Some strange things happened in 2011, from the Japanese tsunami, the English riots, protests all across the world and Noah & the Whale singing in an American accent. What with the world turning to shit, it would have been nice to have had some sort of soundtrack to it all, one new scene or genre to unite the kids, but sadly not.
So music may well be going through some sort of transition but that doesn't mean there weren't any great albums or that it was a bad year. As I've always said, if you look for it, you'll always find good music and this year you just had to look a bit harder.
Sure there were a few albums that made a big impact and are quite rightly featured here. From The Horrors' excellent third album, which saw them cement their place as the best band in Britain (Sorry, Kasabian, you just aren't as good as you think). To PJ Harvey's Let England Shake, which reminded a few people of how the old guard can still produce a classic after two decades in the business. Not forgetting that Arctic Monkeys pulled off their best album since their debut, even if it did possess some dodgy lyrics.
Then there were the debuts. The Vaccines, Hunx & His Punx, Howler and Iceage gave us our guitar thrills, even though apparently guitar music was finished! While SBTRKT, Dam Mantle (so good he's in twice) and Rustie delivered some stunning electronic albums, not to mention the rest of the stuff released by Warp this year.
A couple of other points worth noting about 2011. Firstly, it was all about the girls, with Anna Calvi and St Vincent showing the boys how to play guitar and Lana Del Rey looking and sounding like she'd stepped right out of a David Lynch film. Not to mention Karen O's cameo on Lynch's own debut album, which wasn't bad at all for a 65-year-old. Secondly, 2011 will probably be remembered as the year of the boy-girl duo, with Cults, Summer Camp and Big Deal all releasing albums. Even Faris from the Horrors got in on the act with his Cat's Eyes side project.
So there you have it, not a vintage year by any means but still enough cracking albums and singles to keep you believing in great music. Click on an album to see how our writers reviewed it at the time of release, click to vote for your favourites and if you want to recommend something we've missed, leave a comment on the right of the page.