It's been a year unlike any other. Bedroom producers buried the internet under a load of midtempo sludge, Major Lazer's Pon de Floor provided the main sample to no less than 30 chart hits and something called Skrillex became the acceptable face of electronic music. Hark, then, at our critics' ability to separate wheat from chaff and deduce ten records from 2011 that will echo through the ages. Surprisingly it's the old guard that dominate our list; Kate Bush, PJ Harvey and Tom Waits have all delivered career highlights, while Bon Iver and Tune Yards both dismissed the 'Difficult Second Album' syndrome with a casual shrug. Anyone looking to release a debut in 2012, take note...
The Critometer Top 10
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (92%)
2. Kate Bush - 50 Words For Snow (90%)
3. tUnE yArDs - W H O K I L L (88%)
4. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Soul Time! (88%)
5. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (87%)
6. The Horrors - Skying (87%)
7. Tom Waits - Bad As Me (87%)
8. Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light Vol. 1 (86%)
9. Nils Frahm - Felt (86%)
10. Wild Beasts - Smother (85%)
Sarabeth Tucek - Get Well Soon (81%)
"Better than her debut, stunningly sad but rocks out in the appropriate places."
St Vincent - Strange Mercy (82%)
"It's rare to like an album this immediately; to continue liking it is rarer still."
Wye Oak - Civilian (78%)
"We've seen them twice this year. This is very good."
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo (76%)
"Released in March and still on very heavy rotation."
Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere (82%)
"Really beautiful, and perfectly cordial during our interview."
Not their year...
Young The Giant - Young The Giant (45%)
"Probably not even worth stealing."