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BBC Music Writers' Albums of 2011 - The Top Fives

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Mike Diver Mike Diver | 16:10 UK time, Thursday, 8 December 2011

As promised on last week's BBC Music Writers' Top 25 Albums of 2011, here are the top fives from all of our contributing critics. How the positions were scored: 10 points for first place, five for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.

(Numbers in brackets indicate where this album placed in our overall top 25.)

Sean Adams
1. The Antlers - Burst Apart (4)
2. SBTRKT - SBTRKT (12)
3. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972
4. Bright Eyes - The People's Key (25)
5. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints (20)

John Aizlewood
1. Adele - 21
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans
4. Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes
5. Tom Waits - Bad as Me (5)

Martin Aston
1. Other Lives - Tamer Animals
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
4. Cass McCombs - Wit's End
5. Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eyes

Brad Barrett
1. Thursday - No Devolución
2. Touché Amoré - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
3. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
4. 2562 - Fever
5. Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam

Chris Beanland
1. Algernon Cadwallader - Parrot Flies
2. Metronomy - The English Riviera (6)
3. Battles - Gloss Drop
4. The Drums - Portamento
5. The Head and the Heart - The Head and the Heart

Mark Beaumont
1. The Vaccines - What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?
2. The Wombats - This Modern Glitch
3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical
4. Lanterns on the Lake - Gracious Tide, Take Me Home
5. Keren Ann - 101

Ele Beattie
1. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx - We're New Here (15)
2. Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
3. Radiohead - The King of Limbs
4. Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise
5. SBTRKT - SBTRKT (12)

Matthew Bennett
1. Modeselektor - Monkeytown
2. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx - We're New Here (15)
3. James Blake - James Blake
4. Rustie - Glass Swords
5. When Saints go Machine - Konkylie

Lloyd Bradley
1. Zed Bias - Biasonic Hotsauce - Birth of the Nanocloud
2. Bootsy Collins - Tha Funk Capital of the World
3. Hollie Cook - Hollie Cook
4. Kyle Eastwood - Songs from the Chateau
5. Little Roy - Battle For Seattle

Melissa Bradshaw
1. Diddy Dirty Money - Last Train to Paris
2. Frank Ocean - nostalgia,ULTRA
3. Shangaan Electro - New Wave Dance Music From South Africa
4. Adele - 21
5. Temporal Marauder - Makes You Feel

Alix Buscovic
1. The Antlers - Burst Apart (4)
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient
4. Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi (16)
5. Austra - Feel It Break

Stevie Chick
1. Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts
2. My Morning Jacket - Circuital
3. Battles - Gloss Drop
4. Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen (8)
5. White Denim - D

Paul Clarke
1. Björk - Biophilia (11)
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. SBTRKT - SBTRKT (12)
4. When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie
5. Low - C'mon

Leonie Cooper
1. William Elliott Whitmore - Field Songs
2. Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen (8)
3. Tom Waits - Bad As Me (5)
4. Wild Beasts - Smother (2)
5. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (9)

Michael Cragg
1. Beyonce - 4 (7)
2. Björk - Biophilia (11)
3. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
4. Lady Gaga - Born This Way
5. Cocknbullkid - Adulthood

Alex Deller
1. Loss - Despond
2. Bloodiest - Descent
3. Arbouretum -The Gathering
4. Corrupted - Garten Der Unbewusstheit
5. Column of Heaven - Ecstatically Embracing All That We Habitually Suppress

Robin Denselow
1. June Tabor & Oysterband - Ragged Kingdom
2. Ry Cooder - Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
3. Dub Colossus - Addis Through the Looking Glass
4. Tom Waits - Bad as Me (5)
5. Trembling Bells - The Constant Pageant

Mike Diver
1. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place (19)
2. Katy B - On a Mission (13)
3. Kuedo - Serverant
4. The Horrors - Skying (3)
5. Polinski - Labyrinths

John Doran
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
2. Mastodon - The Hunter
3. Alexander Tucker - Dorwytch
4. Death Grips - ExMilitary
5. Azari & III - Azari & III

Ninian Dunnett
1. Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music
2. Gregg Allman - Low Country Blues
3. Merle Haggard - Working in Tennessee
4. Red Sky July - Red Sky July
5. Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

Daryl Easlea
1. The Horrors - Skying (3)
2. Beyoncé - 4 (7)
3. Buraka Som Sistema - Komba
4. Beirut - The Rip Tide
5. Morton Valence - Me and Home James

John Eyles
1. Boom Box - Jazz
2. The Magic I.D. - I'm So Awake / Sleepless I Feel
3. Pascal Marzan and John Russell - Translations
4. Lol Coxhill / Alex Ward - Old Sights, New Sounds
5. Miles Davis - The Unissued Japanese Concerts 1964

Al Fox
1. Little Jackie - Made 4 TV
2. Guillemots - Walk the River
3. Cocknbullkid - Adulthood
4. Miles Kane - Colour of the Trap
5. Nicola Roberts - Cinderella's Eyes

Andy Fyfe
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
2. The Unthanks - Last
3. Charlie Parr - Cheap Wine
4. Wooden Shjips - West
5. James Vincent McMorrow - Early in the Morning

Charlotte Gardner
1. Sarah Connolly / Malcolm Martinu - My True Love Hath My Heart
2. Raphael Wallfisch, John Turner, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Sinfonia/Nicholas Ward/Richard Howard Arnold - Cello Concerto, Symphony for Strings, Fantasy for Recorder and String Quartet
3. Judith Weir - Choral Music (Choir of Goville & Caius College, Cambridge/Geoffrey Webber) Delphian
4. Henry Purcell - Twelve Sonatas in Three Parts - Retrospect Trio
5. James MacMillan - Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis... Here in Hiding (Wells Cathedral Choir/Matthew Owen)

Noel Gardner
1. Iceage - New Brigade (10)
2. Katy B - On A Mission (13)
3. Class Actress - Rapprocher
4. Las Kellies - Kellies
5. Weekend Nachos - Worthless

Spencer Grady
1. Happy Jawbone Family Band - OK Midnight, You Win!
2. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres
3. Alvarius B - Baroque Primitive
4. The Advisory Circle - As the Crow Flies
5. Cheer-Accident - No Ifs, ands or Dogs

Kevin Harley
1. Tom Waits - Bad as Me (5)
2. Björk - Biophilia (11)
3. F***ed Up - David Comes to Life
4. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
5. Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

Mike Haydock
1. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (18)
2. Wild Beasts - Smother (2)
3. St Vincent - Strange Mercy
4. Touché Amoré - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
5. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

Ben Hewitt
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
2. Wild Beasts - Smother (2)
3. Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years (23)
4. Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries
5. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints (20)

Tom Hocknell
1. Will Young - Echoes
2. Destroyer - Kaputt
3. Noah and the Whale - Last Night on Earth
4. Washed Out - Within and Without
5. New Look - New Look

Matthew Horton
1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (9)
2. K-X-P - K-X-P
3. Planningtorock - W
4. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (18)
5. Gatto Fritto - Gatto Fritto

Stephen Kelly
1. Wild Beasts - Smother (2)
2. The Antlers - Burst Apart (4)
3. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
4. Battles - Gloss Drop
5. Metronomy - The English Riviera (6)

Adam Kennedy
1. Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years (23)
2. The Death of Her Money - You Are Loved
3. Zola Jesus - Conatus
4. Roots Manuva - 4everevolution
5. Radiohead - The King of Limbs

Alistair Lawrence
1. The James Cleaver Quintet - That Was Then, This Is Now
2. Trap Them - Darker Handcraft (22)
3. Letlive. - Fake History
4. The Twilight Singers - Dynamite Steps
5. I Am the Avalanche - Avalanche United

Kevin Le Gendre
1. Archie Shepp & Joachim Kuhn - Wo!Man
2. Ambrose Akinmusire - When the Heart Emerges Glistening
3. Craig Taborn - Avenging Angel
4. Farmers By Nature - Out Of This World's Distortions
5. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter One: Les Gens de Couleur Libre

Paul Lester
1. The Weeknd - House of Balloons
2. The Weeknd - Thursday
3. StewRat - Spring
4. Tyler, the Creator - Goblin
5. Frank Ocean - nostalgia,ULTRA

Nick Levine
1. Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow (17)
2. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
3. Cocknbullkid - Adulthood
4. New Look - New Look
5. Metronomy - The English Riviera (6)

Jen Long
1. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
2. The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You
3. Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness
4. Dum Dum Girls - Only in Dreams
5. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

Martin Longley
1. Manorexia - Dinoflagellate Blooms
2. The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble - Mr. Machine
3. tUnE-yArDs - W H O K I L L
4. Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 - From Africa with Fury: Rise
5. Tyshawn Sorey - Oblique-1

Darren Loucaides
1. Fair Ohs - Everything is Dancing
2. Wu Lyf - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
3. Still Corners - Creatures of an Hour
4. Curren$y - Weekend at Burnie's
5. Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne

Andrzej Lukowski
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
2. Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow (17)
3. Austra - Feel It Break
4. Destroyer - Kaputt
5. Radiohead - The King of Limbs

Alex Macpherson
1. Beyoncé - 4 (7)
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. Katy B - On a Mission (13)
4. Pistol Annies - Hell on Heels
5. Dawn Richard - A Tell Tale Heart

Fraser McAlpine
1. Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know (24)
2. The Horrors - Skying (3)
3. Alex Turner - Submarine
4. Dels - Gob
5. Luke Haines - 9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and Early '80s

Andrew Mellow
1. White Night - Norwegian Soloists' Choir
2. Schoenberg & Brahms - Berlin Philharmonic & Simon Rattle
3. Near Still Distant Still - Danish Horn Trio
4. The Revenge of the Folk Singers - Concerto Caledonia
5. Nielsen, Sibelius, Bruckner - Symphonies (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra & Gustavo Dudamel)

Iain Moffatt
1. Blanck Mass - Blanck Mass
2. Toddla T - Watch Me Dance
3. The Streets - Computers and Blues
4. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
5. Beyoncé - 4 (7)

Marcus J. Moore
1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (9)
2. Oddisee - Rock Creek Park
3. Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
4. Metronomy - The English Riviera (6)
5. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

Andrew Mueller
1. The Decemberists - The King is Dead (21)
2. Drive-By Truckers - Go-Go Boots (14)
3. Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest
4. Old 97s - The Grand Theatre Vol. 2
5 PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)

Garry Mulholland
1. Metronomy - The English Riviera (6)
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
4. Luke Haines - 9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and Early '80s
5. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Mirror Traffic

Chris Parkin
1. Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On
2. Eleanor Friedberger - Last Summer
3. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints (20)
4. Walls - Coracle
5. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)

Louis Pattison
1. Iceage - New Brigade (10)
2. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
3. Wild Beasts - Smother (2)
4. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
5. Tinariwen - Tassili

Mischa Pearlman
1. Tom Waits - Bad as Me (5)
2. Baxter Dury - Happy Soup
3. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
4. La Dispute - Wildlife
5. Grouplove - Never Trust a Happy Song

Andrew Perry
1. The Horrors - Skying (3)
2. The Icarus Line - Wildlife
3. Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi (16)
4. Drive-By Truckers - Go-Go Boots (14)
5) Kid Congo & The Pink Monkeybirds - Gorilla Rose

Camilla Pia
1. The Horrors - Skying (3)
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know (24)
4. Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials
5. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (18)

Chris Power
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
2. Ricardo Villalobos, Max Loderbauer - Re: ECM
3. Pinch & Shackleton - Pinch & Shackleton
4. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
5. Pete Swanson - Man with Potential

David Quantick
1. Drive-By Truckers - Go-Go Boots (14)
2. Jonny - Jonny
3. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
4. Wretch 32 - Black and White
5. Radiohead - The King of Limbs

Raziq Rauf
1. Trap Them - Darker Handcraft (22)
2. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead
3. All Pigs Must Die - God Is War
4. Machine Head - Unto the Locust
5. Solstafir - Svartir Sandar

Chris Roberts
1. Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi (16)
2. Steve Wilson - Grace for Drowning
3. Meshell Ndegeocello - Weather
4. Elbow - Build a Rocket, Boys!
5. The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You

Colin Roberts
1. The Field - Looping State of Mind
2. Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen (8)
3. Chad VanGaalen - Diaper Island
4. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
5. Kuedo - Severant

Graham Rogers
1. Mozart: Symphonies 39 & 40 - Claudio Abbado/Orchestra Mozart
2. Rossini: Stabat Mater - Antonio Pappano/Santa Cecilia Academy
3. Handel: Agrippina - Rene Jacobs/Academie fur Alte Music Berlin
4. Trio Mediaeval - A Worcester Ladymass
5. Kristian Bezuidenhout - Mozart: Keyboard Works Vol.2

Daniel Ross
1. Metronomy - The English Riviera (6)
2. Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen (8)
3. Suuns - Zeroes QC
4. Sir Simon Rattle/Berlin Philharmonic - Mahler Symphony No.2
5. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up

Ian Roullier
1. Brookes Brothers - Brookes Brothers
2. Kuedo - Severant
3. Martyn - Ghost People
4 The Chemical Brothers - Hannah OST
5. Lazersonic & Zak Frost - Adventures In Stereo Volume 1

Johnny Sharp
1. Low - C'mon
2. Keren Ann - 101
3. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
4. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (18)
5. tUnE-yArDs - W H O K I L L

Natalie Shaw
1. SBTRKT - SBTRKT (12)
2. Katy B - On a Mission (13)
3. New Look - New Look
4. Beyoncé - 4 (7)
5. Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting

David Sheppard
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
2. Beirut - The Rip Tide
3. Leyland Kirby - Eager to Tear Apart the Stars
4. Nils Frahm - Felt
5. Hauschka - Salon Des Amateurs

James Skinner
1. Bright Eyes - The People's Key (25)
2. Tom Waits - Bad as Me (5)
3. Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
4. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
5. Real Estate - Days

Luke Slater
1. Årabrot - Solar Anus
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. Jenny Hval - Viscera
4. Half Man Half Biscuit - 90 Bisodol (Crimond)
5. Nils Frahm - Felt

Laura Snapes
1. Wild Beasts -Smother (2)
2. St Vincent - Strange Mercy
3. Destroyer - Kaputt
4. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol 2
5. Wild Flag - Wild Flag

David Stubbs
1. Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen (8)
2. Prince Rama - Trust Now
3. VVV - Across the Sea
4. Walls - Coracle
5. Emika - Emika

Angus Taylor
1. Stephen Marley - The Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life
2. Perfect Giddimani - Back for the First Time
3. Little Roy - Battle for Seattle
4. Sizzla - The Scriptures
5. Fatoumata Diawara - Fatou

Lou Thomas
1. Craft Spells - Idle Labor
2. Braids - Native Speaker
3. Love Inks - E.S.P.
4. Blouse - Blouse
5. Cults - Cults

Alex Tudor
1. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints (20)
2. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place (19)
3. Emmy the Great - Virtue
4. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972
5. The Twilight Singers - Dynamite Steps

Wyndham Wallace
1. A Winged Victory for the Sullen - A Winged Victory for the Sullen
2. Jenny Hval - Viscera
3. Ane Brun - It All Starts With One
4. Loney, Dear - Hall Music
5. East River Pipe - We Live in Rented Rooms

Chris White
1. The Antlers - Burst Apart (4)
2. Oh Minnows - For Shadows
3. The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh
4. Liz Green - O, Devotion
5. Fionn Regan - 100 Acres of Sycamore

Ian Winwood
1. The King Blues - Punk & Poetry
2. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (21)
3. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It & See
4. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
5. Lou Reed and Metallica - Lulu

Reef Younis
1. Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells - Everything's Getting Older
2. Little Dragon - Ritual Union
3. Walls - Coracle
4. Wild Beasts - Smother (2)
5. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

- - -

Two top fives were only found after the final Top 25 was published (entirely human error on the part of the compiler - apologies, there). So, if you're a fan of King Creosote and Jon Hopkins' Diamond Mine, you can take comfort from the fact that Jude Rogers named it her number one album of the year. These are those stray top fives.

Jude Rogers
1. King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
2. Feist - Metals
3. Elbow - Build a Rocket, Boys!
4. Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eyes
5. Nicola Roberts - Cinderella's Eyes

Ian Wade
1. The Horrors - Skying (3)
2. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (1)
3. Wild Beasts - Smother (2)
4. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2
5. Death in Vegas - Trans-Love Energies

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Cretinous list of the mediocre, the philistine and the dull. The century of "popular" music's pre-eminence is now at an end. Caruso to this garbage, via the heights of Louis Armstrong, Bebop, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Leonard Cohen, Jacques Brel, The Velvet Underground, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and many others. This list? Guff.

  • Comment number 2.

    Contrary to the comment above - some excellent choices here. Good to see Tim Hecker, Julianna Barwick, Nils Frahm, Corrupted and Alexander Tucker getting mentions. Oh, and Radiohead too.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's good effort to listen too and then hate all the mentioned albums so well done SJC, I'm not sure which impresses me more, the fact you found time to listen too the 100+ albums listed here in their entirety (with time to listen to your chosen tunes as well) or the fact you could not find a single thing in each that you didn't like.

    Anyway... some nice lists here, great to see Trap Them rightly recognised, as well as Mastodon and particularly Loss. As a fan of metal it's refreshing to see more and more metal albums getting reviewed by the BBC particuarly when they are more obscure in terms of mainstream popularity, such is the case with Trap Them. Will we see metal more heavily featured in 2012? (2/3 more reviews a month would be enough) I certainly hope so, it would be also nice to see such albums break the shackles of "rock&indie" and have a genre section of its own as well, but perhaps I'm asking too much. Who knows.

  • Comment number 4.

    One does wonder how SJC has found the time to listen to all of the above albums so thoroughly as to be so totally dismissive of all them; there's something here for everyone, surely? I scrobble (to last.fm) approximately 120 tracks a day and yet I've only just managed to scratch the surface of these lists. It's difficult to pick my five favourite releases from 2011, but my top albums would be...
    1. The Horrors - Skying
    2. The Leisure Society - Into The Murky Water
    3. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    4. The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient
    5. Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam

 

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