Revisiting 2011

Before 2021 ends, I wanted to put up a shout out to something that’s intrinsically tethered to the year: 2011. Many things about 2011 don’t feel like they’re ten years old, but here we are. Ten years ago, this blog was one year old, I graduated high school, my family moved states and I started college. Obviously a big year for me, personally. This was also the year I started really digging into music as it was coming out, marking release days, relentlessly posting on the blog here, training to have my own radio show and engaging in Reddit communities about music. I didn’t think I’d want to have a career in the music biz, but this seemed like a watershed year. It helped that a lot of great albums popped into the mix, making it easy to revisit. 

Below you’ll find my original list of Top Albums from 2011. It went up around early December and looking at it now, it looks pretty on par with what I was actually listening to at the time, except at the bottom. In the early blog days sometimes I’d add an album that I thought was cool and would make me look cooler if I listed it, despite listening to maybe one song off of it at the time. Don’t judge me! I’ve done one other Revisiting post in the past, for 2013, because I had grown discontent about the albums that I had listed as my favorite of the year. This time around, I wanted to see how my tastes have changed ten years down the line, as well as highlight all the great albums that people may have forgotten to the sands of time that celebrated their birthdays this year.

Warm Visions’ Top 50 Albums of 2011 (2011 Version):

  1. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
  2. Stuart Duncan, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer & Yo-Yo MaThe Goat Rodeo Sessions
  3. Panda BearTomboy
  4. M83Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
  5. White DenimD
  6. Shabazz PalacesBlack Up
  7. Gang Gang DanceEye Contact
  8. GirlsFather, Son, Holy Spirit
  9. The WeekndHouse of Balloons
  10. Bon IverBon Iver
  11. Atlas SoundParallax
  12. Smith WesternsDye It Blonde
  13. Ford & LopatinChannel Pressure
  14. Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues
  15. BattlesGloss Drop
  16. Handsome FursSound Kapital
  17. Cut CopyZonoscope
  18. Neon IndianEra Extraña
  19. Nerves JuniorAs Bright As Your Night Light
  20. Oneohtrix Point NeverReplica
  21. Young GalaxyShapeshifting
  22. James BlakeJames Blake
  24. Tune-yardsWHOKILL
  25. Youth LagoonYear of Hibernation
  26. Real EstateDays
  27. Active ChildYou Are All I See
  28. Lady GagaBorn This Way
  29. Toro Y MoiUnderneath the Pine
  30. CultsCults
  31. Portugal. The ManIn The Mountain In The Cloud
  32. PJ HarveyLet England Shake
  33. The Black KeysEl Camino
  34. KorallrevenAn Album by Korallreven
  35. BjörkBiophilia
  36. Wild BeastsSmother
  37. Washed OutWithin and Without
  38. The FieldLooping State of Mind
  39. IceageNew Brigade
  40. Dum Dum GirlsOnly In Dreams
  41. Fucked UpDavid Comes To Life
  42. Ty SegallGoodbye Bread
  43. YuckYuck
  44. ThundercatGolden Age of the Apocalypse
  45. Born GoldBodysongs
  46. A$AP RockyLIVE. LOVE. ASAP
  47. DestroyerKaputt
  48. Cities AvivDigital Lows
  49. Kendrick LamarSection.80
  50. Florence + The MachineCeremonials

Just giving a cursory look at this – pretty ok! You can tell that I was absolutely enamored with and still clinging onto my fiddle upbringing by listing The Goat Rodeo Sessions at #2. I don’t think I’ve revisited the album since then, but at the time it was definitely a major one. Lady Gaga’s Born This Way was also an unabashed favorite of mine during the year, I even connected with some people on my college orientation about it. Otherwise – lots of acts on here that I don’t listen to much at all anymore: Black Keys, Portugal. The Man, Lady Gaga. Interesting! Let’s check in on how I’m feeling about these albums now:

Warm Visions Top 50 Albums of 2011 (2021 Version):

  1. DestroyerKaputt
  2. Panda BearTomboy
  3. GrouperA|A
  4. Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues
  5. St. VincentStrange Mercy
  6. Shabazz PalacesBlack Up
  7. Tim HeckerRavedeath, 1972
  8. The CaretakerAn Empty Bliss Beyond This World
  9. Julianna BarwickThe Magic Place
  10. Oneohtrix Point NeverReplica
  11. BurialStreet Halo
  12. The WeekndHouse of Balloons
  13. Danny BrownXXX
  14. Real EstateDays
  15. Elite GymnasticsRUIN
  16. Gang Gang DanceEye Contact
  17. GirlsFather, Son, Holy Spirit
  18. James BlakeJames Blake
  19. YuckYuck
  20. Smith WesternsDye It Blonde
  21. Colin StetsonNew History Warfare, Vol. 2: Judges
  22. Floating PointsShadows
  23. Bill CallahanApocalypse
  24. Dirty BeachesBadlands
  25. Death GripsExmilitary
  26. The Field Looping State of Mind
  27. Thee Oh SeesCarrion Crawler / The Dream
  28. BjörkBiophilia
  29. Wye OakCivilian
  30. Neon IndianEra Extraña
  31. The MenLeave Home
  32. Ford & LopatinChannel Pressure
  33. Young GalaxyShapeshifting
  34. Peaking Lights936
  35. Macintosh PlusFloral Shoppe
  36. Chelsea WolfeApokalypsis
  37. Unknown Mortal OrchestraUnknown Mortal Orchestra
  38. MachinedrumRoom(s)
  39. Bon IverBon Iver
  40. Clams CasinoInstrumental Mixtape
  41. KorallrevenAn Album by Korallreven
  42. Frank Oceannostalgia, ULTRA
  43. SaintsenecaLast
  44. PictureplaneThee Physical
  45. Mr Twin SisterIn Heaven
  46. A$AP RockyLIVE.LOVE.A$AP
  47. Handsome FursSound Kapital
  48. Washed OutWithin and Without
  49. Pure XPleasure
  50. RustieGlass Swords

If you’re keeping track at home, this list has 26 records that my initial 2011 list did not. That’s quite a bit of turnover! Focusing on the new albums for a moment, I wanted to give shine to Rustie’s Glass Swords, as listening back to it now reminds me of how so many people were trying to rip off this sound for the three years that followed. Pure X’s Pleasure is a hazy dreamworld that I didn’t have the patience to appreciate back in the day. I’m a full-blown Mr Twin Sister stan, so I had to include In Heaven. Pictureplane’s Thee Physical is still a blast to listen to, Saintseneca’s debut LP reinforces their high-quality homespun folk borne out of the punk realm, not sure how I didn’t have Nostalgia, Ultra on the first list, along with UMO. Danny Brown XXX is fantastic. We know this. The Men’s Leave Home and Machinedrum’s Room(s) are both massively overlooked for the year. And Wye Oak’s Civilian has come on like gangbusters over the last few years. Jenn Wasner can do no wrong.

Getting into stuff that had already been on there, Destroyer was in my Top 10 favorite albums of the decade, so that’s a no-brainer at the top of the list. Still amazing, still so good. I’ve been going through a bit of a Tomboy phase in 2021 to celebrate its anniversary and it’s grown on me a lot (I say that because I kind of stuck it low on my decade list – sorry Panda Bear!). Grouper’s monumental A|A is holding down the #3 spot and could very likely jump to #2, but let’s be real, all this doesn’t matter that much. Bon Iver fell quite a bit, as did Washed Out, Handsome Furs and Ford & Lopatin. Yuck shot way up because after listening to so many records like theirs over the last ten years, I realized that they’ve done it the best. 

For things that have dropped off, M83’s Hurry Up We’re Dreaming has dropped in favor considerably just because it’s loaded with filler and interludes. Just not an easy album to jump back into. There are plenty of other great albums on that first list from Youth Lagoon, SBTRKT, Kendrick Lamar, Wild Beasts, Cults, PJ Harvey, Battles, Fucked Up, Thundercat, Ty Segall that are still fantastic, but have just slowed down in my favor since their release.

And since I’m a stat guy that likes to break down my own habits, let’s consult my account to see what my most listened-to albums of 2011 have been since I started using the service:

Most listened-to albums of 2011 (as of 12/27/2021):

  1. John MausWe Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
  2. Ford & LopatinChannel Pressure
  3. St. VincentStrange Mercy
  4. DestroyerKaputt
  5. Shabazz PalacesBlack Up
  6. The CaretakerAn Empty Bliss Beyond This World
  7. Washed OutWithin and Without
  8. GrouperA|A : Alien Observer
  9. Neon IndianEra Extraña
  10. Tim HeckerRavedeath, 1972
  11. Oneohtrix Point NeverReplica
  12. RustieGlass Swords
  13. Gang Gang DanceEye Contact
  14. BurialStreet Halo
  15. Smith WesternsDye It Blonde
  16. Young GalaxyShapeshifting
  17. Panda BearTomboy
  18. Real EstateDays
  19. Thee Oh Sees Carrion Crawler / The Dream
  20. KorallrevenAn Album by Korallreven

So one thing you might immediately notice is the #1 most listened-to album is not in my renewed Top 50 list. As much as I love We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, the man was there on January 6, 2021. Not about to get political here but anyone who was rooting for an armed rebellion of the government isn’t ok in my books. If you’re able to look past that, the album is really damn good.

Another major issue in accurately documenting what my listening habits have been since 2011 is that half of the year’s listening data is completely gone. Halfway through the year I got a laptop computer where my music library resided. The previous listening from my iPod was logged on my parents desktop computer, which was then wiped clean when we moved later that year. Similarly, I don’t think catalogs previous listens from your iTunes library. So because I didn’t start actively scrobbling until 2013, I don’t think we have an accurate depiction of what my listening was like in that year. I’ll have the same roadblock when I eventually look back at 2012, which I’m sure will be full of delights.

One thing this does illuminate though is which albums have really stuck with me over the last ten years. Pitiless became an obsession of mine in 2016 and 2017, subject to repeated listens at least every day for a few weeks. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory: all these records show up on my revised list, so it makes sense that I’ve been listening to them steadily throughout the decade.

Now I’d like to take the time to highlight a few albums from 2011 to potentially reignite your memory, pay service to some quality, well-known records that are now ten years old, or maybe illuminate some great records you hadn’t heard of before. Happy 10 years!

  • Algernon CadwalladerParrot Flies
  • Amen DunesThrough Donkey Jaw
  • Andy StottPassed Me By / We Stay Together
  • AraabmuzikElectronic Dream
  • AustraFeel It Break
  • The BabiesThe Babies
  • Balam AcabWander / Wonder
  • BalkansBalkans
  • Blood OrangeCoastal Grooves
  • BlouseBlouse
  • Bodies of WaterTwist Again
  • Born GoldBodysongs
  • BraidsNative Speaker
  • Brown RecluseEvening Tapestry
  • Cities AvivDigital Lows
  • Clive Tanaka y su OrquestaJet Set Siempre 1º
  • Connan MockasinForever Dolphin Love
  • Crystal StiltsIn Love With Oblivion
  • Cymbals Eat GuitarsLenses Alien
  • Devon WilliamsEuphoria
  • EMAPast Life Martyred Saints
  • Friendly FiresPala
  • Holy Ghost!Holy Ghost!
  • Holy OtherWith U
  • Julia HolterTragedy
  • James FerraroFar Side Virtual
  • Katy BOn A Mission
  • King Creosote & Jon HopkinsDiamond Mine
  • Laura MarlingA Creature I Don’t Know
  • Light AsylumLight Asylum
  • LiturgyAesthetica
  • Male BondingEndless Now
  • Matana RobertsCoin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres
  • MogwaiHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
  • Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquireLost In Translation
  • Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
  • The Pains of Being Pure at HeartBelong
  • Preslav Literary SchoolLa Réflexion Du Tir
  • P.S. EliotSadie
  • PonytailDo Whatever You Want All The Time
  • The Psychic ParamountII
  • Puro InstinctHeadbangers In Ecstasy
  • The RaptureIn The Grace Of Your Love
  • Ryley Walker & Daniel BachmanOf Deathly Premonition
  • Sandro PerriImpossible Spaces
  • The SandwitchesMrs. Jones’ Cookies
  • Sleep ∞ OverForever
  • Steve HauschildtTragedy & Geometry
  • Sun ArawAncient Romans
  • Tim HeckerDropped Pianos
  • A Winged Victory For The SullenA Winged Victory For The Sullen
  • Young FathersTape One
  • Zola JesusConatus

About Very Warm

Usually cool dude stuff.
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