My favorite album of 2011 is either Bon Iver or The King Is Dead by the Decemberists. I think the former is probably “better” in some abstract sense of the word, but I enjoy listening to the latter in a more casual sense of the word. The first breaks new boundaries for combining folk with more avant-sonic sensibilities, but The King Is Dead has a lot more memorable singles. There was a period after The King Is Dead first came out where I knew the words to nearly every song on the album. Half the time, you can’t even tell what Justin Vernon is singing (but boy is his voice beautiful). This might be an unpopular opinion to hold, but I actually think that The King Is Dead is the Decemberists’ best record. I’m honestly surprised I haven’t used a song from this record yet. I’m going with “Calamity Song” because it’s my all time favorite Decemberists song. It’s got a post-apocalyptic story and a series of references to Infinite Jest. Colin Meloy, you had my nerd heart at hello. Also, the music video is freaking amazing. It’s a huge shout-out to Eschaton game from Infinite Jest. How can you not love it?