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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best of Music 2011 by Emily

One of my favorite things about the end of the year is reading through all of the “best of” lists.  I love seeing where my favorites have landed and sometimes I come across things that I missed out on completely.  This year something has changed.  For the very first time I feel compelled to create my own lists. 

It’s become an obsession really, and at the heart of this obsession is a book called “Record Collecting for Girls:  Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Timeby Courtney E. Smith.  Written along the same lines as Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelityand Rob Sheffield’s “Love is a Mix Tape,” Smith wants to interject a female perspective into music writing because as she says “girls get their hearts broken and make mix tapes about it, too.” 

This book is not for everyone.  First of all she focuses a lot (perhaps too much) on how men have shaped her music tastes.  This is a book that I wish I could have read when I was in high school. 

The parts of the book that stand out are about how to build your music collection.  Where do you find out about new music?  What about the future of vinyl?  And of course, my favorite, what are the rules for compiling top 5 lists? 

So, in the spirit of end of the year lists and my new found obsession to create them, it only seems appropriate that I end with one.  

Top 5 Albums of 2011 at Stillwater Public Library

5. “Pala” by Friendly Fires.  Danceable post-punk pop fusion.

4. “Tell Me” by Jessica Lea Mayfield.  Beautiful, dark songs about love.

3. “A Creature I Don’t Know” by Laura Marling.  Neo-folk with a lot more depth than Mumford and Sons.

2. “Tamer Animals” by Other Lives.  Cinematic pop with great percussion from a Stillwater band.  

1. “Let England Shake” by P.J. Harvey.  Highly relevant songs about war written by one of the best singer songwriters of all time.


  1. I liked Tell Me” by Jessica Lea Mayfield and“Let England Shake” by P.J. Harvey. Thanks for the article and introduction to this new music. I really liked P.J. Harvey song and will look for more of her music.

  2. I know, right? This music Jay and now Emily have been sending for publication in blogs/newsletters etc. has been addictive. I CANNOT stop listening to On Battleship Hill since Jay sent Let England Shake as his monthly pick.