[SKOA Presents] The 50 Best Albums Of 2011: 25 - 21

25. Theophilus London - Timez Are Weird These Days [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

Following up his critically acclaimed mixtape/unofficial album, This Charming Mixtape and his A Lovers Holiday EP earlier in the year, fashionable rapper Theophilus London earned our undivided attention on his proper debut full length release, Timez Are Weird These Days. I have enjoyed watching London develop over the past few years as he continues to evolve and challenge himself to break new ground. Older fans will appreciate that he didn't stray too far away from what we've grown to love about him while newcomers will find the album approachable enough to dive right in alongside the rest of us. There are many quality tracks that I will continue to rock into the new year, including: "Wine and Chocolates", "I Stand Alone", "Last Name London", "Girls Girls $", and "Lighthouse".—Kibbe

24. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

With a four year break between 2007's White Chalk and the album we're awarding spot 24 in our 2011 List, Let England Shake, there's always a moment of panic before hitting play for the first time. PJ Harvey manages to deliver a a history lesson on my beautiful homeland, England. The instrumentation may be sparse but the way it's delivered makes this album a fine piece of music. One which I enjoy from start to finish, which is a rarity. PJ's lyrics and melodies are subtle yet striking and a big step away from White Chalk. The subject matter may be gloomy and bleak, "The Words That Maketh Murder" looks to England post WWI, but as oppose to shying away from listening you want to  go back for more. Maybe turning the volume up a little to notice another little nuance here or there. The Mercury Prize recognised this as the finest album worthy of their praise in 201 and we like it a lot too, so thank you PJ for delivering us with a great album. —Shey

23. Cults - Cults [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

Just as the summer was reaching its peak, Cults' delivered the perfect summer record. With a carefree, cheerful sound, the band's self-titled debut album arrived at the perfect time. The album is so well crafted in that, all throughout, it is impossible not to envision the sunshine and the fresh air, and encapsulate the do-whatever-the-fuck mentality of the summertime. The album's lead single, "Go Outside," is all about doing just that, about going outside and enjoying the beauty and fun that is the world. Each song on the album is so frivilous, with Madeline Follin's almost child-like vocals blending beautifully with Brian Oblivion's subtle guitar riffs. If there was an album this year that perfectly captured the innocence of youth and the airy, cheerful nature of the summer, this is it. — Adrian

22. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - It's A Corporate World [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

When Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. dropped their debut album It's A Corporate World this past June, I had no idea what to expect, but, after my first playthrough of the album and every playthrough since, I was outright impressed. Every song on the album feels like it should be there, as the record seamlessly goes from one track to the next with unwitting charm. From album opener "Morning Thought," to the heartfelt "Nothing But Our Love," to the summery and charming "Simple Girl," to the energetic and passionate "We Almost Lost Detroit," Daniel Zott and Josh Epstein have crafted an amazing album. In no way should this duo be known solely for their bizarre name, as their incredibly unique sound and undeniable talent show immense promise that shouldn't be overlooked. —Adrian

21. Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

This October brought How Do You Do, the sophomore album from Mayer Hawthorne. When last we met Hawthorne, he was recounting his romantic woes on his debut album, A Strange Arrangement, where it was apparent that a relationship was on its way out. This time around, however, the Detroit crooner has clearly started a new chapter in his love life as he details the intimate moments at the beginning of a new relationship for the self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. His lyrics are as sincere as his vocals are smooth as he maintains a delicate balance of being a charming ladies man on songs like "Get To Know You" and "No Strings" while still being a perfect gentleman who finally seems to be ready to settle down as heard on songs like "Finally Falling", "Hooked" and "You Called Me." While the album is not completely romantic, it definitely sets the tone of the night should you queue it up while spending time with a special someone. It should also be noted that the iTunes version of the album has a catchy bonus track, "Henny & Gingerale" that is worth the extra effort to own. —Kibbe