Adele - 21

Here’s a fun one! Rolling Stone, everyone’s uncle’s favorite magazine, has just unveiled its year-end top-50 albums list, and there’s a lot to pick through here. The magazine named Adele’s 21 as its #1 album of the year, and that actually makes sense, since it’s pretty much everything Rolling Stone looks for in music: Incredibly popular, reverent toward boomer-friendly music history, steeped in outmoded ideas about musical authenticity. (It’s also, I should add, a pretty good album.)

The rest of the list, however, is just a fascinating mess, with the usual critics’ favorites sharing space with a ghastly collection of classic-rockist silliness: The Tom Morello solo album! Tedeschi Trucks Band! Mick Jagger’s absurd and near-universally-hated supergroup SuperHeavy! It’s nice to see Wild Flag in the top 10, and the list does give some love to a few relatively neglected types like Big K.R.I.T. and (yeah, I’m going to say it) Miranda Lambert, but hoo boy, this thing. The magazine also dropped a list of its top 50 singles, and we’ve got their top 10 below as well; Adele also tops that one. Pick through it all at your leisure below.

Top albums:

50 The Lonely Island – Turtleneck & Chain
49 Wavves – Life Sux
48 Charles Bradley – No More Time For Dreaming
47 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
46 White Denim – D
45 Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator
44 Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin
43 The Kills – Blood Pressures
42 Destroyer – Kaputt
41 Little Dragon – Ritual Union
40 Gary Clark Jr. – The Bright Lights
39 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
38 Mastodon – The Hunter
37 Panda Bear – Tomboy
36 Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks – Mirror Traffic
35 Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
34 SuperHeavy – SuperHeavy
33 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
32 Big K.R.I.T. – Return Of 4Eva
31 Miranda Lambert – Four The Record
30 Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman – World Wide Rebel Songs
29 Pistol Annies – Hell On Heels
28 Das Racist – Relax
27 Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials
26 St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
25 Beyoncé – 4
24 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.
23 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
22 Drake – Take Care
21 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
20 Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
19 Eric Church – Chief
18 Feist – Metals
17 TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
16 R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now
15 Cage The Elephant – Thank You Happy Birthday
14 Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2
13 tUnE-YarDs – w h o k i l l
12 The Black Keys – El Camino
11 My Morning Jacket – Circuital
10 Robbie Robertson – How To Become Clairvoyant
09 Wild Flag – Wild Flag
08 Wilco – The Whole Love
07 The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
06 Lady Gaga – Born This Way
05 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
04 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
03 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
02 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
01 Adele – 21

Top singles:

10 The Decemberists – “Don’t Carry It All”
09 Lil Wayne – “Six Foot Seven Foot” (Feat. Cory Gunz)
08 Beyoncé – “Countdown”
07 Lady Gaga – “Edge Of Glory”
06 Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”
05 Paul Simon – “Rewrite”
04 Foo Fighters – “These Days”
03 Britney Spears – “Till The World Ends”
02 Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Niggas In Paris”
01 Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”

(via Rolling Stone, where you can see all top 50 singles, as well as the magazine’s list of top 10 films)

You can check out Stereogum’s Top 50 Albums Of 2011 list here.

Comments (117)
  1. Rage thread, BEGIN!

  2. *comments*

  3. I ain’t diggin’ this list.

    • its not tooo bad. i like how the lists this year, are fairly different. this is not a bad list at all.

      weirdly, for this year, i don’t find many of the lists at all reprehensible. nice to see big krit and tv on the radio on here.

    • It is very predictable (maybe because I have been reading Rollingstone for over a decade), but I believe it is decent. I like the fact that they hit on mainstream albums that are in fact good, but would be ignored by “indie” outlets’ top 50 list. Although I disagree with many of the choices (ahem Dawes new album really is not that good, especially compared to their previous) I can at least understand where they are coming from.

  4. I totally forgot that Wavves’ Life Sux EP even was made. Everyone knows Trash Talks’ Awake was the EP of the year…

  5. I gotta admit I still don’t see the hype in Adele….That’s not a complaining about her comment just a legitimate what the heck is all the hype about?

    • I love her voice. I think partially why I like her album (granted not the best of 2011 by a good bit) is that for once it is something extremely popular that I can listen to and think, “this is quality music.” Unlike Lady Gaga and Britney which, while I love both, I completely understand the indie blog music community hating upon them vigorously. –just why I like Adele, probably entirely unhelpful to you.

      • No that makes sense :). I mean for me I like some of the lyrics (not Rolling in the Deep though) it’s just I don’t like her voice. It’s exactly like Mumford and Sons for me they’re EXACTLY the type of music I like but I cant get passed her voice but I agree with people that the singer is definitely the most important part of a band.

    • i didn’t mind adele’s music. then the radios started playing her new album nonstop 24/7, my workplace played it, and my sister began playing it. i think you can understand why i really hate her new album now. and why is life sux on here? bug and dave grohl are great songs, but this is a top 50 album list. james blake and others really deserve this list a whole lot more than tom morello, etc

  6. Again, no Wild Beasts and worse, no M83. Unacceptable. I guess I’ll have to go listen to my top 5 and solace myself.

  7. I realize the Strokes album wasn’t life-changing, but I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been on ANY site/publication’s Top 50 list for the year. I’d think it’s at least #50, no? Say, ahead of THE LONELY ISLAND . . . L-O-L

    • I’m with you in that I liked it a lot more than everyone else seemed to. If I were to name off the best albums of the year I might forget it, but if forced to make a Top 50, I think it’d be on there.

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • I didn’t downvote you originally but I do think that a lot of things are better than Angles, so now I downvoted you

        • “Jack Sparrow” for song of the year… Best use of Michael Bolton since Office Space

        • i was expecting some hateful filth when i clicked to see eric “poor bastard” capossela’s comment and what i found was a reasoned argument. so, obvs, I’ve got to agree and say fuck you eric.
          did you seriously not read pitchfork’s review of angles? They said the band should break up which means the strokes are the new weezer and weezer is the new korn and korn is dogshit. i mean dubstep.
          sorry to come down on you (no homo) bra but you should keep up on your shit, man, i don’t want to be mean but come on,

          actually i’m not sorry – where do you get the nerve eric? where do you find the fucking GULL?
          you deserve just the worst end of the year.

          later man, christ.

  8. no rage here, just intuition that i think Rolling Stone’s mailperson didn’t deliver Girls’ Father, Son and Holy Ghost. she kept it for herself.

    • I’m pretty sure the rolling stone boomer crowd would also love Father, Son, Holy Ghost almost as much as everyone else does. if rolling stone had actually listened to it, of course.

    • I agree. That album is really good and extremely accessible to older generations given its reference to older bands such as The Beatles (Love Like a River) or style like the Rolling Stones (Vomit). What I find so interesting is that so many top 50 list put PJ Harvey’s new album way up there, and Rolling Stone (who I feel would appreciate the album) only listed it at 47.

    • rick, you can use that “mailperson” and “she” all you want but your profile pic shows your true womanizer ways.

  9. I mean, none of it’s surprising. It’s also not COMPLETELY terrible. Sorry if that leaves me out of some other commenter’s Cool Kids Club, population: him/her alone in front of the computer.

    I’m joshing, of course. I’m every bit the pretentious snob you are.

    The two that really stick out to me, though, are that Beyonce album and Tom Morello. Beoynce’s stuff is atrocious to the point of being embarrassing. It sounds dated months after it’s released, so I can’t even imagine what it’ll sound like a decade from now. As for Morello, I always thought his solo stuff was terrible, and nothing I heard from that new album changed my mind.

    Okay, three. Because The Lonely Island might be an okay comedy record, but it belongs nowhere near this list, not even as a novelty #50 spot.

    • Beyonce at 25 sticks out more to you than Lady Gaga at 6? 4 made me dance while Born this Way made me shit. It is great for constipation…that is about it.

  10. I read number 50 and knew I wasn’t going to like this list. Then I saw PJ Harvey at 47. I’m out.

    • As soon as I saw number 50, I skipped right to the comments. Can we do a list of lists? ‘Cause if we did, this lists wouldn’t be on my list of top ten lists.

      • Ok, after checking out the list, it did make me realize that Panda Bear and Tom Waits seem to have been missing from all of the other lists, so far, if I’m not mistaken. Those guys seem like they’d be in a top 50 somewhere.

      • If we did a list of lists, this would be the list equivalent of Turtleneck and Chain.

  11. What’s worse, just imagine how insufferable the meeting was to generate this horseshit list.

    I bet some lowly associate editor threatened to go on a hunger strike if Turtleneck & Chain didn’t rank…

  12. In case I forgot why I didn’t read this crappy magazine, I think they just told me.

  13. Lonely Island in the top 50 automatically asks that this list not be taken seriously along with PJ at 47 and no M83. Though they do have some albums in there that I haven’t seen anywhere else that I liked (stephen malkmus, kurt vile, little dragon). Also LOL at top 10 singles

  14. Glad to see some Decemberist love. Although, it is lacking a few standouts! M83 anyone???

  15. whoa, radiohead released an album this year???

  16. As wacky as this list is, I have to give it credit for being the only list I’ve seen so far to include White Denim’s D. That one deserves more credit.

  17. This is not nearly as bad as I would have expected from Rolling Stone. It’s missing a lot of albums I of course would have include, ala M83, Girls, WU LYF et al., but it doesn’t fill me with rage like I would have expected.

  18. I didn’t even know Paul Simon released an album this year, let alone the third best one. Oh my, I am wildly out of touch with new music, thanks for keeping me up to date again Rolling Stone!

  19. at least the black keys are on it.

  20. Its a really wierd list with a ton of randoms, but its not terrible by any means. This is the magazine that once declared Kurt Cobain one of the greatest guitar players a while back, so big step up from there

  21. Yep, lots of regrettable choices here…the hangover from this one is gonna be rough.

    But there is one thing that R.S. got right that Stereogum completely screwed up on: the inclusion of T.V. on the Radio (Nine Types of Light).

    Just the decision to snub TOTR on their best album to date is worse than this whole half-baked list that R.S. has bestowed on us.

    • should have been one of the top 10

    • I love TVOTR, but I am confident that you are the only person on earth that believes Nine Types of Light is their best album.

      Different strokes for different folks.

      • I think it’s somewhat like splitting hairs–there’s a lot of really, really good material across all of their albums, and picking one album as their “best” is like picking Revolver over the White Album…I’m not sure if you can really go wrong.

        The main issue is that I think Nine Types of Light (just like Dear Science) is an excellent album, one certainly worthy of being up in the top 50 of this year (and in my opinion, worthy of being near or in the top 10). R.S. had the album listed, Stereogum didn’t have it at all.

        Regardless of whether you think Nine Types of Light is good by TOTR standards (which are pretty damn high), would you say that it’s not worthy of being included in the top 50 albums of this year?

      • Actually, Leo isn’t the only person on Earth who thinks this. Nine Types of Light, if not TV On The Radio’s best album to date, is every bit the equal of its predecessors. Other than its more subdued and restrained nature—and perhaps the lack of a definitive standout track—there is no reason to overlook quality so undeniable.

  22. the Wavves EP, are you fucking kidding me? THAT makes this list. Also, if the King Of Limbs was done by a band not named Radiohead, it wouldn’t be on ANY year-end lists.

    • or If it was a done by a band not named Radiohead it would be much higher.

    • I stand by the idea that the King of Limbs would actually be much more popular if it was made by anyone else. Here is my one and only public list of things that you expect from Radiohead but don’t receive from the King of Limbs (all of which they don’t f***ing owe you): 1. A goddamn game changer! 2. New sing-a-longs for the next Radiohead tour. 3. Jonny Greenwood guitar heroics 4. Songs to make you think that Thom Yorke is still more depressed than you…Anyone care to help me out with a few more?

    • i dont see the king of limbs on any year end list t , they have been ignored in most of those lists

  23. oh no list fatigue setting in… too soon.. so many lists left to hate.

  24. Really surprised to see Girls not make the list, I thought RS would eat that shit up. Granted, Father Son Holy Ghost is no TURTLENECK AND CHAIN but………………………………..

  25. Wait, none of these albums are even by The Rolling Stones !!

  26. The only factoid that needs to be remembered when contextualizing Rolling Stone’s annual list is the magazine listed Mick Jagger’s Goddess in the Doorway as the third best album of 2001.

    Considering that, this list could be a lot worse.

    • Honestly, I think the fact that SuperHeavy made this list at all tops even that. Weird for anyone to take the position that Mick Jagger can do no wrong when there are MOUNTAINS of evidence refuting that.

  27. as mainstream as you’d expect from Rolling Stone

  28. Where the fuck is Bill Callahan and The War on Drugs!

  29. Another terrible list paid for by Sony. Expect the same at the Grammys.

  30. I feel like their number 51 would probably be Lulu.

  31. They left out some big ones (Girls, M83, etc.), put some way too low (Drake, Florence), but this is still an interesting list. I don’t get the whole Paul Simon #3 thing, but at least it’s really different from nearly everything else we’ll see this list season….not that this should be confused with being good. It’s just a nice reminder of some stuff I didn’t necessarily listen to. Kinda shocked they didn’t put El Camino in their top ten.

  32. One thing that seems to be the case with this year (unlike many previous years) is that no one can agree on albums that came out being definitively great.

    • I agree with that sentiment. This is the first year in a while that I haven’t been able to definitively choose a favorite album of the year; a lot of really good albums came out, but none made me freak out in excitement like in the last couple years.

  33. I hate to go after the Foo FIghters because Dave Grohl is super cool and i have nothing against the rest of them…but…#20? better than St. Vincent, Panda Bear, Little Dragon etc.? I don’t think so.

  34. So glad R.E.M. is finally included in one of these lists. Collapse Into Now is amazing.

  35. Not really that bad of a list. Pull your indie heads out of your hipster assess. And the Tom Morello diss was lame. More talent in his pinkie than the poster have in a single pubic hair.

  36. The list is predictably very Rolling Stone-ish, but it’s a bit rich for Stereogum to be looking down their noses and making fun of it, days after you guys posted a list which is equally formulaic and lacking originality or imagination and full of typical Stereogum picks. Pot, kettle, black, etc.

  37. The best thing I can say about this list is that I think Rolling in the Deep is a decent song…

    • I think it’s an excellent song, and the best thing ever done by Adele. I just love the gospel feel, the background vocals chanting, and it’s just great to sing along. Don’t mind seeing it at #1 at all. At least it wasn’t the awful and rip-off Born This Way by Lady GagGag.

  38. These lists keep reminding me Radiohead released an album this year…and I still don’t really care enough to go back and give it another go…

  39. Its a brilliant list. If I have to name the best album of the year I’ll ofcourse name Adele ’21′. Its a brilliant album but its not great.But the compositions are so touching,soulful & awesome that itself makes it deserve the top position. Fleet Foxes ‘Helplessness Blues’ is a masterpiece! Radiohead ‘The King of Limbs’ (I’m obsessed with the album), PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’, REM ‘Collapse Into Now’ are also great. I know that Rolling Stone love Radiohead .
    The problem with Rolling Stone they include Jay-Z or Kanye West Album in top 5 however the album might sound like. ‘Watch the throne’ is a pure letdown. Its just good (almost sucks). Its nothing like ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. It doesnt deserve 2nd posn at all.

    • lol, well, if I have to name the most unintelligible comment of the year I’ll ofcourse name this weird thing above my comment =)

      • If I had to name to most pompous douchebag comment of the year, it would have to be this weird thing above me. Since when are people not allowed to have their own opinions and tastes? isn’t that what being an “individual” is all about? Get real.

      • You are the most unintelligent douche bag I’ve seen in my life. Before you say some comment unintelligent just look at yourself. You are a scumbag, a troll. what the fuck do you know about music you weirdo before you shoot your fucking mouth off on a comment. I listened almost more than40 albums of 2011 before I made that comment. You just surf the internet to troll on other people. just go get a life.

        • lol, cool your jets chief

          • I never said anything was unintelligent. I said unintelligible. Look at the roots. It literally means impossible to understand. Your writing is bereft of legibility. That’s all I’m sayin’. Regarding the quality of your initial list: I was disappointed by KOL, Helplessness Blues felt disjointed, and Collapse Into Me is incessantly mediocre.

          • okay I misread it as unintelligent. thats what you felt about those albums. but I felt they are brilliant albums.

        • Holy shit, do people not read what they write? Your post is the definitive example of unintelligible. Dylan is totally correct. To suggest that your post is self-contradictory barely begins to scratch the surface of everything nonsensical about it, such as “…brilliant…but not great” and “just good (almost sucks)”? WTF? How do you even divine any logic in those two examples?

  40. The Kanye/Jay-Z album was terrible. Let England Shake should be much, much higher.

  41. Pretty much what I expected. Any “best of” list with Lady Gaga on it is immediately invalidated in my book. However, the inclusion of Little Dragon, Tom Waits, Panda Bear, Kurt Vile, Fleet Foxes and Destroyer shows that at least someone on the RS payroll has taste.

  42. Born This Way was a bunch of noise. Judas was the only good song.

    • Most people agree that Judas is her weakest and least effective single off BTW. It’s a rehash of Bad Romance, albeit a more boring and drawn out rendition.

  43. I’m happy for Gaga because her efforts deserve such a high position. In my opinion, #1 should have been ‘Ceremonials’… anyway, I don’t think ’21′ is that better than it, I find it a bit overrated even if it is very good. Bjork and Foster the People could have made into the album list! And I’m not gonna say anything about ‘Till the World Ends’ being the #3 single……

  44. i stopped reading once i saw wavves was on the list.

  45. I don’t understand what these lists are for. I read one or two every now and then to maybe discover new music. But most of it is really boring. I definitely like a handful of the new avant-garde electronic artists [does not include Lady Gaga (I know she is sometimes mistaken as one)], but a lot of it is just lackluster. Truth is a bullshit concept. Think I’ll stop trying to update mahself with this crap-for-magazine and use it something it’s more effective at doing– wiping my ass. And that’s not saying much considering the absorbability of a Rolling Stone magazine, both figuratively and literally.

  46. Barf! what a joke.

  47. You know when you take a big dump, and you have to leave the fan on cause it smells like ass. Yeah, that’s what this list reminds me of.

  48. M83 got robbed. As did Bon Iver.

  49. What the Fuck? No Papa Roach? I ain’t saying I know what year it is or if my boys even released something wicked sick in the last 12 months, but shit. Hey, uh, what’s your sister been up to?

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