At the start of the 2010, I made a goal for myself to read one book a week—a goal I ended up abandoning by, I believe, the end of January. (Do you realize how much reading that entails?) In 2011, I tried to keep it more manageable: I made a plan to listen to one new album per week. While I once again fell short of my attempted goal, this time I came a lot closer to completing it and, as a result, I ended up listening to far more new music this year than any year since high school.
You would think that this would make compiling a Best Of list easier, but it did not. Unlike last year, when my number one album was never in doubt, 2011 lacked a standout record. This is not to say there weren’t great albums released, but there were none that had the impact of The Suburbs, or This Is Happening. Over at The A.V. Club, Steven Hyden called this year “The year of no Important Albums,” and while I don’t really like the term “Important Album” (important to whom?), I pretty much agree: This was a year of a lot of Very Good albums, but few Great ones. Continue reading »