2011 Top 40 Albums: 40-31

40. Wilco (The Whole Love)

Wilco’s eighth studio album has reintroduced their amazing abilities. Between their surprisingly uninspiring sixth and seventh albums (Sky Blue Sky and Wilco the Album), their awesome talent and extreme power was hidden. The Whole Love reminds listeners that Wilco albums are filled with creativity, cool experimentation and risks. -Joanna Nowak


39. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Belong)

The beautiful thing about Belong is that it doesn’t ever sound like a sequel even for a moment. This album is vibrant and much more bold than Pain’s debut album, and the quality of the instrumentation and the lyrics is just as wonderful as ever. Belong highlights their lovable 90s alt-rock style that is both catchy and impressive. -Joanna Nowak

38. The Kills (Blood Pressures)

The Kills took a more fundamental sound with this album, dropping more pop inspired beats for a retro mix of punk and blues. This album feels like a pair of old distressed jeans, worn and smooth in all the right places, but very rough around the edges with some fashionable holes. -Anais Binkowski



37. Los Campesinos! (Hello Sadness)
Los Campesinos! followed up their early 2010 release, Romance is Boring with the more toned down and mature Hello Sadness. The overt punk edge seen on Romance is Boring has been replaced with subtle undertones that give the album a new feel and character that all bands should seek to replicate. After rumors they were breaking up early last year, it was a pleasant surprise to get this album this year. -Kyle Rogers

36. Wye Oak (Civilian)

Music duos never cease to amaze me with just how much sound they manage to get out of just two people. Wye Oak, compromised of Jenn Wasner (vocals and guitar) and Andy Stack (drums and keys), is no exception. Civilian, their third album, displays how much they’ve grown with beautiful tracks like “Holy Holy” and “Plains.” -Maddie Rehayem



35. Beirut (The Rip Tide)

“The Rip Tide” is 33 minutes of everything we love about Beirut; beautiful horns and the ever- pleasing strums of Zach Condon’s ukulele, compelling lyrics, and beauty from start to finish. Notable tracks include “Santa Fe”, “East Harlem”, and the title track “The Rip Tide.” This album is cohesive with no weak links and is worth listening to over and over again. -Mada Larson

34. Kurt Vile (Smoke Ring for my Halo)

Kurt Vile’s fourth album really shows him coming into his own. He’s cleaned up. The result is a collection of songs that are often sparser and more immediately personal than some of his previous work – and that’s what really makes Smoke Ring for my Halo shine. The lucid introspection of his lyrics is intriguing and rich and when coupled with these arrangements, you really get a sense that you are taking a trip into the mind of the songwriter. -DJ Placek

33. Neon Indian (Era Extraña)

This album is a bundle of contradiction, with creepy synth patterns crackling under ever playful songs. The band’s goofy sense of humor really comes out in the album, along with more elemental and streamlined melodies. I guess this is why they say opposites attract! -Anais Binkowski



32. The Vaccines (What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?)

Vaccines front man Justin Young wore his band’s t-shirt to their Lollapalooza set last summer, a prime display of this British band’s youthful sassiness. During that show, songs from their debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? had a large crowd singing along already. “Norgaard” and “All In White” were among my own favorites. -Maddie Rehayem

31. Lykke Li (Wounded Rhymes)

With Lykke Li’s second album the Swedish pop sweetheart proved she had the makings of a crooning siren. Wounded Rhymes still showcased Li’s quirky pop edge, but took her talent one step further with darker, more mature songwriting. -Kelly Mincey

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