PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

After Rolling Stone, NME is now the second major music magazine to reveal its year-end top-50 list today. And following Uncut and MOJO, it’s also the second British rock rag to name PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake as its album of the year. Those Brits sure do love harrowing battlefield spirit-postcards! The rest of the list is pretty much what you’d expect from NME, with young and stylish British guitar bands dominating. (Kurt Vile, at #5, is the top-ranked foreigner.) There’s also, further down the list, a higher-than-average quotient of gothier, noisier, more psychedelic stuff; Suuns and Death Grips, who haven’t exactly been tearing up these year-end lists, make appearances. Below, we’ve got NME’s top 50 albums, as well as their top 10 singles; you’ll have to check out the actual magazine to see the rest of their top 50 singles.

Top 50 albums:

50 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
48 Slow Club – Paradise
47 Real Estate – Days
46 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
45 Austra – Feel It Break
44 Destroyer – Kaputt
43 Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
42 Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia
41 Death Grips – Ex-Military
40 Cold Cave – Cherish The Light Years
39 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
38 Björk – Biophilia
37 White Denim – D
36 Iceage – New Brigade
35 TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
34 Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
33 Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
32 Alex Turner – Submarine Soundtrack
31 Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials
30 Friendly Fires – Pala
29 Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
28 The Field – Looping State Of Mind
27 Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
26 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
25 Planningtorock – W
24 Big Talk – Big Talk
23 Yuck – Yuck
22 Noah & The Whale – Last Night On Earth
21 Kasabian – Velociraptor
20 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
19 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
18 Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes
17 Battles – Gloss Drop
16 Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix
15 Wild Flag – Wild Flag
14 The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
13 Suuns – Zeroes QC
12 Scum – Again Into Eyes
11 Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
10 WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
09 tUnE-YarDs – w h o k i l l
08 Katy B – On A Mission
07 St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
06 Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
05 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
04 Wild Beasts – Smother
03 The Horrors – Skying
02 Metronomy – The English Riviera
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Top 10 singles:
10 M83 – “Midnight City”
09 Howler – “I Told You Once”
08 tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”
07 Metronomy – “The Bay”
06 Battles – “Ice Cream”
05 Wild Beasts – “Bed Of Nails”
04 PJ Harvey – “The Words That Maketh Murder”
03 The Horrors – “Still Life”
02 Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”
01 Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”

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

Comments (68)
  1. “Pfsh. Number 1? Top 47, MAYBE.” – Rolling Stone

  2. Am I the only one who feels like this whole Lana Del Ray thing is a huge practical joke that’s being played on us? Number 1 is “Video Games? I don’t think I’ve heard a more boring song all year.

    • It’s kind of funny / sad that the top song juxtaposed against the top album is a contrived image vs. a real female musician scenario. I’m done lamenting about Lana, though — I posted my Best and Worst of Everything Else in 2011 feature last night, and it’s time to move on and put the path of destruction she leaves in her wake behind me.

      Of the albums I would have expected to see on NME’s list, I’m surprised Cerebral Ballzy’s debut isn’t considering Honor Titus was named #3 on their Cool List.

      • Being cool has nothing to do with being good. Do you think Sid Vicious was good at playing bass? Or letting people live?

        • Not saying coolness dictates good music, but alongside the high honors on the Cool List, NME has given Cerebral Ballzy a lot of press to show their love of them.

    • Beautifully written, recorded, arranged, and performed. Yawn city.

    • Nope. Good song. For reals.

  3. That’s actually a pretty solid singles list.

  4. Glad to see Wild Beasts and Arctic Monkeys finally getting some love.

    • I’m pretty sure NME has a dedicated Arctic Monkeys bureau. Heartily agree w/ you on them ol’ Beasts, though, they would’ve gotten album of the year if they’d put “England” or “English” in the title.

    • Yeah, I haven’t seen the Arctic Monkeys getting much love on any of these end of the year lists. I think it’s a great rock record from start to finish and well worth a top ten spot. It’s every bit as good, if not better, than their first three albums.

  5. A better list than I would have expected.

  6. WILD MOTHER FUCKING BEASTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. you can kiss my white ass if you think Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is better than M83

    • Can I kiss it even if I don’t ?

    • If you usually visit their website (like I do, sadly), you would actually be surprised that he isn’t lower on the list. It is as if their website also operates as a special twitter account for him, because I swear they write an article every time he opens his mouth (singing shit or gargling it). Trust me when I say that they put Stereogum’s coverage of Lana Del Rey to shame.

  8. Suuns came out in 2010… and how did the Justice album make this list? Or any list?

  9. This isn’t bad; I feel like even if I don’t agree with them that we agree that rock music is a good thing, which I can’t say for some of the other lists. And FINALLY, someone got it right: The Wild Flag album is ranked above Yuck’s. Woohoo.

  10. WU LYF in #10 is nice. but Girls on #26?

    • that’s probably about where i’d put girls on my own top 50 list. solely on personal preference. to be honest, i’m surprised that so many people deem that album as the clear #1.

      • Tell Fire sounded like no other things ever and I love it! Father Son and the Holy Ghost was awesome and I loved it! At no point was I like “These are vaguely comparable albums” and thats why lists are funny.

  11. Not bad. My fav album all year is still hands down the Black Lips.

    • “Modern Art,” is my fave song at the moment — it makes me want to shake my butt.

      • So I read this at first as “it makes me want to shave my butt”… and I was like “Damn, that is a really odd reaction to have to a song.” But it somehow sounds slightly less weird when you consider you’re talking about the Black Lips…

    • It is nice to see it ranked, finally. I can’t think of any other album this year that I listened to or enjoyed as much as Arabia Mountain.

  12. Yay: The Field, Friendly Fires… love those albums

    Boo: No M83.

    WTF: Someone really needs to explain how Biophilia keeps making these lists, because it is 4 minutes of exciting music surrounded by a whole lot of boring.

    • I’m seriously baffled too every time I see Biophilia on one of these lists… and it’s on a lot of them! Here I had thought the disappointment in that album was near-universal.

    • I agree with you on Bio. I thought it was so dull, and its highlights aren’t even as good as the high points from Volta (Bjork’s previous mess).

  13. what is metronomy?

  14. Glad to see that Death Grips is getting some recognition. Best album of 2011 in my opinion.

  15. Sorry Stereogum, are NME and most of the top-ranked bands British? Intro left it a bit vague.

  16. no james blake, whut da flip

  17. I actually really like this list. Glad to see Arabia Mountain.

  18. About time someone made a sensible list! I still don’t get the exclusion of M83 but I guess the British feel the same way about them the way we feel about stuff like Metronomy

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

  20. 10 M83 – “Midnight City” should say 1 M83 – “Midnight City”

  21. I’m perfectly fine with no M83 in the albums list but Midnight City in the top ten singles. It perfectly sums up how I felt about the album(s?).

    You may now viciously attack me for my opinion

  22. Ctrl+F, “Drake”: No results found. Thumbs up.

    • And what? No Beyonce?

      Their reviewers don’t feel the need to appear inclusive, I guess. Though we did just get in the obligatory “Kanye” in the last slot. It’s like clockwork, that one.

  23. i actually quite like this list. Nice to not see Bon Iver at the top, and PJ harvey is magnificent…

  24. The Horrors’ “Still Life” has one of the best choruses I’ve heard all year. Also, PJ Harvey seems to be the closest thing to a consensus pick for album of the year.

  25. Highly suspect, this list. Bon Iver too low. No M83. No Bruno Mars.

  26. Any best of 2011 list without Parallax is a fraud.

  27. their top 5 is very similar to my top five. i approve.

  28. I’m wondering how that Noah & the Whale album made it on here. It really sucked…

    And where is Fleet Foxes. Sorry NME, but you suck. That’s a great album.

  29. Wow, no Beady Eye.

  30. Mojo’s list is the best one from far as always

  31. Finally, some love for Looping State of Mind and Smother.

  32. I guess they meant rock albums for the most part. Pusha T? Shabazz Palaces?

  33. Good to see Battles/M83 getting some love!

  34. I forgot that Yonkers exists

  35. i stopped when i saw bon iver.

  36. This list really sucks. Fleet Foxes’ ‘Helplessness Blues’ is the only masterpiece of 2011. Its not there in the list at all. How come there is no Adele’s ’21′ & Florence & The Machine ‘Ceremonials’?? When you make such big list, both of them deserve a place. I forgot where is R.E.M ‘Collapse Into Now’?. Man Coldplay is my favourite band(infact fav. artist) & ‘Mylo Xyloto’ is their least interesting composition. If I look at the list ‘Mylo Xyloto’ is better than all those albums from 2-6.

    • can’t tell if trolling or stupid

      • what the fuck is your problem man. you are the one who is trolling. people post comments just to convey what they feel about something. they don’t do that for jobless persons like you to keep on saying what ever comes outta your mouth. you are the one who is utterly stupid. go do something commendable instead of unnecessarily posting whatever comes to your mind.

  37. that Suuns album actually came out last year.

  38. Not bad but PJ HARVEY? I love her but that album was only good for scraping the ice off my windshield. Well atleast you guys were better than Q.

  39. Suuns’ album actually came out in January 2011 in the UK.

  40. thankss a LOT


  41. I think City and Colour’s Little Hell needs to be at least honorably mentioned in at least one of these lists. geez.

  42. this is the first list that I’ve seen Death Grips on yet. Glad they listed that one.
    I guess they must not be huge fans of Bill Callahan, because his new album was amazing.

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