2011 Music Review

With LMFAO celebrating that their party rocking is the most downloaded track of the year and the charts conquered by Adele; the 90’s retro sounds of Guetta-like productions and Michael Bublé crooning his way to the biggest sales figures this Christmas, it is safe to assume 2011 won’t go into history books as a year of musical excellence. A new generation of bands revisiting the sounds of 90’s indie rock and grunge has failed so far to produce any outstanding work. While individual tracks remained the king, with the EP still strengthening as a favoured format for new acts to deliver their songs, all of which underlines a growing lack of remarkable full-length efforts. Only our album of the year, PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’, can be unanimously claimed as a true classic. The rest of the lot paled in comparison.

However, not everything is lost, and even when the indie, electronica and alt-folk scenes were giving signs of exhaustion, salvation came in the most unexpected of shapes, from the world of R&B with a new batch of producers and artists ready to challenge the genre and move forward towards more interesting shores; blurring the boundaries between indie shoegaze, hip-hop and R&B, past and present, into a new brand of urban sounds that’s taking the world by storm, helped by the fact that some of them offered their music for free. The Odd Future collective has crashed into the rap scene with rising stars such as Tyler, The Creator; Mellowhype or the soulful vocalist, bound to be the most popular of the lot, Frank Ocean. Canadian producer Abel Tesfaye, under his The Weeknd moniker, delivered his albums as mixtapes available for all to download, which in turn saw his profile boosted as one of the most in demand remixers of the planet –everyone from his pal Drake to Lady Gaga demanding his services.

Some long awaited sophomore efforts broke up the curse of that difficult second album. Bon Iver; Real Estate and tUnE-yArDs, among many others, made the art of following up a successful debut look easy. Veteran favourites (Tom Waits; Gillian Welch Kate Bush and the late Gil-Scott Heron, reworked by Jamie XX) delivered notable records. It was also a good year for those who enjoy a foray into experimental grounds with Tim Hecker; Colin Stetson or Andy Stott bringing some ground-breaking pieces of work.

TOP 50 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
TOP 100 TRACKS OF THE YEAR (1-25)
TOP 100 TRACKS OF THE YEAR (26-50)
TOP 100 TRACKS OF THE YEAR (51-75)
TOP 100 TRACKS OF THE YEAR (76-100)
TOP 100 TRACKS OF THE YEAR (NEW ARTISTS BUBBLING UNDER)
DISAPPOINTMENTS OF THE YEAR
SPECIAL MENTIONS: IN THE CHARTS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: HARD SOUNDS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: EXPERIMENTAL
SPECIAL MENTIONS: SONGWRITERS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: VETERAN ARTISTS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: COMPILATIONS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: REISSUES
SPECIAL MENTIONS: URBAN SOUNDS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: ELECTRONICA
SPECIAL MENTIONS: HISPANIC ARTISTS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: BLOG ROCK
THE 2011 ROBER AWARDS MUSIC POLL

This post is also available in: Spanish