Favorite popular music of 2011

Here goes, in no particular order:

1. Abigail Washburn, City of Refuge.

2. Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes.

3. James Blake, James Blake and also Enough Thunder.

4. St. Vincent, Strange Mercy.

5. Shabazz Palaces, Black Up.

6. Miles Davis, Live in Europe 1967.

7. This May be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 RPM, 1957-1982, assorted artists.

8. Wilco, The Whole Love.

9. The Smile Sessions, The Beach Boys.

10. Indeed, by Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke (LP only, a real winner, beautiful sound).

11. Opika Pende, Africa at 78 RPM.

A few observations: Lots of good music this year, but I haven’t yet heard anything path breaking.  Most indie rock is overrated and overall it is a less vital genre than pop, although since the latter is centered around songs rather than albums it is underrepresented on this list.  The artist I listened to the most this year was probably Lonnie Mack, followed by John Fahey.  The two best concerts I saw were Satyagraha at the Met and Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman playing together.  Indian classical music lost some of its leading lights.  I like both P.J. Harvey and Tom Waits, but at this point do I need to buy more music by them?  I still listen to Gilbert O’Sullivan sometimes.  Beck seemed like a distant memory.

Addendum: Here is a favorite music list from Angus.


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