ALL THE BEST
Ten platters that matter.
1ADELE 21 The album of the year, and not just on sales. 21 arrived at precisely the right time amid all the wrong music, like Nevermind 20 years before it. Adele ( pictured) connected with the masses ( 750,000 Australians, 13 million worldwide and counting) with simplicity and authenticity. Every square inch of 21 is real and there’s so much depth beyond the singles radio originally avoided, then overdosed on. 21 documents the most enjoyable, most lucrative, most relatable broken heart in modern music.
23SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEM FROM HERE TO ANYWHERE Dance music in 2011 didn’t have to be morons with robotic voices banging on about being in the club. Sneaky’s third album was proof electronic music could be emotional, not promotional. Spurred on by fans Kanye, Jay- Z and Beyonce, Connie Mitchell upped her game, injecting heart and soul and pain ( see Remember) to help save dance music in 2011. P. J. HARVEY LET ENGLAND SHAKE P. J. Harvey, set to perform in Hobart on January 21, has yet to make a bad album. Or the same album. After the stark piano- driven White Chalk, Let England Shake was uplifting. The woman’s quality control is rare, still operating within the mainstream but making interesting music completely on her own terms.
45GOTYE MAKING MIRRORS Who would have thought a minimal break- up song would be the highest- selling Australian single of the year? Somebody That I Used to Know was so problematic for the perfectionist de Backer to finish he almost ditched it. Phew. Plenty to love here. LAURA MARLING A CREATURE I DON’T KNOW British folk reviver Laura Marling is literate and prolific. Single Sophia hinted at something special – a majestic, rollicking ride. ‘‘ Her third album, at just 21, did not disappoint, with newfound confidence ( see the swagger in The Muse) and drama ( miniepic The Beast is this album’s sprawling black heart).’’