I’m pretty terrible at making these top 20 lists, but I keep forcing myself to make them because I think they are important. I love going back to my old lists and seeing what was important to me back then. I should also say it’s for 2 good reasons that I’m a poor top 20 list maker.
The first reason is that when making my lists I am always worried that I may have forgotten an album or haven’t given one enough time. On numerous occasions it has happened that January or February (or October) of the next year I will stumble across an album from the previous year and wonder how I had never heard of it before or why I didn’t have more interest in it earlier. I am a firm believer that how much you like an album is often directly related to how much time you put into getting to know the album so I want to give each album it’s rightful chance to make my list.
The second reason I am such a terrible top 20 list maker is that it is a serious task for me… I take this shit VERY seriously! The process goes like this… collect all of the albums that I found and really enjoyed over the the year. For 2011 I had 90 albums make this list. From there I begin categorizing. I have a “Top 20”, an “In Contention”, a “Runner Up”, and a “Not Quite” column that I file each album into. My categorization is based on a careful weighing of 1) how much I keep coming back to the album (joy I get from listening to it), 2) it’s personal relevance (how emotionally connected I will be in the future looking back on the album), and 3) it’s social relevance (how much I respect the album as a piece of art).
So all that being said… I present… in mid July of 2012… the Top 20 Albums of 2011 (according to Aaron Vanderzwan). Log into Spotify to listen to tracks from the albums.
Top 20 Albums of 2011
Radiohead – The King of Limbs
Monarchy – Around the Sun
Wye Oak – Civilian
The Naked and Famous – Passive Me Aggressive You
Das Racist – Relax
The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck
The Whip – Wired Together
Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys
Hooray for Earth – True Loves
The Airborne Toxic Event – All At Once
I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
A.A. Bondy – Believers
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
Architecture in Helsinki – Moment Bends
Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix
Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
The Antlers – Burst Apart
Bon Iver – Bon Iver