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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 16, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 50
BEST OF MUSIC 2011:
Albums and singles
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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BEST OF MUSIC 2011:
Albums and singles

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

BEST ALBUMS OF 2011

1) El Camino - The Black Keys
Aside from the fact Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are unusually sexy - they are, trust me - the two-piece act managed to push this equally potent follow-up to 2010's Brothers out at the last possible minute. Every song is a great song, and together with Danger Mouse (producer, co-writer), they're in total control of the steering wheel. Best track: 'Run Right Back.'

2) Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes Seattle's own Fleet Foxes already sound legendary after just two releases. Earthy and spirited, the six-man folk ensemble leapt beyond 2008's stellar debut with an album that showed progression and continued adoration for all things outdoorsy - green apples, anyone? Best track: 'The Shrine/An Argument.'

3) 21 - Adele Adele achieved that rare balance of critical merit and commercial dominance in 2011 with a sophomore record that even true hipsters couldn't resist downloading. Best track: 'Rolling in the Deep.'

4) The Whole Love - Wilco Never one to disappoint, the Chicago band's newest gem drew easy comparisons to 2002's masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. You gotta love Jeff Tweedy. Best track: 'I Might.'

5) Hell on Heels - Pistol Annies Miranda Lambert has been consistently solid on her own, but enlisting the help of Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley on this trio project proved that her gutsiness and skill extends further on. Pistol Annies = badass cowgirls. Best track: 'Bad Example.'

6) Bon Iver - Bon Iver Looking more like a cable electrician than a pop poet, Justin Vernon turned the straightest of dudes into crybabies with a collection of delicate, whispery songs that are purely ageless. Best track: 'Holocene.'

7) The Light is On - Jill Scott Though she's spread her talents to acting, R&B sistah Jill Scott is at her fiercest in front of a microphone. Best track: 'Shame.'

8) Chief - Eric Church Slightly redneck but with finesse - like wearing a suit to a NASCAR event - is how to describe this unexpected plum from country star Church. Best track: 'Creepin'.'

9) Ceremonials - Florence + the Machine Any worries that Florence Welch was a one-album wonder were squashed with the release of her second standout in a row, a considerably stronger effort than 2009's Lungs. Best track: 'Spectrum.'

10) Tomboy - Panda Bear Noah Lennox flexes his solo muscle on an album chock full of groovy experimental pop tracks, satisfying Animal Collective fans until their next studio release. Best track: 'Slow Motion.'

BEST SINGLES OF 2011

1) 'Rolling in the Deep' - Adele
Incredibly, this wasn't an immediate hit for Adele. 'Rolling in the Deep' gradually caught wind after its initial release and became the year's most-listened-to single. Artistically, it was her biggest step forward.

2) 'Holocene' - Bon Iver Lumberjack type Justin Vernon is the least likely candidate to craft endearing, open-hearted ballads. But he does so marvelously with a song that humbly admits to his being a small fragment in this big, beautiful world that can change at an instant.

3) 'We Found Love' - Rihanna (featuring Calvin Harris) God bless you, Rihanna, for sneaking in another club scorcher right before New Year's Eve, this time with cutie pie Calvin Harris.

4) 'Ghost on the Canvas' - Glen Campbell The 'Rhinestone Cowboy' crooner reemerged from semi-obscurity with this stunning title track off his latest album.

5) 'Pumped Up Kicks' - Foster The People Was there a mellower, catchier tune in 2011 than FTP's debut hit, inspired by an Omaha shooting a few years back? I think not.

6) 'You and I' - Lady Gaga I have no idea what Lady G is talking about here - um, who's the Nebraska guy wearing high heels? - but it's Mama Monster's best ditty to date.

7) 'Mona Lisa' - Atlas Sound (featuring Andrew VanWyngarden) Deerhunter lead singer Bradford Cox, once Gay and now asexual, goes solo and the result is a blissful, three-minute track featuring MGMT's scruffier half.

8) 'Audio, Video, Disco' - Justice Ending a three-year drought, French electronic duo Justice finally release a brand-new single - and it just grows and grows and grows on you.

9) 'Make Some Noise' - Beastie Boys Vintage Beastie Boys. Enough said.

10) 'How Deep is Your Love?' - The Rapture Never heard of this New York City rock band? Start here, please.

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BEST OF MUSIC 2011:
Albums and singles

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BEST OF MUSIC: Hottest artists of 2011
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BEST OF MUSIC 2011: LIVE PERFORMANCES by Albert Rodriguez and Jessica Price
SGN A&E Writers


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BEST OF MUSIC 2011:
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

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BEST OF MUSIC: Worst of music 2011
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Lashes Christmas Show - R Place's holiday must-see
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Homo for the Holidays a one-of-a-kind holiday smash
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Hillary Clinton's most impressive speech on human/lgbt rights in Geneva ...most incredible


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The genius of Jason Robert Brown
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Scorsese's Hugo pure cinematic magic
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Muppets still make a rainbow connection
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Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
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Northwest News
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Letters
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Owen Meany's Christmas an enjoyable night
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A Dyke About Town: Cris Williamson glows
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Blu-ray enhances great Mahler
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Dramatic and poignant, Tori Amos stills the Paramount
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Wacky Wisemen skewers the holidays
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