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10. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

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Robin Pecknold wants to be the man on the screen – that much is clear from the get-go – but how far are we willing to bend to accommodate him? Quite a bit, it seems, judging by the Santoshian levels of patience with which all of us waited for his band’s sophomore release, Helplessness Blues, to drop. Although three years usually isn’t seen as a particularly long gestation period for an album – just ask Kate Bush – it wasn’t really the length of the wait that ended up toying with us big time, but rather the stop-start nature of the band’s initial recording sessions and Pecknold’s sketchy vision of what he wanted his group’s second album to be like. Having first said that he wanted the album to be released in late 2009, and that, “even if there are fuck-ups, I want them to be on there: I want there to be guitar mistakes; I want there to be not totally flawless vocals”, the principal songwriter for the Fleet Foxes ended up scrapping virtually the entirety of their first batch of recording sessions once he decided that he didn’t quite like what he was hearing, thus sending his entire crew back to the drawing board and about $60,000 in the hole. Once famously described by Seattle producer Phil Ek as having “talent coming out of his ass”, the Seattle native was now starting to seem both unbearably stubborn and precociously impulsive.

But when Helplessness Blues finally emerged in early spring of this year, it soon became clear that Pecknold had only the best of intentions in deciding to bring about such massive delays to his group’s project. From the blooming recesses of opener ‘Montezuma’, to the wildly romantic timbre of ‘Sim Sala Bim’, and across the pagan feel of the massive ‘The Shrine/An Argument’, every inch of Helplessness Blues delights and revels in its own aural magnificence. The densest and most flavourful moments also find themselves marked by instances of swirling, riotous cohesion between the band’s instrumentalists and their larger-than-life lead vocalist. Mandolins billow, harps twirl, and guitars jangle energetically as Pecknold engages and enthralls us all with his oddly persuasive marriage of street philosophy and attentive, penetrating poetry (“Both the slave and the empress/Will return to earth, I guess,” he sighs on “Montezuma”; “You took a room and you settled in/Washed off the chalk from your weathered skin/Daylight sleeper/Bloody reaper,” chides ‘The Plains/Bitter Dancer).

While both the Fleet Foxes’ debut and their Sun Giant EP were also excellent – if not flat-out phenomenal – records, they frequently lacked pop music’s cheapest and most derivative contraband – the simplistic joy found in the euphoria of a solid hook. Helplessness Blues doesn’t see Pecknold descending to the production of Billboard 200-scaling pennings, exactly, but the pieces which he and his band has produced this time around are much easier to get one’s head around – almost as if they’re just simple functioning cogs in some great machinery, serving something beyond us all. – Irving

9. Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

Being a music fan brings with it many joys, but there are few more satisfying things than seeing an artist make it to the top after years of hard graft. Last year, it was The National who were rightly rewarded for their tireless endeavour, and this time around, it’s been former Million Dead frontman Frank Turner who has seen his fierce work ethic pay dividends. Though the punk spirit of his earlier days is still very much in evidence, England Keep My Bones strays far from his roots, with a considerably fuller sound filling out his songs and contributing towards some of his most accomplished moments yet. Storming anthems such as ‘I Still Believe’ and ‘I Am Disappeared’ and ‘If Ever I Stray’ are rendered an extra edge from the added instrumental input, and that’s before you even get to the more reflective ‘Redemption’ and jubilant closer ‘Glory Halleluljah’, quite simply some of the finest songs he’s ever written.

Moreover, though, this is s record which perfectly portrays what it is to be English – while maintaining such a vast appeal that it can strike a chord just as easily with those overseas, as evidenced by his growing following across the Atlantic. For many, 2008 masterpiece Love, Ire & Song will remain his greatest achievement, but this fourth LP really isn’t far behind, and you’d struggle to find a single soul who’d begrudge this fine artist his much deserved breakthrough. – AliW1993

8. The Dear Hunter – The Color Spectrum (The Complete Collection)

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

Few, if any, albums can match the breadth, depth, and overall scale of The Dear Hunter’s massive The Color Spectrum.  Spanning nine EPs with a combined total of 36 tracks, the album is a staggeringly large collection of creativity and ingenuity that sees The Dear Hunter at the top of their game.  Featuring influences from all across the board, as well as Casey Crezsenso’s thoughtful songwriting, The Color Spectrum manages to hold within it some of the greatest material of the band’s career.   Right from the dark, brooding opening notes of the Black EP, to the very end of the White EP, there is something here for everyone.  Dreamy pop exudes from the Yellow EP, while smooth, expressive electronics ebb and flow within the Indigo EP.  The amount of variety is breathtaking, but what shocks even more is that the band pulls it off so damn well.

Despite the lengthy run time, The Color Spectrum is void of any filler, consisting of pure, unadulterated music from one of alternative rock’s most consistently intriguing bands.  Although it may seem daunting, The Dear Hunter’s latest is a marvelous creation, bursting at the seams with creative energy.  A true 2011 standout if there ever was one. – Xenophanes

7. Thursday – No Devolucion

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

The news in 2011 that Thursday would be dissolving their band was, well, upsetting to say the least, but we do have one thing to be happy about: they chose to end their musical career on an emphatically high note. No Devolución might just be their best album, in fact. Without meaning to discredit their previous records, this is inarguably Thursday at their creative apex, and their maturity as a band is almost unfathomable. Where so many of their contemporaries have failed in this regard and faded into the background, Thursday have matured and aged beautifully through the release of 5 LPs leading up to this masterpiece. No Devolución is a huge success for numerous reasons: it’s easily their most atmospheric album to date, the production is impeccable, and it’s their most emotionally conscious work – all the while still bringing with it an aggressive edge.

Imbued with passion and beauty, No Devolución comprises the constituent element’s of Thursday’s past post-hardcore releases without ever feeling derivative. It’s a little less post-hardcore in the traditional sense though; Rickly’s vocals seem shoegaze-esque – occasionally indistinguishable, being buried under the music which itself feels like it draws much influence from post-rock. No Devolución deceptively leads with ‘Fast to The End’, a song whose introduction makes it initially feel akin to their heavier material, but shortly thereafter this – much like most of the album – it’s revealed to be rather sentimental and delicate at its core. And that’s ultimately the driving force behind No Devolución: its fixation on emotional subjects through texture and atmosphere (‘No Answers’, ‘Empty Glass’,  ‘Sparks Against the Sun’) that makes it feel like such a natural progression for Thursday.

And thus, Thursday have cemented their legacy as one of the most important and creative post-hardcore acts to ever exist. Even if they choose to never write again, at least they went out with what’s stylistically their best and most fully realized work to date. No Devolución is both an excellent entry point for those unfamiliar with Thursday and those who are devout fans. – Gyromania

6. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

The absolute worst review that I read all year was one that was written for this album, mainly because it ended with a line that would score approximately fifteen billion out of 10 on the reviewing cop-out-o-meter: “The King of Limbs is Radiohead all grown-up,” wrote the hapless wag. Now, even if I wanted to dignify the usage of such a clichéd reviewing frontispiece by extending its usage to my very own blurb on The King of Limbs, it has to be said that that particular analogy had it completely ass-backwards, because if anything, The King of Limbs is basically the sound of Radiohead being more reckless and petulant than ever.

For starters, news of the band’s latest impending release come off the back of a casual – almost indifferent – announcement on their official website. Then they arbitrarily decided to bring forward the release date by a full day – “It’s Friday… It’s almost the weekend…It’s a full moon….You can download The King of Limbs now if you so wish!” posted guitarist Ed O’Brien airily on the band’s homepage a full twenty-four hours ahead of schedule – before Thom Yorke sauntered up and willfully stunned us all into mental submission with his now-immortal attempt at illustrating what it would probably look like if we all had electrodes that were wired into a funky bass beat clamped onto our nipples. Worse – the band even seemed to hint that this was only the beginning of their cheek and that there just might be a King of Limbs Part II, with the album’s now-famous final refrain of “If you think that this is over then you’re wrong” willfully toying with us for days on end.

Yet, despite all these attempts at virtual PR suicide, everything about Radiohead’s eighth studio observation manages to stay on the right side of engaging: album opener ‘Bloom’ bubbles and whirrs comfortably along, propelled forth by a single-minded directness that hasn’t been seen since ‘Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box’ pinged and chimed its way into our collective eardrums a little over a decade ago. Elsewhere, the pairing of ‘Little By Little’ and ‘Feral’ make for one of the most insidious auditory transitions cut to tape this year, casually phasing from a languid, cowbell-timed mid-tempo track to a dense three minutes of flat-out sonic experimentation held together by nothing more than the delusional warbles of a trippy-sounding Thom Yorke. Indeed, at the end of this short (The King of Limbs total run-time clocks just over 37 minutes) but thoroughly exhilarating ride, it is probably safe to say that for many, the single most disappointing moment in the entire King of Limbs experience lay in the ignominy of having to deal with the embarrassing amount of false hope left behind once it dawned that ‘Separator’s’ parting refrain was just an exquisitely-crafted lie.  - Irving

5. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math

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In a year full of musical moments worth savouring, Manchester Orchestra’s Simple Math makes a convincing case for itself to be chiseled near (or in SowingSeason’s case, at) the top of the year’s music lists purely on the basis of its two strongest and most pivotal moments. The first of these two instances is the exhilarating blood-and-guts communal chant that forms the centerpiece of the track ‘Virgin’: “We built this house with our hands, and our time, and our blood!/You build this up in one day to fall downward and rust!” goes the children’s choir – that ultimate embodiment of creepiness – while dirty and adrenalized sludge riffs wreak havoc in the background. The second moment in turn is none other than the quiet and caustic beauty of the album’s title track, which begins with a mournful guitar hum and spacey synths that soon evolves – or devolves, depending on how you see it – into an visceral paean against some of modern life’s darkest ironies (vocalist Andy Hull memorably ruminates, “What if we’ve been trying to get to where we’ve always been?” before rounding in on himself and concluding, in a tone so detached and disillusioned it seems almost defeatist in mentality: “Simple math, believe me – all is brilliant”). During these moments, it almost feels as if Manchester Orchestra has found a way to distill pure unadulterated catharsis and rip it onto a CD for consumption by the masses.

But that’s not to say that the rest of the album seems pedestrian in comparison – far from it, in fact, as well-placed auditory sections – like the booming orchestral turn near ‘Mighty’s’ halfway point and Hull’s indefatigable vocal performance in ‘Pale Black Eyes’ – prove. And on the off-chance that even that wasn’t enough, towards the end of album closer ‘Leaky Breaks’, one can almost hear the walls collapsing in on Hull and the rest of his crew, who suddenly find themselves gradually being buried beneath the looming aura of quiescence that they themselves had created just five minutes prior. It’s a fitting coda, because if anything it shows that the band themselves – despite all their introspective observations on the many vagaries of life – are merely human, and that even Hull, our emotive lyrical champion, occasionally finds himself surrendering to some divine truth that is far greater than he. It’s a devastating and unrewarding form of comfort, sort of like knowing that your enemy will still be made to pay in full thanks to those dead man switches you installed in those nuclear devices of yours, but a record that’s as grim and fixated as Simple Math just won’t have it any other way. – Irving

4. La Dispute – Wildlife

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

I was recently presented with the following question: “If you could have a few months to yourself, during which you didn’t have to worry about any of your current responsibilities and just do your own thing for a bit, where would you go and what would you do?” to which I responded, “sit with my feet in the Pacific Ocean and read all the books I’ve been meaning to read – The Origin of Species, Titus Andronicus, The God Delusion, etc. Oh, and sit down and actually listen to Wildlife. That too.”  For as stimulating and exciting as Wildlife is, I have been too temporally limited to hear it as anything more than background music or as a walking-to-class soundtrack.  Even with such a constraint, the record comes to life and infects the listener with all of frontman Jordan Dreyer’s woes, worries, and wonderings.  Almost every track on Wildlife can match up those on their debut full-length in terms of unadulterated emotion, musical fervor, and general intensity, cementing it as another fantastic release from the Michigan fivesome.  I know for a fact that La Dispute wouldn’t release a follow up to 2008’s Somewhere At the Bottom of the River… if it didn’t exactly represent their immense capabilities in creating music that is truly captivating and immensely beautiful – here’s to hoping such capacity isn’t cut short any time soon. – iFghtffyrdmns

3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

With their second album, Bon Iver are on some mega-pretty shit, kicking it in some hangout spot of aural sublimity with Brian Eno and Stars of the Lid and Talk Talk. Pianos are softly pawed at from a safe distance; swathes of guitar drift up toward the stratosphere, tethered to the ground only by the pitter-patter of a snare drum. I dare you to be in a bad mood while ‘Holocene’ is on. ‘Michicant’ is the song that plays in your head while the sun peeks through your curtain and it’s snowing outside and you smell bacon wafting in from the kitchen below. The solemn, echoing piano of ‘Wash’ probably makes legions of teenage girls cry about their feelings every night.

Still, shouldered as I am with the task of explaining to you why this here album is the third best of the year, I find myself with a sort of critical conundrum–one of the Albums of the Year should be more than just pretty, right? Yet, if not the ultimate factor in its quality, the overwhelming pastoral opulence of Bon Iver, Bon Iver is, at the very least, indicative of why it’s so damn good: if the beloved For Emma, Forever Ago was Justin Vernon as lonesome singer-songwriter, this album shows him in peak form as an unbelievably talented sort of indie Renaissance Man–again as a brilliant songwriter and singer, but also as an arranger, album sequencer, and, perhaps most importantly, producer. I liked For Emma…, and you might personally prefer that one, but Bon Iver, Bon Iver is almost incontestably better, with Justin Vernon using his staggering musical ability and ear for sonic detail to construct a musical language that’s virtually universal in its all-encompassing prettiness. Universal, as in “Grammy-nominated”. Universal, as in “this is probably your parents’ and grandparents’ favorite album of 2011.” Lest we forget, Pitchfork threw a hefty 9.5 on this one and I don’t think anybody even got mad about it. This may or may not be your personal favorite album of 2011–it may not even be your favorite Bon Iver album–but, in an age of social and economic unrest and constant Internet bickering about everything, it’s undeniably the album that, if only for a second, brought everyone together. Vive le prettiness.  - Robertsona

2. Laura Stevenson and the Cans – Sit Resist

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

A dozen seconds into ‘Master of Art’, track two of Sit Resist, “un-uh-ba-shed-oh-muh-dah-lin-you’re-uh-mazing‘” tickles your eardrums, and you realize that you too have inevitably fallen head over heels in love with Laura Stevenson.  And why wouldn’t you?  She’s adorable, she’s humble.  She and the Cans just put together one of the most serene, heartwarming records of 2011.  Shit, she even put that offering up online for free for the first month after release, for those heartless souls (or maybe just poor college kids) who found her meekly beautiful songs worth not even a penny.  When I met Laura back in May in a tiny bar up in St. Catharines, Ontario, she fulfilled every expectation to the T.  And when she drew that little heart next to her signature on my CD, I knew that such a modest yet powerful musician was for real, and that Sit Resist would forever stand not only as one of 2011’s top releases, but also as a timeless and simply stunning musical creation. – iFghtffyrdmns

1. Thrice – Major/Minor

[Official Site] // [Facebook]

It should surprise very few to see Thrice top this year’s list.  After all, the men of Thrice have been staggeringly consistent throughout their careers, creating some classics along the way while inspiring and influencing many others as well.  Throughout the band’s storied history, listeners have been able to see the group grow from a bunch of exuberant, impassioned young men, to a much more mature, and artistically brilliant quartet that never rests on its laurels.  Major/Minor is a bittersweet release; the perfection of the sound Thrice have been striving for, mixing the traditional post-hardcore sound of their early years with the more streamlined alternative rock of 2009’s Beggars. However, it comes with a bit of sadness, as the band’s future is uncertain, to say the least.

Regardless of where Thrice are headed, Major/Minor is quite possibly the band’s finest achievement.  It’s shockingly solid, as they feel so comfortable with their craft and its presentation that  it at times borders on perfection.  It’s because of this that the album makes few, if any egregious errors, instead coasting along with ease.  Each and every track is classic Thrice, with Dustin Kensrue’s gruff voice and Teppei Teranishi’s wonderful guitar work being presented well, as is tradition.  Yet despite Major/Minor’s extensive list of standouts, it was ‘Anthology’ that struck this reviewer more profoundly than anything else on the album, and frankly, more so than anything else in the band’s catalog.  Drawing inspiration from each point in their career, ‘Anthology’ is the perfect representation of Thrice’s ever evolving sound, and  a shining example of why the album is such a standout.

The word “perfect” was thrown around a couple of times in this little “blurb,” and although it may seem painfully hyperbolic, it’s completely justified.  Major/Minor is simply a stunningly well executed album; a hard-hitting tour de force that shows that Thrice – a band many consider to be a mere modern rock act- is still able to produce some of the most captivating music out there.  That certainly rings true for Major/Minor, one of 2011’s greatest releases. – Xenophanes

50 – 31 | 30 – 11 | EPs

Staff Top 50

Contributing Writers: AngelOfDeath | Ifghtffyrdmns | Irving | Pizzamachine | Rasputin | Robertsona | ThisLifeIsGenocide | Xenophanes

AliW1993 | AtavanHalen | BroFro | Butkuiss | ECRbubs | Gyromania | Ignimbrite | MarvellousG | mutatedfreek | twiszted689 | YetAnotherBrick





Deviant.
01.27.12
And we're done. Big ups to the contribs who busted their asses and got all the write-ups done in record time, especially Irving who the concept of "a small paragraph or two" is apparently completely lost on. And Xeno for cracking the whip to make sure it all got down. And Trey and Kyle for being awesome and showing me the blog/artwork ropes

Now let's talk about how obvious #1 is (I mean, come on Userbase)

taylormemer
01.27.12
Swell.

Ire
01.27.12
ooooh nice

DaveyBoy
01.27.12
Before the b!tching begins over something petty... "Good stuff" to all involved, as it was a great read... That includes you Dev, for taking on the project.

For all the crap it got from some quarters, it seems 'Simple Math' is our unanimous #5 album of 2011, whether you're part of the staff or a user.

Lucid
01.27.12
LOL aoty. Cute story, sputnik users.

Spare
01.27.12
least sit resist's here idk

fish.
01.27.12
Woah. To be honest, I didn't actually expect Major/Minor to be #1. Several other albums seemed to be more universally acclaimed IMO

I'm glad Thursday made it this high though

fish.
01.27.12
I seem to be the only person on this site who enjoyed Major/Minor and didn't like Anthology

dimsim3478
01.27.12
I knew a lot of people had #1 on their list (including me), but did not expecting it hitting up that far.

And finally, Laura gets some justice.

Tyrael
01.27.12
Actually, this is how I originally thought the staff top 10 would have looked like

Athom
01.27.12
i dunno what you guys saw in the color spectrum. it's like half awesome half boring and that's a lot of both

Minus The Flair
01.27.12
surprised at simple math that high on both lists

AlexTM510
01.27.12
yea pretty surprised thrice is up there. i would guess because of their huge sputnik fanbase a lot of people put it on their lists, even if it wasn't placed as number 1

greg84
01.27.12
Thrice have been the most overrated band on Sputnik for long. So this is hardly a surprise. I agree with redsky about Color Spectrum. Half awesome/half boring seems right for me. 5 and 9 are quite good. I'm not a fan of the rest.

Captain North
01.27.12
Wait what....I love thrice but didn't expect them to top.

Also, it's just too fucking Christian.

Motiv3
01.27.12
wtf thrice aoty? good job users...ugggh. Good list though overall, glad Laura is on here.

BigBlob
01.27.12
More proof Major/Minor is the most voerrated album of all time.

BigBlob
01.27.12
overrated*

AsoTamaki
01.27.12
I'm cool with Thrice. It was barely top 50 material for me, but anything is better than seeing Bon Iver top yet another list. And Sit Resist at #1 would have been embarrassing. Come on.

HBFS
01.27.12
pretty much the top 10 i was expecting, except for radiohead being so high and major/minor as #1.

mvood
01.27.12
where da hip hop @

good job with getting laura #1 i suppose

mvood
01.27.12
*#2

AutoRock
01.27.12
DIsappointing List overall. No Post Rock, No Roots, Laura Stevenson is bland and boring garbage. Thrice album was not thaaaat great in my opinion, but still it's an okay pick. King of Limbs was horrendous.

BigBlob
01.27.12
"Laura Stevenson is bland and boring garbage."

This

Fugue
01.27.12
List has my name on the bottom so its cool from where I'm looking. Actually didn't expect Thrice to be number 1 though.

ILJ
01.27.12
Actually wasn't expecting Thrice to be 1. That being said, it's still a great list.

SowingSeason
01.27.12
This is actually an excellent top ten. Thrice is a little but lols, oh and woohoo for me being mentioned! < 3 irving

Hyperion1001
01.27.12
i would like to state that i did not vote in this election

Idnuf
01.27.12
lol

Dummit
01.27.12
i was expecting Bon Iver to be #1 here, too.

thrice was meh.

fish.
01.27.12
List is interesting overall. I'll be checking out all the stuff off it I haven't heard yet

KeithStone582
01.27.12
It makes sense. very few people had Thrice at #1, but almost everyone had them on their list somewhere. Shit happens.

Crysis
01.27.12
ire is happy that thrice made #1

fulgrim
01.27.12
great to see 2 there. couldn't care less about the rest of these though.

FromDaHood
01.27.12
Wow, users fucked this up HARD

AliW1993
01.27.12
Thrice? Seriously?

I said that I thought I'd prefer 30-11 to the top 10. I was right.

jayfatha
01.27.12
Was very much expecting Sit Resist as aoty

fulgrim
01.27.12
30-11 list is significantly better.

MO
01.27.12
meh ugh urg

Poncharelo
01.27.12
"I said that I thought I'd prefer 30-11 to the top 10. I was right."

Agree.

Slum
01.27.12
lol the responses to these trivial lists are incredible. Great writing, guys.

fuckthatnoise
01.27.12
3 and 4 were my 1 and 2 of the year. i haven't heard 2 yet, but 1? Ehhh...

I'd put the new Thrice album in the same boat as the new Dredg album, except whereas the fans' response to dredg's album was like "OMG WORST ALBUM EVER CAREER KILLING DISASTER HERP DERP", Thrice's was "THRICE DONE IT AGAIN ANOTHER MASTERPIECE AOTYAY HERP DERP". Both albums are solid. A noticable step back from their last 3 or so albums, but solid. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sanders
01.27.12
Good job everyone. In my ideal world Frank'd be higher, but whatevs

Irving
01.27.12
PARAGRAPHS ARE FOR PUSSIES.

PAGES ARE WHERE IT'S AT.

Irving
01.27.12
And Ily too SS.

*holds hands + does trust falls*

Adabelle
01.27.12
FFS THRICE at #1. I would have at least accepted Bon Iver, or Laura Stevenson, or La Dispute, or Manchester Orchestra, The Dear Hunter, or Thursday at #1 because I enjoyed all of those but fuck, Major/Minor was just completely and utterly average.

Hawks
01.27.12
Hey no metal, what a surprise!

Kris.
01.27.12
lol radiohead seriously

was hoping laura would hit numero uno seeing as how some bastards didn't understand the genius that is vacation but oh well
thrice rules hard

BigBlob
01.27.12
Gold Cobra?

Electric City
01.27.12
theres the sputnik userbase i remember

fuckthatnoise
01.27.12
one other thing, in the Bon Iver blurb...

"Lest we forget, Pitchfork threw a hefty 9.5 on this one and I don’t think anybody even got mad about it."

Maybe not on THIS site, but trust me, i've seen plenty of people throw fits over that one.

Thane
01.27.12
tbh i'm quite surprised by this top ten. good stuff though.

Skimaskcheck
01.27.12
"Laura Stevenson is bland and boring garbage."

what

FelixCulpa
01.27.12
Great work on the feature to those who contributed. Pretty good list overall this year. Majority rule.

johnnyblaze
01.27.12
Hey no metal, what a surprise! [2]

good top 10. laura and thrice are a little overrated here, but nbd.

zxlkho
01.27.12
Thrice at the top? Awesome.

renegadestrings
01.27.12
... I really liked Major/Minor.

BigBlob
01.27.12
Thrice is m/

Cells
01.27.12
faggy list, needs more m/

Xenophanes
01.27.12
Funny that no one saw it coming but Thrice actually won by a pretty large margin.

Gyromania
01.27.12
Okay, so yes this is incredibly 'typical' of the userbase, but let's not forget that this was a collective effort. Only two of these albums would make my top ten and yeah, Thrice being #1 is probably the least surprising thing in the world, but let's not fixate on that and spend the next 100+ posts pointing out what's already been noted. The write-ups are all great and I'm just happy to have been a part of this. Good job and kudos to those who put forth a great deal of effort

Clamface
01.27.12
this year sucked

Electric City
01.27.12
HOW DOES IT FEEL CONTRIBUTORS!?!?!?!?

Xenophanes
01.27.12
Oh yes and a big thanks to all involved (Dev, Crysis, Willie, users, and contribs), this turned out awesome

Xenophanes
01.27.12
I heard it hurts the first time but it wasn't so bad.

starry
01.27.12
Last year was amazing, though you might not think so looking through the lists here. :D Anyway Frank Turner was a pretty good album so nice to see that here.

Sleaper
01.27.12
im embarrassed for sputnik. the only thing here that should be in the top 20 is bon iver. WTF is this fucking shit fucking list

AggravatedYeti
01.27.12
fucking KoL

love most of these write ups as I actually read them.
Obvious list is obvious.
hi5 yall esp, Dev, Crysis and Trey.

Capablanca
01.27.12
Well both users and staff lists have fantastic write ups and obviously you can't please everyone with the order so good job staffers and contribs. I'm just happy 9 of my top10 made it in these (I guess The Mountain Goats went under the radar in Sputnik).

Irving
01.27.12
Yeah Thrice won by over a hundred points, if I recall correctly.

In other words, fuck you guys lol. Where's redsky? This userbase needs some killing lol.

Emim
01.27.12
where's the m/, userbase?

klap
01.27.12
Fire Irving god dammit

Irving
01.27.12
Why?! =/

SowingSeason
01.27.12
Tl;dr taken to a whole new level. Except I did read every single one...oh well

klap
01.27.12
not really it was very well written but editing is a fine art to learn

also i definitely feel like fleet foxes' first album was more accessible than helplessness. still get your point tho

AggravatedYeti
01.27.12
"but editing is a fine art to learn"

hehehe...

Electric City
01.27.12
i did the same thing as you last year irv. concision is your friend in these cases unless you have something top 3

Irving
01.27.12
Point taken, Rudy. Do me a favour the next time you see me write a review and point out one or two lines that you feel my piece could have done without. Maybe in time I'll get the hang of it. It's been a year and a half since I came on here but I still got me a lot of ropes to learn.

(pls don't fire me though)

UnnamedOcean
01.27.12
Pretty disappointing top 10. I really like quite a few of these, but I don't think they were near the best of 2011. I felt Thrice, Radiohead and Manchester Orchestra were all pretty average.

pizzamachine
01.27.12
The top 10 suuucks.

Irving
01.27.12
Righto Adam - thanks for the pointers. You too - don't be shy to whack me around the head the next time you see me taking tl;dr to a whole new plane of existence (if it isn't too much trouble).

And SS, thanks =) Also - namedrops have a way of getting people's attention onto your whole review - just ask Adam Downer ;)

SowingSeason
01.27.12
Can't fire Irving. I don't know what I'd be doing if he never turned me on to armistice

Irving
01.27.12
Making mixtapes?

Emim
01.27.12
"The top 10 suuucks."

yeah pretty much. good to see frank turner and manchester, but those weren't really surprises at all.

i didn't vote though, so i have nothing to complain about

SowingSeason
01.27.12
Yeah but shitty ones with absolutely no mariachi

NeutralThunder12
01.27.12
1 is kinda gay

KILL
01.27.12
thrice hahahahahahahahahahaha

fish.
01.27.12
"im embarrassed for sputnik. the only thing here that should be in the top 20 is bon iver."
is this serious lol

MarvellousG
01.27.12
Actually a perfect pick for number 1, great list.

Yotimi
01.27.12
1 was probably the worst album I listened to this year.

Yotimi
01.27.12
^last year

iswimfast
01.27.12
Excellent, excellent work guys. List is awesome.

plane
01.27.12
This is the list staff would have made a few years ago.. looks good. Very representative of the site, y'all

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
01.27.12
Oh God, why #1

ilikeforests
01.27.12
goddamnit when will people realize that bon iver album is not good



Keyblade
01.27.12
Completely forgot about Thrice, really surprised me at first seeing it number 1...but it really wasn't surprising. Soooo overrated.

DeadBeat
01.27.12
No Metal

List sucks as expected

Trebor.
01.27.12
Sees 1 and 4
Loses faith in humanity


Trebor.
01.27.12
The first part of the top 50 was the best

WeepingBanana
01.27.12
sit resist not number 1... yaokay

psykonaut
01.27.12
yeah where is the metal

Trebor.
01.27.12
There wasn't any good metal this year

theacademy
01.27.12
oh man theacademy is gonna be so happy when he reads this

WeepingBanana
01.27.12
raise your hand if you didn't even listen to the new thrice... *raises hand*

Satellite
01.27.12
almost as bad as the staff top 10 (fucking lolthrice) but at least sit resist is here

Spec
01.27.12
this is terrible

Satellite
01.27.12
also needs less blandchester borechestra

someguest
01.27.12
I was actually listening to 1 in the car today. Coincidence? Yes.

It's a phenomenal album though, and the more I listen to it the better it gets.

theacademy
01.27.12
this is revenge for Deftones being only #4 last year

can't contain

my smileage

theacademy
01.27.12
i cant contain

my smiles

hahah fuck king of limbs and bon iver



theacademy
01.27.12
can't contai-

http://moaropeth.tumblr.com/post/16587553182/one-of-those-increasingly-rare-moments-where-im

LepreCon
01.27.12
Yay all my picks made it! =D

DinoX
01.27.12
I guess I should listen to 1

hesperus
01.27.12
Never underestimate the power of Sputnikmusic to suck Thrice's cock.

theacademy
01.27.12
NEVER!

theacademy
01.27.12
seriously this top 10 is so great tho

70% awesome
80% tolerable
100% music

this is sputnik

SaneTBP
01.27.12
I think it's kinda funny how 11-50 has much better albums than this.

Satellite
01.27.12
"one of those (increasingly rare) moments where im proud to be a user… fuck downer and his stupid self-indulgent buttsniffin staff list… thrice and laura is what being on sputnik is all about… i’m going to be listening to laura + dustin + riles + tepps + eddie + the cans forever… fuck bon iver, keep real metal alive"

hahaha

sportsboy
01.27.12
"Sees 1 and 4
Loses faith in humanity"

basically fucking this


Hep Kat
01.27.12
thrice sucks im glad they broke up

Aphrodisiac
01.27.12
i wish 4 would break up

Hep Kat
01.27.12
me too

CasinoColumbus
01.27.12
19 albums from my top 25 made it in here, so I can't complain. And to everyone who had their share in creating this list: good job.

wacknizzle
01.27.12
top 10 is good, i'm happy thursday made it so high. I was hoping manchester would be 1 but i'm not disappointed one bit that it's thrice.

iFghtffyrdmns
01.27.12
hey guys just to let you know i did not vote for thrice

so if you wanna send me money or candy or hookers in thanks of my aversion to shitty taste, let me know and i'll send out my mailing address.

GnarlyShillelagh
01.27.12
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR LAURA NOT GETTING AOTY

BroFro
01.27.12
I thought there was no way, literally NO WAY, Thirice would be number one.......



DoubtGin
01.27.12
2 is so average, rest on here is quite good

BroFro
01.27.12
4 and 6 really have no business being top ten, but the rest are deserving. And I gotta say this is quite a bit better better than the staff list.

Trebor.
01.27.12
Everyone must either be 14, or have their nostalgia goggles on too tight for Thrice to be number 1

Metamorphosis
01.27.12
Four of my top ten on here and Thrice as #1 = I'm probably a typical Sputnik user.

fish.
01.27.12
how the fuck can this many users complain about their own list

Trebor.
01.27.12
Because I thought sputnik was past hyping average post hardcore by now

Hep Kat
01.27.12
old man markley shoulda been 1 dash it all

Cesar
01.27.12
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o22eIJDtKho
Song of the year for ever.

porch
01.27.12
major/minor may be fairly run of the mill alt rock but it's still endlessly preferable to shit like frank turner


Tyrael
01.27.12
I concur porch

KeithStone582
01.27.12
The users are like "I wouldn't of voted for Thrice if I knew they would win!" LOL.

sniper
01.27.12
not a bad list all in all.

paxman
01.27.12
What embarrassed Sputnik is not this list, it's the fucking users. Shut the fuck up already.

PlaygroundFading
01.27.12
great list but could benefit from the sounds heard as a playground fades away

TooLateToGoBack
01.27.12
excellent list. Really love that Dear Hunter, Thursday, and Thrice made it top 10.

ShadowRemains
01.27.12
"30-11 list is significantly better."

agreed

iSkane
01.27.12
Well, the rest of the list was great. Didn't see Thrice as first and didn't think it should have been. Also, I honestly don't think Radiohead really needed to be top 10. Eh, oh well, good list overall.

Eko
01.27.12
more like top ten overrated albums of 2011

someguest
01.27.12
damnit more than 50 people listen to these albums

HOW DID THEY WIN?

djunior
01.27.12
Sees 1 and 4
Loses faith in humanity [2]

Yotimi
01.27.12
no way porch

flalafell
01.28.12
this top 10 is not so good

MisterTornado
01.28.12
I like how everyone's complaining about the list when you all voted it this way.

static2dope
01.28.12
the previous chunk of the list was way better

Maniac!
01.28.12
2 is a victory in my book

Irving
01.28.12
"how the fuck can this many users complain about their own list"

This.

Xenophanes
01.28.12
It's actuallt a lot better than in past years. Honestly, everyone seemed to like it until they found out Thrice was number one, which is weird because of the insane number of votes it got. Oh well, c'es la Sputnik.

FreePizzaDay
01.28.12
NOT MY LIST

Ovrot
01.28.12
where is the sludge?

Yuma310
01.28.12
really thought this list would end up being shit , but what pleasant little surprise.

Jom
01.28.12
The feature turned out awesome; nice work to everybody who contributed. I have no comment, really, on the content, but I feel like it pretty much summed up the users' taste minus a couple niche genres, so good work there. See you all next year! HOLLA

Storm In A Teacup
01.28.12
Thursday 2011>>>>Thrice2011

Good looking feature

Phideaux
01.28.12
Really surprised at number one. Lot of good stuff though. Glad there's not more hipster indie bullshit.

SowingSeason
01.28.12
yeah I really came around to that Thursday album

if i could go back i'd put it much higher in 2011

theacademy
01.28.12
thats why we dont make best of lists in november... common courtesy and all

SowingSeason
01.28.12
yeah yeah yeah

theacademy
01.28.12
Anatomy of a poser:

rating everything in the top 10 above a 3 (except not rating the Thursday album), mostly 3.5s and 4s, outwardly loving the radiohead and laura stevenson albums all year, and then saying something like:

chambered89
01.28.12
holy shit this is awful hahaha


because the general user list doesn't resemble his horribly forgettable top 40 list

theacademy
01.28.12
ladies and gentlemen: sam feldman\s rating: NOT WORTH ANYTHING

Hep Kat
01.28.12
acad youre the man

theacademy
01.28.12
lol im really not im just grrrrrrrr in quite a bit of headache and i havent had my granola yet

Tyrael
01.28.12
I love you acad

paxman
01.28.12
Anatomy of a poser:

rating everything in the top 10 above a 3 (except not rating the Thursday album), mostly 3.5s and 4s, outwardly loving the radiohead and laura stevenson albums all year, and then saying something like:

chambered89 01.28.12 holy shit this is awful hahaha

because the general user list doesn't resemble his horribly forgettable top 40 list [2]

Hep Kat
01.28.12
^^^
i just remembered this is the little faggot who always follows my post by tellin me i have the worst taste on the site

since his response was pathetic it makes this victory sweet for me too

theacademy
01.28.12
UR JUST MAD I DIDNT LIKE NEW THRICE ACAD

3.5 great
Thrice Major/Minor
Tiesto Elements of Life

Tyrael
01.28.12
lol thrice

fish.
01.28.12
"you have the worst taste on the site"
sup

porch
01.28.12
"no way porch"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9AjYIgcphg

how could that not make you recoil at what an gigantic twat he is, and then he just follows it up with some shitty bro-folk

Omaha
01.28.12
Well no shit Laura and Thrice were going to be at the top; anybody who expected different is just silly.

This was a fun read. No surprises, but that in itself isn't a surprise. Nice to see Bon Iver not winning again :] and I didn't enjoy new Thrice as much as everyone else did, but regardless I do think they deserve the praise

Omaha
01.28.12
"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9AjYIgcphg

how could that not make you recoil at what an gigantic twat he is, and then he just follows it up with some shitty bro-folk"

I am not seeing what you are seeing in this pretty inoffensive video...

porch
01.28.12
of course you don't

theacademy
01.28.12
yea its pretty douchy, but i don't really mind the bro-folk part of it

jefflebowski
01.28.12
this site has the most insular taste in music, jeez

theacademy
01.28.12
keen observation, brundlefly

Deviant.
01.28.12
Chambered tries desperately to work out what just happened

ohfoxxxycole
01.28.12
never heard of any of these

Deviant.
01.29.12
It might have something to do with the fact that just about all of the albums in the top 10 that you've rated you put at 3.5 or higher (I think one was a 3). But you know, great albums put together are surely an awful compilation

Deviant.
01.29.12
Am I supposed to be high Chambered? Is that how it works?

Gyromania
01.29.12
Hahaha

static2dope
01.29.12
frank turner is a wicked chill guy. I met him at coachella and we hung out and had brews. it was nice.

Electric City
01.29.12
it feels good to not like frank turner i tells ya

LegendofPittman
01.29.12
Great list guys. So glad to see Radiohead and Thursday high up.

dcha
01.29.12
La Dispute is good, but they're like one of the more overrated bands.

thebhoy
01.30.12
I also do not like Frank Turner. So yeah.

thebhoy
01.30.12
Laura Stevenson and Thrice are the same thing, so therefore it is quantifiably quantifiable to compare and qualify their respective quantities of quality.

IAmHollywood
01.30.12
I thought we had better taste than this...

Aids
01.30.12
at first I thought I was surprised with Major/Minor being #1 but I guess it makes sense because it was on a lot of lists. Glad Sit Resist beat Bon Iver anyway.

Aids
01.30.12
also, Chambered's posts must be disappearing or something because the last chunk of this thread makes approximately 0 sense

KILL
01.30.12
rip chambered

fish.
01.30.12
Needs more Septic Flesh

omnipanzer
01.30.12
Did I lose a month?
It's note April already.

omnipanzer
01.30.12
*not

pornogratherapy
01.30.12
10, 5, and 1 were for sure on my top 5 being number 1

hesperus
01.31.12
Needs more Septic Flesh [2]

Maize
01.31.12
while 30-11 is better than top 10, this list is infinitely better than the staff's.

thebhoy
01.31.12
Yes, that makes perfect sense. This list is infinitely better than the staff's. n+1 better, even.

I managed to sit through Laura Stevenson once and I'm glad I never thought of doing it again.

wabbit
01.31.12
What's with all the frank turner hate?

Island
01.31.12
whats not with it?

PurpleDrank
01.31.12
frank turner is terrible

AlecBaldwin
01.31.12
Holy lol, people get so unbelievably mad for no reason!

Firstly, major kudos to everyone who took the time to put this together. I know it takes a loooot of time, so thanks to all of you.

Secondly, Thrice being #1 doesn't mean Sputnik is representing it as the best album of the year, but the most popular. If you get THAT mad about other peoples opinions, maybe you should spend a little less time on the internet.

Thirdly, this reminds me of when Ryan Giggs won Sports Personality of the Year, and a whole bunch of people who didn't bother to vote got mad about it.

DeadBeat
01.31.12
I respect other people's opinions, but this is really bad. Half of these aren't even among the best 500 albums that came out last year... And thrice #1? Sputnik users should be ashamed.

jmh886
01.31.12
ill never understand the thrice hate. Ill also never understand the praise for the color spectrum. Its a decent album. they probably could cut 2/3 of the songs and it would be much better. and the king of limbs is radiohead's worst album imo. i also really liked simple math at first, but the more i listen, the more boring it is.

omnipanzer
01.31.12
"Holy lol, people get so unbelievably mad for no reason!"

Firstly, you spend too much time trying to interpret other peoples written comments.

Secondly, that is all.

AlecBaldwin
01.31.12
"Firstly, you spend too much time trying to interpret other peoples written comments."

Firstly, I skim-read the comments. Some of them are rather brash and blatant and don't exactly need you to waste any time at all on 'interpretation'.

Secondly, I have no secondly.

omnipanzer
01.31.12
Firstly you need a hug

secondly a waffle

theacademy
01.31.12
GOLF WANG

theacademy
01.31.12
class of 2011

AlecBaldwin
01.31.12
Firstly, I would fucking love a hug.

Secondly, can I have one pls?

omnipanzer
01.31.12
/hug
/slap
/tickle

defjaw83
01.31.12
Don't agree with Thrice at #1 at all but this was a really nice read. Well done guys

theacademy
01.31.12
thrice rules

the architects of sputnik have declared it so

omnipanzer
01.31.12
It bums me out that the #1 is an album I have absolutely not inclination to listen to. I need to give Thursday – No Devolucion a listen.

theacademy
01.31.12
you should also check out Thrice's Major/Minor if you haven't heard of it yet, it recently was voted #1 by the users!

omnipanzer
01.31.12
I has noticed silly.

AlecBaldwin
01.31.12
Thanks for the hug

AlecBaldwin
01.31.12
Thursday's record is fantastic imo, definitely check it out. As for Thrice's record, I think it's one their fans like, but if you don't care for the band then you're unlikely to care for that album.


omnipanzer
01.31.12
Not a fan of the genre but I still peak in on it from time to time just to check.

"Thanks for the hug "
Anytime, I'm a hugger.

omnipanzer
01.31.12
*peek

Lakes.
02.03.12
ugh thrice

starry
02.04.12
"There wasn't any good metal this year"

I wonder how much you have actually heard.

qwe3
02.04.12
ive heard enough


from you.


shut the fuck up starry

TomArnoldsArmpit
02.04.12
lol

BigSimo
02.05.12
still no bad as me in top 10, pointless

BigSimo
02.05.12
jesus christ it's not in the top 50 at all, there is something seriously wrong here

MrHotMoms
02.05.12
metallica sucks bro

Enotron
02.05.12
what happened with chambered

Deviant.
02.06.12
Chambered forgot to take his drugs and ended up having a BAD DAY

TheFonz123
02.18.12
thrice is number...why is thrice number one?

TheFonz123
02.18.12
Edit: I just listened to that thrice album and I actually really like it, despite my contempt for thier other work. Great list, i feel like most of the defining albums were covered here. 2 should be 1 etc etc etc

pizzamachine
02.18.12
because Thrice is overrated

TheFonz123
02.18.12
edit: wait no i dont its also insipid what a surprise. BUT this list is really good, the people here DO have good taste in music as well as the staff their just very pessimistic and negative people who takes issue with everything. This list is great, i hope the staffers and contributors read this becuase you did a really good job

immortalizepain
12.19.13
Best top 10 list of the year ever.

Keyblade
12.19.13
Fuckin lol

ShadowRemains
12.19.13
"I respect other people's opinions, but this is really bad. Half of these aren't even among the best 500 albums that came out last year... And thrice #1? Sputnik users should be ashamed."

deadbeat you give a lot of great albums really shitty rating so i would stfu

ShadowRemains
12.19.13
well now i look like an idiot, nice bump dumbass

fish.
12.19.13
7 is 4
3 is 2
27 is 1

Deviant.
12.19.13
Did anyone ever notice that the art linked to reviews???

fish.
12.19.13
yeah

also noticed that this year they don't

tut tut

theacademy
12.19.13
haha WHERE ARE CHAMBERED's POSTS????

ShitsofRain
12.19.13
thrice !

Storm In A Teacup
12.19.13
This was the year music started picking up in quantity and quality and exploding in every direction, for me anyway.

fish.
12.19.13
This is the best year for music in recent times but I only realised afterwards

BigPleb
12.19.13
lol, Thrice at #1

Tyrael
12.19.13
Much Sputnik

Storm In A Teacup
12.19.13
My favorite rap album of 2011 was and still is Sir Luscious Left foot

Electric City
12.19.13
2010, Kripes

Funeralopolis
12.19.13
damn this list is awful. Thrice as aoty top lol.

MosesMalone
12.19.13
Man the users of 2011 listened to some seriously faggy tunes.

Skoj
12.19.13
such wow

KILL
12.19.13
shut up memefag

evilford
12.19.13
is this happening for 2013?


Relinquished
12.19.13
yeah

theacademy
12.19.13
i love thrice

Wadlez
12.19.13
Thursday and Dear Hunter should be top 10.. That's about it.

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