The Top 40 Albums Of 2011: 30 – 21

From Ryan Adams to Oneohtrix Point Never

Clash continues it’s in-depth rundown of it’s Top 40 Albums of 2011 with Ryan Adams, Matthew Bennett, Florence And The Machine, The Low Anthem, Bon Iver, Explosions In The Sky, Bibio, Wilco, M83 and Oneohtrix Point Never.

30. Ryan Adams ‘Ashes And Fire’

Despite his Hollywood wife and home, Adams’ heart clearly lies elsewhere, as each song on ‘Ashes And Fire’ falls like another homesick teardrop. Emotional and tender yet mellow and melodic, this troubadour’s personal journey makes for a profound yet comforting experience.

Best Bit: The exquisite lament of ‘I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say’.

Simon Harper


The year’s most provocative recording came from a pigsty. Politicised maverick Herbert insisted we confront the crap we are forced to eat by sampling the sounds of birth, life and banquet of a commercial pig. Startling, musical, melancholic. Herbert’s subtextual music seriously dwells on the dark and salty side to how we live our lives.

Best Bit: Butchery song ‘August 2010’ hears a freakishly human wail from beyond the abattoir.

Matthew Bennett

28. Florence And The Machine ‘Ceremonials’

Fittingly released on Halloween, ‘Ceremonials’ heralded the triumphant return of one of Britain’s most exciting pop stars. Bettering the sound she first developed on ‘Lungs’, the only problem she faces now is deciding which of its massive songs to release as singles.

Best Bit: The atmospheric African tribal-style chanting on ‘Heartlines’.

Laura Foster

27. The Low Anthem ‘Smart Flesh’

Building on the modest majesty of ‘Oh My God Charlie Darwin’, this stunning folk record has lost none of its impact and still has the capacity to evoke tears and wonderment in equal measure. The human condition set to music.

Best Bit: “Alzheimer poetry” lyric in ‘I’ll Take Out Your Ashes’. Heartbreaking.

Gareth James

26. Bon Iver ‘Bon Iver’

He enthralled us with his deep thoughts and high pitch, dueted with Kanye and came back to us with a much happier album, full of love, friendships and some experimental sounds. If anything, Bon Iver shows us there’s light after the dark.

Best Bit: The cheery, warm, lo-fi of ‘Calgary’ – folk with a hint of A-Ha!

Gemma Hampson

25. Explosions In The Sky ‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care’

For their sixth album, the Texas post-rock heroes shifted their genre’s template slightly, creating an album that was, in effect, one long, continuous denouement. Graceful and intense, it also boasted the best album artwork of the year by a mile.

Best Bit: Turning the gatefold sleeve into a pop-up house. And the music.

Mischa Pearlman

24. Bibio ‘Mind Bokeh’

Five albums in, ‘Mind Bokeh’ was the subtle reaffirmation of Stephen Wilkinson’s kaleidoscopic talent. Never content to be consistent, the album was a spectral funk odyssey of heavy vocoder, deliciously decadent synth and rich eclectic tones. Never easy but always rewarding.

Best Bit: ‘Anything New’ – like walking down a sun-kissed Sesame Street.

Reef Younis

23. Wilco ‘The Whole Love’

Delivered with some gusto onstage, this latest set finds Wilco straddling their various incarnations as both writers of the classic American song and as intricate sonic noodlers of some standing. A burst of honourable late-’70s Costello pastiche is particularly enjoyable.

Best Bit: ‘Art Of Almost’ twitches out of static and into life.

Gareth James

22. M83 ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’

If there were ever an album that fitted the bill as soundtrack to any respectable Eighties teen rom-com, this would be it. Braggadocio highs neatly mingle with moments of calm to make this lucid dream of a double-album a manageable reality.

Best Bit: Has to be that phenomenal sax solo on ‘Midnight City’.

Errol Anderon


Gestating a concept album that samples sixty horrendous American infomercials sounds like a Guantanamo Bay torture technique, but Daniel Lopatin’s burnished communiqué reprocesses this bile into a tender, lapping and oft melancholic wander through the valleys of abstraction. His fragments and layers elevate a work beyond obsessive to the sublime.

Best Bit: Sucked into Lopatin’s Trojan Horse of sounds, we walk away smiling.

Matthew Bennett

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Read Clash’s full Top 40 Albums Of 2011 HERE

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