My Two Favorite Albums of 2011

I didn’t procure many albums this year, given my un(der)employment. Most of what I got was purchased when I was working a little or far more often when people bought stuff for me and/or gave me Amazon gift certificates.1 Still, I don’t have a ton of new music this year. I only have two albums that I dearly love: Adele’s 21 and Josh Garrels’s Love & War & the Sea in Between, which I wrote about back in July. There’s not much for me to say about 21 that hasn’t been said better by others. I will say that “Someone Like You” makes me sad because of how co-dependent it is. “One and Only” is a killer torch song and is the best track for my money.

Given that you can still get L&W&tSiB for free, go spend $10 and get two great albums. Go on.


Here’s the thing with these two records: I will remember them as being a part of my 2011. I will remember being so moved by “Bread & Wine” that I had to pull over to the side of the road as I drove to my parents’ house. I will remember listening to “Someone Like You” and thinking about how I, too, had been that foolish. These songs echoed in my ears in the two coffee shops where I spent a lot of 2011.2 They have pushed me to look at life a little differently through the lens of their lyrics. In the coming years, I may decide that one of the honorable mentions below is the best record I got in this year—this has happened before.3 For now, these are my two.

Honorable mentions: Over the Rhine’s The Long Surrender technically came out 1 Jan, but I was a sponsor of that record all the way back in 2010 when I had a job and all that. The Decemberists’ The King Is Dead is the one record I wanted to buy when I actually had a dollar to my name. Radiohead’s The King of Limbs was almost as much of a must-buy, and while it’s not a killer Radiohead record, it would be a killer record from any other band. Lastly, The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow was something I got when someone bestowed some musical goodness into my life. Will Carroll cracked me up with “It took me forever to figure it out, but his album sounds like breakup sex,” but he’s kinda right about that.

What were yours?


  1. You know who you are. Thank you. 

  2. If you’re wondering how I can afford to do that, you haven’t seen how well I’ve trained these baristas to give me free or ridiculously cheap coffee. Being the Cool Regular has its perks, y’all. 

  3. See OK Computer, which I didn’t understand for two or three years. Oops.