in the game – Big Boi’s first verse surely rates up there with the classics – and contemplative tracks like Elevators, Mainstream and 13th Floor are irrefutable proof that classic hip-hop exists outside of the tunes everyone knows.

GZA – Liquid Swords

Definitely a grower. You won’t be blown at first but every listen will have you addicted to another song. Swordsman has been my most played song of the year, B.I.B.L.E., rapped entirely by Killah Priest, is a mastercraft, and Shadowboxin’, 4th Chamber and Duel of the Iron Mic feature killer guest spots from other members of the clan. Masterful production from RZA – better than on 36 Chambers in my opinion. On tracks like Cold World you almost want to put a jumper on, such is the landscape he creates.

Bon Iver – For Emma Forever Ago

Guy gets dumped, gets very ill, goes to live in the woods by himself for months to record solo acoustic album. That screams “stay the fuck away” but Justin Vernon is that talented that he manages to pull it off brilliantly. You can hear him ripping his heart out on Skinny Love, you can see him sitting by the fire staring at the stars on The Wolves and you see him turn a slight corner on Re: Stacks. Timeless.

Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights

I actually didn’t listen to this album more than two or three times but I place it here because I know I loved it and deserved many more listens. Great song after great song proves they were a good band before they became a horrendously boring opening band, a band so boring that sitting down on beer-drenched stadium floors, facing away from the stage, reading a magazine, was far better than watching them perform the same song 10 times in a row.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – s/t

Track after track after track of hip-hop influenced brass. Lengthy, but never outstays its welcome. Highly recommended if you are after skilful but insatiably fun jazz.

Honourable Mentions

Daft Punk – Homework
Dr Dre – The Chronic
Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones
Pavement – Crooked Rain
Okkervil River – The Stage Names
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:01 PM   #100
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You hadn't heard The Chronic before this year, Cobbler? That surprises me a bit. But damn am I glad that you now have Station to Station in your collection.

By the way, how do you feel about Princess of China?
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:13 PM   #101
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No I hadn't! You would think I'd have all the album covers tattooed on my body the way I talk about hip-hop but there's actually a great deal I've never heard.

I love Princess of China. One of my very favourite Rihanna moments.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:32 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by cobl04 View Post
I love Princess of China. One of my very favourite Rihanna moments.
Yeah, it is one of my favorite songs of the year. That lead synth line is frequently stuck in my head.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #103
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The "coulda been a princess..." chorus and the "you really hurt me..." part is the most I've ever liked Rihanna.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:40 PM   #104
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Not in the mood to rank or write reviews, but I'll list the best albums that I listened to in 2011 that were released in 2011.

The King Is Dead - Decemberists
Bad As Me - Tom Waits
Kaputt - Destroyer
Dye It Blonde - Smith Westerns
Eternal Loop Dream - Inhale
Empros - Russian Circles

I'm sure there's a couple more, but Spotify doesn't store my listening history long enough for me to remember any others. I could do what Cobbler did and list the best albums that were simply new to me this year, but we'd be here all night if I did that.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:12 PM   #105
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13 lists so far. Still waiting on more (including my own), but I imagine I'll probably take this to the bank within the next couple of weeks.

The current top three are separated by just four points. DRAMA.

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