As 2011 comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at my favorite albums released this year. I listened to a lot of music. With great services like Spotify and iTunes Match recently released, I found myself listening to music constantly. I continued to explore new genres and, as a result, new artists. Many of the artists in my Top 50 are new to my music library this year. It’s been an exciting year of music discovery for me and I can’t wait for 2012!

Top 50 Albums of 2011

1. Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials

2. Nero – Welcome Reality

3. CunninLynguists - Oneirology

4. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

5. Washed Out – Within and Without

6. Wynter Gordon – With The Music I Die

7. Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!

8. Rise Against – Endgame

9. Kill The Noise – Kill Kill Kill

10. Joker – The Vision

11. Moving Mountains – Waves

12. Drake – Take Care

13. Rival Schools – Pedals

14. Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch the Throne

15. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart ? Belong

16. The Strokes – Angles

17. PANTyRAiD – Superior EP

18. Britney Spears – Femme Fatale

19. Surkin ? USA

20. Phantogram – Nightlife EP

21. Neon Indian – Era Extrana

22. Rustie – Glass Swords

23. Digitalism – I Love You, Dude

24. Zomboy – Game Time EP

25. Knife Party ? 100% No Modern Talking

26. Gotye – Making Mirrors

27. Toro Y Moi – Freaking Out EP

28. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

29. In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading

30. The Weeknd – House of Balloons

31. Bassnectar – Divergent Spectrum

32. Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

33. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

34. Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact

35. Gladkill – LoveLost EP

36. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

37. Above & Beyond – Group Therapy

38. Blue Sky Black Death – Noir

39. Destroyer – Kaputt

40. Mount Kimbie – Carbonated EP

41. LIGHTS – Siberia

42. Eisley – The Valley

43. Com Truise – Galactic Melt

44. Cut Copy – Zonoscope

45. Bibio – Mind Bokeh

46. Asking Alexandria – Reckless & Relentless

47. Sleeping with Sirens – Let’s Cheers to This

48. Mimosa – 58 Degrees EP

49. Porter Robinson ? Spitfire EP

50. I See Stars – The End Of The World Party

I decided to break the list down into a few sections. I created mini-lists to group the albums by genre. This should make it easier to find the best albums in your favorite genre. I hope these lists will encourage you to explore some new music.

Best Dubstep/Glitch-Hop Albums

Welcome Reality by Nero

Kill Kill Kill by Kill The Noise

The Vision by Joker

Superior EP by PANTyRAiD

Game Time EP by Zomboy

100% No Modern Talking by Knife Party

Best Hip-Hop/R&B Albums

Take Care by Drake

Oneirology by CunninLynguists

Watch the Throne by Kanye West & Jay-Z

House of Balloons by The Weeknd

Best Pop Albums

Ceremonials by Florence + the Machine

With The Music I Die by Wynter Gordon

Femme Fatale by Britney Spears

Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay

Best Dance/Electronic Albums

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83

Within and Without by Washed Out

Holy Ghost! by Holy Ghost!

USA by Surkin

I Love You, Dude by Digitalism

Era Extrana by Neon Indian

Best Rock Albums

Pedals by Rival Schools

Belong by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Angles by The Strokes

Endgame by Rise Against

Waves by Moving Mountains

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care by Explosions in the Sky

Most Surprising Album

Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale was probably the most surprising album for me this year. I’ve never been a huge fan of Britney, even though I do listen to a decent amount of pop music. I’d assumed her career was basically over, so you can imagine my surprise when I first heard this album. While the lyrical content is rubbish, I love the overall dance and electronic vibe of the album. I found myself listening to this album a lot more than I’d be willing to admit.

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out my music blog, Album of the Week.