I was fortunate enough to be a participant in voting for One Thirty BPM's Top 50 Albums of 2011. Having an inside look at a big site making their big year-end list really made me realize how divergent the opinions of the blogosphere illuminati can be. It seems like I should know that by now — that everyone has wildly different opinions and tastes — but when you're following the currents of the indie rock blogosphere, you sometimes wonder how all these people know what narrative to build. Is it a musical elite thing? Do they have skill sand knowledge and expertise that hone in on the same objectively good album?As it turns out, everyone's just true to their personal tastes, everyone will be apathetic to someone else's #1, and the best album of the year is just whatever landed as everyone's #7. Below is my top 10 albums for 2011 — or at least it is for right now. Arranging the music of an entire year into 10 spots is difficult and sometimes feels arbitrary, so it's hard to stick to one list for very long. This isn't even the exact order I voted on, and if I could go back and change it, this still might not be the order I want. There's a reason I submitted my votes under the wire.
But that's just the run of the mill trouble that comes with thinking about art. It's all just feelings and thoughts, chiseled into defined ideas until it feels right by us. These are the things I liked best in 2011, at this very moment. Card subject to change
10. The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient
When I listen to this album, I think of Bob Dylan. That's not the first touchstone people tend to name, but when I hear opener "Best Night" kick into high gear, it sounds like the modern iteration of the perfect wall of sound in "Like A Rolling Stone." Adam Granduciel doesn't write like Dylan, but there are constant moments where he hits a familiar inflection. He works so well in those strange, weary Dylan melodies, where the vocals don't play as you expect them to, they just sort of swerve and evaporate into the air. It's like if Prime Dylan was backed by Broken Social Scene singing someone else's songs.