December 5, 2011 Musicians new and familiar gave us exciting sounds in 2011. We witnessed the ascent of the mighty Merrill Garbus, a.k.a. tUnE-yArDs. We reveled at the return of Ishmael Butler, formerly known as Butterfly from jazz-rap greats Digable Planets, whose debut with Shabazz Palaces gave off a dark buzz. Wilco moved even farther away from its alt-country roots and managed to sound even more like Wilco. The list of our 50 favorite records of 2011 wraps up here, with album Shabazz Palaces, Sonny Rollins and more artists from S to W.
December 5, 2011 2011 was a fertile year for collaborations, both long-awaited (Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne) and out-of-the-blue (King Creosote and Jon Hopkins' Diamond Mine). What else? Oh, just a definitive version of a century-old masterwork (Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2) by a storied institution (the London Philharmonic Orchestra) and a couple of debut albums (Kendrick Lamar's Section.80 and La Vida Boheme's Nuestra) that made our heads spin. The list of our 50 favorite albums of 2011 continues here, with albums from Radiohead, PJ Harvey and more artists from K to R.
December 5, 2011 In 2011, Frank Ocean sang hooks for Jay-Z and Kanye West, wrote for Beyoncé, toured with Odd Future and still managed to release the smoothest R&B album we've heard in a while. We enjoyed opera's return to form with vibrant young tenor Joseph Calleja and fell in love with a rock opera from a band whose name we're not even allowed to say on NPR. The list of our 50 favorite records of 2011 continued with Frank Ocean, F----- Up and more artists from F to J.
December 5, 2011 This year was about changing perspectives. American string quartet Brooklyn Rider revealed a warmer Philip Glass and France's Ebène Quartet found a common thread from Mozart to Bruce Springsteen. Demdike Stare proved that dark techno can be breathtakingly beautiful and Conor Oberst reinvented himself as a rock star. The list of our 50 favorite records of 2011 continues with Bright Eyes, Brooklyn Rider and more artists from B to E.
December 5, 2011 In 2011, we were equally charmed by Adele's broken heart and Beyonce's marital bliss. We were thrilled when The Book Of Mormon became the first Broadway cast album to hit the top ten on the Billboard pop charts in 40 years and pleasantly surprised when the Grammys discovered a guy in a Wisconsin cabin. The list of our 50 favorite records of 2011 starts with Adele, Alexandre Tharaud and more artists from A to B.
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