With the New Year finally here, we pause a moment to bid 2011 farewell. From music industry megaliths like Pitchfork and NME to rinky-dink bloggers beaming tomes of their beautiful enthusiasm out of Mom’s basement directly at no one in particular, seemingly everybody has been counting down the cream of last year’s musical crop. Now in no particular order we look briefly at the greatest of these lists—the best of ‘The Best Music of 2011’.
Kevin Bronson—“Buzz Bands LA’s favorite local albums of the year”
Veteran music journalist Kevin Bronson counts up the twenty best albums to have emerged last year from the music scene here in Los Angeles. You’ll find a couple LPs from heavyweight headliners (e.g., Foster the People, Cold War Kids) but also a treasure trove of music by lesser-known local bands.
Beyoncé—“Beyoncé’s favorite songs of 2011”
Beyoncé opts for minimalism, listing her ten favorite songs and the artists who made them and nothing else. The “Countdown” superstar doesn’t even count down. She earns a spot on this list for that exhilarating conciseness, and also for being the only person in the world who likes both Justin Bieber and James Blake.
Rob Sheffield—“The Top 25 Songs of 2011”
The Rolling Stone columnist offers up an overtly subjective retrospective. He selects songs based not on their quality but rather how much he enjoys them. (This might explain why, for example, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” makes the cut.) That professedly personal style makes for a perhaps more honest and certainly more entertaining ‘best of’ list.
Amoeba Music—“Amoeba’s YouTube Playlist of the Best Music of 2011”
Staff members at the California record store chain have released their favorite picks from last year in the form of a music video playlist. This format accommodates our short attention spans, sparing us from stupid boring words and letting us watch totally awesome videos instead. To boot, as one might expect from the employees at those eclectically-stocked superstores, this is an impressively varied selection of songs.
Pitchfork—“Pitchfork Readers Poll”
Perhaps merely by virtue of the site’s hugeness, reviews on Pitchfork attract a lot of dissent. And this readers’ poll empowers the dissidents. Particularly enjoyable are the ‘Most Underrated Album’ section, where scorned Childish Gambino fans strike back, and the ‘Most Overrated Album’ section, which rubbishes a laundry list of Pitchfork darlings.