The 100 Best Albums of 2011
I try to listen to new music every day, and have made this a part of my daily routine for many years. I'm not
sure how many new CDs I heard during the course of 2011, but on some days I listen to four or more
albums in their entirety, and a typical week will find me checking out 15-20 new releases. As the list below
makes clear, I tend to range widely over various styles and genres.
I am impressed by how much outstanding music is recorded nowadays, but I am equally struck by how well
hidden it is. More than at any time in my life, the best music is hard to find. You will almost never hear it
on the radio, and increasingly it is not even on the radar screens of the major labels. The record stores,
where fans once learned about important new releases, have mostly gone out of business. Even as music
becomes more omnipresent and accessible, new barriers prevent listeners from hearing the most talented
and creative artists.
For this reason, I am sharing a more complete listing of my favorite albums this year. In a world in which
the best music is hidden from view, personal recommendation and word-of-mouth become the main
gateways for discovering exciting new sounds. I present this large list as a guide to those who are looking
for inspiring, intelligent and mind-expanding music, and want some guidance from someone who sifts
through the many new releases looking for the cream of the crop.
Below are my selections for the 100 best CDs of 2011. I encourage you to check out some artists that you
haven't heard before. And if you hear something you like, spread the word.