2011 in Music: The Albums of the Year

More

Crowning the best, worst, and most Occupy Wall Street-ish releases in 2011 pop, rock, and rap

yearinmusicbanner615.jpg

Tune-Yards/Reuters/AP Images

Atlantic writers survey the biggest stories on their beats See full coverage

Music's perhaps the easiest art form to argue about, and 2011 in particular was a good year for big debates in pop, rock, and rap. Does modern music have a defining sound? Is it a problem if it doesn't? Is nostalgia killing creativity? Is Lady Gaga a genius or a hack? Is Adele the return of "real music" or just the triumph of the bland? Is Bon Iver too soggy or just soggy enough? Etc.

Instead of ranking the albums of the year, below, I've tried to hit some—some!—of the highlights and lowlights, slotting them into appropriate, if narrow, categories of achievement. Go ahead, argue about it.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's Patch.com and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club, RollingStone.com, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In