Favourite Pop & Rock Albums of 2011
Published Jan 31, 2012As 2011 drew to a close, Exclaim! writers published their list of the best Pop & Rock albums of the year, featuring releases from Bon Iver, St. Vincent and Feist, before turning the vote over to you, the fans, with our year-end Readers Poll.
After receiving the most entries ever, the Readers Poll results are finally in for Pop & Rock, with readers giving love to a British songstress and her "soulful" sound, the return of a "rock god" and, well, Katy Perry.
Check out the full Pop & Rock results below and read why they topped your playlists in 2011.
Exclaim! Readers Poll: Top 10 Pop & Rock Records of 2011:
"The most genuine voice I have heard in a very long time."
Jill Mandley, Toronto, ON
"Soulful, rich sound with hints of the sultry."
Grace Foli, Surrey, BC
"Every single person that hears the song 'Someone Like You' immediately feels the need to sing it. It is seriously catchy, albeit super sad. Go Adele! You make the songs that all of us can relate to."
Brittany Ashie, Toronto, ON
"Adele takes the listener through a great emotional ride and it's done really well."
Alysha Pancholi, Waterloo, ON
"Adele is one of the greatest artists out there. Profound lyrics and she sounds great in concerts as well."
Chantal Chiasson, Dieppe, NB
"She has dominated the music industry this year. Cannot forget her strong and impassioned voice."
Nials Everett, Almonte, ON
2. The Black Keys
El Camino (Nonesuch)
"These guys should have made headlines LONG ago."
Scott Duck, Victoria, BC
"Easily the most ballsy rock assault by a mainstream act, and delivered with speed. Arcade Fire, on the other hand, just put out two videos for a song that was released over a year ago. Just saying."
Colin Gibson, Toronto, ON
"Best band today."
Tyler Spate, Calgary, AB
"These two guys can do no wrong."
Daniel Chicon, Mississauga, ON
"It's good to hear a clean, real rock sound again."
William Uniac, York, ON
"The future of blues music."
Tom Cowan, Edmonton, AB
3. Lady Gaga
Born This Way (Streamline/Interscope)
"Pure spectacle and catchy, what more would you want for pop?"
Kawai Lam, Toronto, ON
Laura Boyce, Toronto, ON
"Can't help liking it. And she wears meat. Enough said."
Chris McKernan, North York, ON
"I was saved by this album."
Mari Kusanagi, Richmond Hill, ON
"I love the Lady."
Hans Watchel, Toronto, ON
4. Bon Iver
Bon Iver (Jagjauwar)
"Unbelievable evolution of an already fantastic artist."
Tom Thwaits, Meaford, ON
"This music is really genre-less, timeless and just plain beautiful."
Tristan Crocker, Barrie, ON
"Reminds me so much of the Cure's Disintegration. Beautiful, lush sounds. Not surprising considering the guy's got ten people on stage."
Derek Chan, Toronto, ON
"Grabbed a hold of this faster than For Emma... Love the patience in his music and how each track gets better with every listen."
Jason Birch, Surrey, BC
"I listened to this in the car and it really made my Saturday morning errands something more."
James Chow, Richmond Hill, ON
5. Foo Fighters
Wasting Light (RCA)
"A really fun album that was really easy to dismiss as it just seemed like more tossed off excellence from Dave Grohl."
David Jung, Burnaby, BC
"Dave Grohl is by far the greatest rock god of the moment. Honest, sincere, how can you not respect such a genuine band?"
Dan Delisle, St. Catharines, ON
"Solid album front to back."
Gaelin Brown, Thunder Bay, ON
Dylan Gernat, Thunder Bay, ON
"Dave Grohl and band mates offered their most memorable set of songs and took it back to basics of mid-'90s grunge days."
Tanya Buksa, Thornhill, ON
Metals (Arts & Crafts)
"Her best in years!"
Jonathan Sloan, Courtice, ON
"Feist says we see the bad in each other, but heck, I don't see anything. What I can tell you is that I hear lots of things, and everything I'm hearing of Metals is damn good."
Donna Lay, Maple, ON
"Subtle, but amazing!"
Russ Lavoie, Sherwood Park, AB
"Very pleased with this album. She gets better with every release!"
Nick Straz, Guelph, ON
"She's the man."
Philip Kummel, Hamilton, ON
7. PJ Harvey
Let England Shake (Vagrant)
"An incredible musical portrait of past times."
Olivier Vallerand, Quebec City, QC
"No other album in 2011 matched the lyrical seriousness and sonic awesomeness of Polly Jean's talent."
Kristen Rutherford, Edmonton, AB
"Hard to pinpoint just what makes this album stick it to me so hard. Could be the subtle visions of ghosts behind 'Battleship Hill,' could be the folk protest call of 'Words that Maketh Murder.' There is a reason this album is the second of hers to win the Mercury Prize."
Kristy Radford, Toronto, ON
"Great records have the unique ability to capture a moment in time and preserve it forever in the mind of the listener. The Clash's London Calling feels like 1979; Radiohead's OK Computer like 1997. This one captures 2011 for better or for worse. The soundtrack for a international social movements, maligned economies and the flickers of hope that music will always prevail to soothe the souls of those that need it most. Let England Shake is that flame of hope we all needed for year of tumult."
Sean Wraight, London, ON
"My money's on this album standing as one of the best of the decade."
Jennifer Woltemade, Ottawa, ON
8. Katy Perry
Teenage Dream (EMI)
"She's the best!"
Jeff Quon, Ottawa, ON
"Kids like to dance to her tunes."
Lorraine Lambie-Webb, Burnaby, BC
"She is innovative and the songs are meaningful."
Kathy Sharan, Vancouver, BC
"Quite a character."
Linda Klages, Hanover, ON
"It is meaningful and unique."
Rahoul Sharan, Vancouver, BC
The Whole Love (dBpm)
"Tweedy is brilliant."
Steve Stinson, Toronto, ON
"You can always count on Wilco to come out with a great album every time."
Luc Lavoie, South Porcupine, ON
"No surprises here -- they keep on delivering."
Jeff Richardson, Toronto, ON
"Wilco does it again."
Nick Kewin, Toronto, ON
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Mute)
"Uhh... Have you even heard this album? It destroys."
James Johnson, Abbotsford, BC
"These Frenchies do it right."
Tory Nash, Toronto, ON
"It's an oddly triumphant album for how boring it seems on first listen, all throbbing major chords and no flourish. Yet this distilled effort is really what M83's been going for all along. If you pay attention you'll notice that he's hidden some serious gems on this album: the brother-sister 1-2 punch of 'Splendor' and 'Wait' are a complementary pair of flawless love songs. Like the supremely underrated Digital Shades, Vol I, M83's saying more with less here."
Andrew MacKenzie, Vancouver, BC
"Just when I thought the return of 2/3rds of Sleater-Kinney was enough to make my year, M83 puts out a stupendous double album that reminds me why I love dark nights in big cities."
Andre Todoroff, Toronto, ON
"Ever since I saw the last 15 seconds of the 'America' video from Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts I have been hooked on M83. But while they showed so much promise on so many of their singles, their albums were disappointing -- inconsistent, indulgent and retreating too often into that increasingly familiar M83 sound. But on Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, all those elements I loved about M83 -- the crescendos, the cinematics, the slight cheesiness, and that comforting M83 sound -- all came together perfectly. It's the most restrained M83 album yet and the most accessible. Is that a coincidence?"
Darryl Brant, Oshawa, ON