This year’s top 20 albums — so far

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The staff at Paste Magazine could be seen as jumping the gun. It's not even July, but their blogs are buzzing with what they've determined are the standout albums for 2011 — at least the first half. 

Today's list by Bonnie Stirenberg includes the expected — like Radiohead's The King of Limbs and Bon Iver's self-titled release — but also includes more off-beat selections like Rave On Buddy Holly, wherein artists like She & Him, The Black Keys and Patti Smith cover Holly's songs.
 
Even though it's early, lists like these are not necessarily unwelcome. Even the most musically informed of us could do with a bit of inspiration at times. Especially during the summer, boredom and restlessness could drive listeners in search of some new tunes. 
 
And consider: Over 30,000 albums are released each year. There is no way even those with headphones glued to their ears could get through all of that. (Well, at least not without significant sleep deprivation and eardrum damage). So reading a blogger's recommendation may not sound as cool as, say, discovering a new group at a local venue, but it sure is convenient.

Junior > Journalism > University of Pennsylvania

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