Monday, December 19, 2011

For Rob So Loved the World: Music Jerk Rob's Favorite Albums of 2011

A beautiful, elegant machine for making end-of-year best-of lists.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms what my mother has been telling anyone who will listen--I, Rob Vera, am an excellent writer.  Gifted, talented, and strikingly handsome when it comes to writing, what I'm about to say will likely shock and possibly even sadden you: This year's 2011 favorite album list blog entry will be both economical and downright thin on the verbiage compared to last year.

Let's be honest.  You people don't read anymore.  I'd be shocked if you even made it as far as that last sentence.  And if you do read, it's Twilight or The Help or US Weekly or your Twitter feed.  You've barely got any "smart" headspace left and what you do have left, I'd rather make good use of while ensuring there's room for some essential music to feed your heart, your soul, and that big vacant space in your work day where "work" is supposed to be but where something called "Facebook" actually resides.  Also--thanks to Apple products--I'm nearly incapable of typing anything anymore without expecting my misspelled words to just "figure out" a way to correct themselves.  I mean, who has the time to type words into sentences and paragraphs correctly or is willing to go back and make edits?  "Correct spelling" and "editing" all sound like part of some high-minded liberal agenda that I frankly want no part of.

So let's do this.  A few changes from last year:

1.  Due to a music year far deeper in terms of quality albums than any in recent memory, I'm going with a nice round number of twenty-one selections.  Twenty-one isn't a round number?  Well, excuse me for living. 

2.  After a couple years of picking my favorite albums without ranking any of them (with the notable exception of naming a favorite), I've decided to bring back rankings.  I've done this in order to ensure the highest possible likelihood of pissing off my good friend and fellow music blogger Jake.  I mean, can our relationship survive Bon Iver not making this list???  Guess we're just gonna have to find out.

3.  In lieu of reviews I've included my favorite lyrical reference from each album which I will provide no context for.  What a fun bit, eh?

4.  One holdover from last year--I've included a Music Jerk Rob's Favorite Albums of 2011 Sampler playlist that includes one selection from each album that I haven't previously included on any previous blog playlist.  Merry Christmas.  And you're welcome.

In closing, all these albums are excellent and there are so many more I could include if I wanted this list to be ridiculously long.  But I don't have the time or brainpower or marginal work ethic for all that. However, I do look forward to discussing/fighting about this list and music, in general, for the foreseeable future with you.  That's how much I love you.

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Life Is Simple in the Moonlight":

"It's addiction of routine as well
Making fools out of the best of us
Making robots of the rest of us
Innocence itself in America today
Is a crime just like Cornel West might say."

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Please Ask for Help"

"You're like a puzzle that can't be solved,
Missing pieces never fill the gaps
You got the salt and I got the wound,
But, all you gotta do is ask."

19.  Father, Son, Holy Ghost by Girls (True Panther Sounds)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Honey Bunny"

"I know you're somewhere
And nothing's ever gonna phase me
You'll look at me and know I'm the one
And you will love me
For all the reasons everyone hates me."

18.  The King of Limbs by Radiohead (Ticker Tape Ltd.)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Separator"

"Just exactly as I remember
Every word
Every gesture
I've my heart in my mouth
Like I'm falling out of bed
From a long and vivid dream
Finally I'm free of all the weight I've been carrying."

17.  Ashes & Fire by Ryan Adams (Capitol)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Lucky Now"

"And the lights will draw you in
And the dark will take you down
And the night will break your heart
But only if you’re lucky now."

16.  Save Your Season by Mint Julep (Village Green)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "No Letting Go"

"Please take me away from here
Barricaded in our bedroom
Put your hand in mine, my dear
As we watch the world disappear."

15.  Within and Without by Washed Out (Sub Pop)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Eyes Be Closed"

"Rising up you float outside yourself
Find the source of light
You fly home, you go closer now
Rising towards the light..."

14.  Underneath the Pine by Toro Y Moi (Carpark)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "New Beat"

"Got left surrounded
By my old things
Thought I had moved on.
Tried to make ends meet
But picked up a new beat
And so I laid out
But even now when they fall into place
I think about 'em then."

13.  One Thousand Pictures by Pete and The Pirates (Stolen Recordings)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Half Moon Street"

"My thoughts are tearing each other apart
In the back of the car
Conversations probably gone too far
You keep me guessing
Tongue tied and messy
Don't make me feel stupid
I'll do that on my own
Put the key in and just start believing
That you're going to hell if you have fun this evening
Come to me telling me all kinds of secrets
Promises promised I think I can keep it."

12.  Tamer Animals by Other Lives (TBD Records)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Tamer Animals"

"Oh, living for the city and it's always troubling
To keep it in the hot lane, I don't care about no scenery
And you run from it then, now you can't escape, cause it's all you see
But we're all just an end to a simple thing, and it's all you see, and it's all you see."

11.  Nine Types of Light by TV On the Radio (DGC/Interscope)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Will Do"

"Your love makes a fool of you, you can't seem to understand
Our heart doesn't play by rules and love has it's own demands
But I'll be there to take care of you if ever you should decide
But you don't want to waste your life in the middle of a lovesick lullaby."

10.  Departing by The Rural Alberta Advantage (Saddle Creek)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Good Night"

"Plug the radiator in the car,
I can see the words you're screaming in the frost.
Rush into the woods where we first felt God,
It rippled through our veins from the moment when we touched
The city's love is cold and the city's love is hard,
It locks into our veins from the first September's frost,
And someday if you get it together in your heart,
Maybe we might get back together, but goodnight."

9.  Sound Kapital by Handsome Furs (Sub Pop)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Memories of the Future"

"I threw my hands to the sky, I let my memories go
I threw my hands to the sky, I let my memories go
And I feel alone, I feel alone
I feel alone, I feel alone
I feel alone but it feels alright."

8.  Actor-Caster by Generationals (Park the Van)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Dirty Mister Dirty"

"The rest won't take this riot lying down
How they do make that sound
You always said your friends can teach us how
Oh can they now?
Maybe then I'll fall in love with you."

7.  Dye It Blonde by Smith Westerns (Fat Possum)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Imagine Pt. 3"

"In corners of your heart I tried to make love grow
Imagine all the windows if the walls are out of stone
Oh can't you see, what you're doing to me?
But you've always got me coming back for more."

6.  Kaputt by Destroyer (Merge)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Chinatown"

"You can't believe,
Though I'm sure somebody's said it before:
I know you and I know the score...
I can't walk away, you can't walk away..."

5.  The English Riviera by Metronomy (Because Music)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "She Wants"

"Then twitching lips
And twitching arms
And there you're lying
Your make up on them
Oh, Girl if you're dreaming deep tonight
I'll lie with you by reading light
A glass of water by your side
I'm gone in hopes of getting tired."

4.  Megafaun by Megafaun (Hometapes)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "You Are the Light"

"Sin is insignificant
It anchors your fear
Pain is just a window
Through which you'll see clear
Hear my affirmation
I am the light
The light of the Lord
Join in our elation for we are the light
The same light inside
Inside of the Lord."

3.  In the Grace of Your Love by The Rapture (DFA)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "How Deep Is Your Love?"

"When it's dark choices are few
It's just me and you
Give me what I need to live
Help me come to you
Let me hear that song
On this journey you've given me
I'm walking off the time
Now you're walking right next to me
The mountains we will climb."

2.  Hurry Up, We're Dreaming by M83 (MUTE)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Wait"

"Send your dreams
Where nobody hides
Give your tears
To the tide
No time
No time."

1.  Days by Real Estate (Domino)

Magical Lyrical Moment Comes From: "Younger Than Yesterday"

"If it takes all summer long
Just to write one simple song
There's too much to focus on
Clearly that is something wrong."


  1. Good list, Rob. Glad to see Ryan Adams getting some love. I thought Ashes & Fire was great. And I didn't even know about M83 until the last vinyl club. Good stuff.

    I still can't fucking stand TV on the Radio though. I realize I'm in the minorest of minorities on that though.

  2. Kick ass list. I didn't give Metronomy a fair enough listen so I didn't feel comfortable putting them in my top 10, but I thought their song "The Look" was possibly the catchiest song to come out in 2011 - next to Grouplove's "Colours" of course.

    What did you think of Yuck's s/t?