A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
Spotify finally arrived in the US in 2011, and at the time, digital releases meant iTunes downloads. Vinyl album releases still came with CDs to go with them.
Like 2012, the 2011 Favorite Edition doesn’t alter the original list very much, and releases from that year haven’t really made its way into my collection since then.
Duran Duran, All You Need Is Now
Kuriyama Chiaki, CIRCUS
Chiara String Quartet, Jefferson Freidmann: String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3
SuiseiNoboAz, THE (OVERUSED) END OF THE WORLD and I MISS YOU MUH-FUH
MO’SOME TONEBENDER, MO’SOME TONEBENDER
Matt Alber, Constant Crows
James Blake, James Blake
Steve Reich, WTC 9/11 / Mallet Quartet / Dance Patterns
Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Here We Rest
Frank Ocean, nostalgia, ULTRA
Other favorites from the year:
Edwin Outwater, From Here On Out (Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony)
Kronos Quartet / Kimmo Pohjonen / Samuli Kosminen, Uniko
NOW Ensemble, Awake
The Decemberists, The King Is Dead
itsnotyouitsme, Everybody’s Pain Is Magnificent
John Lunn, Downton Abbey
Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys
Abigail Washburn, City of Refuge
Jason Isbell and Frank Ocean are retroactive additions. I wouldn’t have been aware of either artist before 2011. nostalgia, ULTRA is probably Ocean’s best album, and Here We Rest shows Isbell prepared for the breakthrough of Southeastern two years later.
Kronos Quartet and The Decemberists get bumped from the Favorite 10 as a result.
Edwin Outwater is a late discovery but also emblematic of the music I was exploring at the time. His album with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony is about as literal as you can get with the term “indie classical”.
2011 was also the final year I lived in Austin, Texas. I didn’t get around to posting the year-end list till March 2012 because I was busy with my move to Seattle in January.