With Christmas fast approaching and the thick end of 2011 behind us, it’s time to take stock and look back at the albums that soundtracked our year – and what better way to do that than a good old fashioned top 10 list!?
We’ve gone back through all of our album reviews over the past 12 months, had a few (slightly heated) arguments, and come up with our top 10 albums of 2011, which we start off here with numbers 6 to 10.
Be sure to check All-Noise over the next week or so as we count down to the very best album of 2011.
Number 10 – Friendly Fires, Pala
It’s hard to look back on 2011’s summer festival season shenanigans and not reminisce about how great Friendly Fires’ second album sounded when drunk in a muddy field. Honestly, who didn’t let loose and dance like idiots to ‘Live Those Days Tonight’!? We know we did, and we loved it.
Pala might not be the most cerebral or innovative of albums, but it was certainly the most fun – and the perfect soundtrack to BBQ’s, beer garden sessions and festivals.
What our review said: “the boys from St. Albans have produced possibly the most unashamedly sunny and joyful album of glossy pop since crimped hair and shoulder pads went out of fashion!”
Number 9 – The Kills, Blood Pressures
Swampy, grungey, crunchy and cool as fuck – what more could you want from a rock album!? Blood Pressures cemented Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince as THE garage-rock band of choice, and showed there’s more to these two than celebrity wives and supergroup collaborations.
What our review said: “Blood Pressures is destined to be viewed as yet another solid and gloriously predictable garage-rock album – which, we expect, is exactly what The Kills intended.”
Number 8 – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
2011 saw the much anticipated return of The Chief, after he took a bit of a sabbatical following the implosion of Oasis. Predictably, most of the column inches since his return have concerned his increasingly nasty spat with Liam, which is a shame as this album features some stunning moments.
‘If I Had A Gun’ is probably our favourite, but throughout the album Noel demonstrates the effortless song-writing skills and effective turn of phrase we have been missing since that fateful night in Paris a few years ago.
Our initial review was a little bit harsh in hindsight, but the more we’ve listened to the album the more it has become a stand-out of 2011 – and much better than Beady Eye’s!
What our review said: “… it’s full of songs that sound suspiciously like they were intended for Liam to sing. But again, we have to stress; it isn’t really a bad album.”
Number 7 – Radiohead, The King Of Limbs
Oxford’s finest surprised us all in 2011 by dropping this album onto us from nowhere. While it’s certainly not the finest Radiohead album ever, it’s still more than good enough to stand out as an album of note – with memorable moments ranging from the funky grooves of ‘Little By Little’ and ‘Lotus Flower’ to the delicate and atmospheric electro of ‘Codex’ and ‘Separator’.
Not a classic by any means, but any Radiohead album will always be good enough to bother this kind of list.
What our review said: “The King Of Limbs does serve up a few sparks of genius… (but) the overall feeling of disappointment remains.”
Number 6 – Watch The Throne
Jay-Z and Kanye West. How could that be anything but amazing!? Their 2011 ‘The Throne’ hook-up has been on heavy rotation at All-Noise Towers since it was released in the summer, and provided 2011 with a much needed hip-hop flavour.
Watch The Throne was a much hyped album, which is always dangerous, but the combination of Kanye West’s slick production and Jay-Z’s peerless delivery ensured it lived up to the high expectations.
What our review said: “(An) album full of restless creativity and inventive reinterpretations of the well-worn hip-hop blueprint.”