It’s that time of year again.  But I have left myself very little time to think about the best music of 2011.  Luckily I have a Last.fm page that covers my last 12 months.  I don’t know if I’ll do 10 albums this year or not.  There seems to be a backlash against the year end top tens this year.  I suppose it is a bit trite, but I really do like having my music chronologed.  Ugh, WHY ISN’T CHRONOLOGED A WORD?

Here we go.  Remember, albums don’t have to be this year, they just have to be new to me.  Also no double dipping for artists, only one album per artist:

#10:  Elton John’s Greatest Hits — What can I say, dude represents.  He has a great voice and he’s really someone that I struggle to understand how anybody would dislike him.  Just a really impeccable artist and I hadn’t gotten into him until this year.  Kudos Elton.

#9:  Aesop Rock, None Shall Pass — This is an odd pick as I’ve owned the CD for a long time, but hadn’t been feeling hip hop for a while.  Then early this year I just started rocking this disc nonstop.  Aesop is my favorite rapper.  He created a dadaist genre all his own and really no one else has come along in the same manner.  He gets a lot of haters for it, but it’s the bomb dig chron in my opinion.

#8:  Leanord Cohen, The Best of Leanord Cohen — Another new classic artist for me.  Leanord is a fantastic writer.  I mean really, really poetic and has a gentle touch with his bars.  He also sings in a very soft and subdued tone, which makes for great mood music.  Well worth checking out.

#7:  The Mountain Goats, All Eternals Deck — Darnielle put together a really nice album.  I actually listened to “We Shall Be Saved” a lot this last month as well, but his work is still stellar.  Some songs like Outer Scorpion Squadron really add depth.  It’s just a terrific effort, per usual.

#6:  Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues — First listen to Fleet Foxes this year.  Both of their albums are good, but their first took some time for me to really get into.  This album opens up with Montezuma, and doesn’t really let you go.  The band seems like one that is built to last and we’ll keep seeing great things from them in the future.

#5:  Communist Daughter, Soundtrack to the End — This is a Minneapolis band a friend told me to purchase.  They put out some really good indie pop; I’m still yet to see them live but will in the future.  They also get bonus points for being named after a Neutral Milk Hotel song.

#4:  Bon Iver, Bon Iver — I really got into this album at the start of summer.  I don’t know which was better, For Emma Forever Ago or this, but it was good.  Since then I haven’t listened as much, but it definitely deserves some pub here.  Perfect for chilling out, much like last years winner, Beach House.

#3:  Bright Eyes, The Peoples Key — Conor Oberst shows up again.  Of all the Bright Eyes albums, this one took me the longest to get into (at least of the albums I actively listened to).  It’s a very sci fi heavy album and the first track slowly lets you in.  The songs get very upbeat though, and it’s well worth the price of admission if you’re willing to listen.

#2:  The Decemberists, The King Is Dead —  I played the hell out of this CD.  It’s folky and country Decemberists, which is somewhat new to me, but wow Colin Meloy is good.  He has this fantastic voice and an ability to make arrangements in different types of music.  Their last progrock album was actually good, but not something I’d play over and over.  This was an epic album that I played for months.

#1:  Tallest Man On Earth, The Wild Hunt —  Much earlier this year, I picked up this album.  It was quickly apparent that this was going to be album of the year for me.  Kristian Matsson is a singer songwriter in the mold of Dylan.  He sounds different, not a singer by traditional means.  He has a quirky voice, but his lyrics are fantastic and his songs are simple but approaching timelessness.  Very few artists put it together like this, do yourself a favor and pick up any of his work.