Yeah, this is completely out of left field. But curious to see if it gets a conversation going.

Last year I bought a record player and some records from Value Village. I got excited. Sadly, the record player didn’t work, so for the sake of a handful of records I ended up buying a new record player. This has inevitably led to picking up used records at second-hand stores, garage sales, and music stores whenever possible. It’s tremendously fun to find records that you’ve heard of but never really listened to, and give them a shot for a dollar or two. Surprisingly often, my roommates and I have found absolute gems, and so, I present the top ten records of 2011 – none of which were recorded remotely close to 2011:

10. Meatloaf – Dead Ringer (1998)







Yeah, this surprised me too. Meatloaf’s image and musical style are worlds apart, and the balladeering we all know from I Would Do Anything For Love is really more indicative of his music than the Bat Out of Hell album names. This record is epic, polyrhythmic, bizarrely awesome songs. Dead Ringer For Love. Look it up. Bask.

9. Patsy Cline – Stop The World (Not Quite Sure?)







Patsy Cline is just awesome, and this entire record just puts an entire, wonderful feel into a room.

8. Diana Ross and the Supremes – Greatest Hits (1967)







Dear me, motown is just awesome. You know so many of Diana Ross’s songs, they’re all fantastic, and they’re delivered with heart and soul. Also, rent and watch In The Shadows of Motown.

7. The Doobie Brothers – Best of the Doobies (1976)







I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand pretty mama
Come and dance with your daddy all night long
I want to honky tonk, honky tonk, honky tonk
With you all night long

6. The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)







This was one of my favorite albums in 2003, becomes a favorite again in 2011. If this list was my top ten albums ever, it’d still be on it. It’s genius.

5. Sam Cooke – This Is Sam Cooke (1970)







You already know most of this compilation record. This is Saturday nights, from ages 6-10, hanging out with my family, listening to golden oldies on the radio. Sam Cooke’s got soul, and he’s catchier than Carly Rae Jepson.

4. Queen – Greatest Hits (1981)







I grew up thinking that Queen was We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, because we only ever listened to it in dressing rooms at hockey games. The reality is that this band is absurdly creative, completely groundbreaking. Commenters on the Youtube video for Under Pressure that complained that Queen ripped off Vanilla Ice should be stuffed into a cannon and fired into a lake.  Go listen to Under Pressure now.

3. Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat (1971)







The entire record is sheer meditative bliss. It happens to boast Peace Train, Moonshadow, and Morning Has Broken. This album should probably be higher up on lists of the best albums ever, and it’s just kinda special.

2. Billy Joel – Innocent Man (1983)







In terms of sheer quality, this record may be artificially high on my list. It hits #2 for cultural impact. This is one that has connected with all of my roommates and friends, and it has some serious highlights. Song of the year 2011 is – easily – For The Longest Time. Check out Billy Joel dominating it acapella here.

1. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (1977)







This record is just so, so, f’n good. Dreams, Never Going Back Again (my favorite), Go Your Own Way, Songbird, The Chain. This album is a masterpiece, it has everything. People have wondered if animosity between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks made the album better; I won’t bother trying to sort that out. But the emotion is there, in every song, and it’s awesome.

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