Monday, December 5, 2011

Top 25 Songs of 2011

Last year I gave you my top 10 songs of 2010, but 2011 was a pretty big year. A big year for established bands (Radiohead, Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters), a growing trend for dance music and remixes (7 remixes made the list this year) and some promising new artists (Childish Gambino, ARMS, SBTRKT). He we go...

#25. Wilco - Art of Almost
The first track off this year's The Whole Love is 7 minutes of controlled chaos.I wish the final 2 minutes could go on forever.
#24. Sondre Lerche - Red Flags
Criminally overlooked and underrated, Sondre Lerche crafts amazing songs. Not a single note is wasted, and lyrically, it just seems so effortless. His album Sondre Lerche is filled with gems.

#23. A-Trak - Ray Ban Vision (Remix) [ft. Donnis, Pill, Danny Brown & Cy-Hi Da Prynce]
Two reasons this track made it. One, A-Trak is amazing. Two, Danny Brown is a beast. The newest member of the Fool's Gold family wrecked this song and then dropped XXX in case you thought he was joking. 

#22. Eddie Vedder - Tonight, You Belong To Me [ft. Chan Marshall]
Fans of Steve Martin's film The Jerk will recognize this song. A playful cover with the help of Chan Marshall aka Cat Power. Ed's second solo album Ukulele Songs is exactly what it says. 16 songs with a ukulele and it became a favorite of mine, while receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album.

#21. Justice - Audio, Video, Disco (Para One Remix)
Although Justice's album Audio, Video, Disco was a bit of a disappointment, I can't blame them for trying something new. Maybe my expectations were too high, but this remix by Para One is a nice consolation.
#20. Mathieu Santos - I Can Hear The Trains Coming [FREE DOWNLOAD]
Mathieu Santos released Massachusetts 2010 earlier this year and I loved the single. Very similar to his day job as bass player for Ra Ra Riot, the album is solid. Is everyone in that band incredibly talented?
#19. Penguin Prison - The Worse It Gets (Starsmith Remix) [FREE DOWNLOAD]
Technically, this remix came out in 2010. But, since Penguin Prison just released his debut album in October, I'll let it slide. It seemed like all summer he kept dropping a new single and a slew of remixes. I'm not complaining.
#18. Coldplay - Hurts Like Heaven
I had a few reservations about Mylo Xyloto. I saw them at the Aragon for Parachutes, at the Vic for A Rush of Blood to the Head and then it just seemed like too much. Thankfully, I can say this is better. Not great, but the best I've heard from them in years.
#17. The Rapture - How Deep Is Your Love? (A-Trak Remix)
The Rapture's In The Grace Of Your Love was a highlight of the year, with some serious dance tracks. Add A-Trak to the mix and you have a classic.
#16. Foo Fighters - White Limo
 The Foo Fighters were very much like Coldplay and had to prove something to me this year. Enough of the ballads and acoustic shows, give me a rock record. Dave Grohl and company set up shop in his garage and turned up all the knobs. 6 Grammy nominations, I'd say that's a good year.
#15. Tokyo Police Club - All My Friends (LCD Soundsystem Cover)
Tokyo Police Club took cover songs to a completely different level this year, releasing 10x10x10. Ten songs, in ten days from ten years, starting with 2001. While some were forgettable (Party in the USA?), this LCD Soundsystem cover is perfect.
#14. Delorean - Stay Close (RAC Remix) [FREE DOWNLOAD]
If you read last year's list, RAC's remix of Everything You Wanted by Kele was the only remix listed. A year later, they snatch up two spots and it could have been three. Part of VOL 2, these guys are on point like no one else.
#13. Bright Eyes - Haile Selassie
As the lists start to come in, a lot of people are sleeping on Bright Eyes' The People's Key. I am not one of them. I made my first trip to NYC in March to see them at Radio City Music Hall, and saw them two more times. Everything I love about Bright Eyes is neatly packaged into one song.

#12. Beastie Boys - Make Some Noise
Last year, there was a very good possibility that we might never hear new music from the Beastie Boys. When Adam Yauch announced that he had cancer, all music including the album Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 was put on hold. Thankfully, he's on the mend, we got this jam and a hilarious video too.
#11. Radiohead - Lotus Flower
Following an 18 track double album with a concise 8 song, 38 minute album is not what I expected. But, Radiohead rarely does what people expect. A US tour in the spring is up next, get ready.

#10. Cults - Go Outside (Menahan Street Band Remix) [FREE DOWNLOAD]
Take out the spoken word, add a brilliant organ and throw on The Big Lebowski. You're welcome.

#9. ARMS - Fleeced [FREE DOWNLOAD]
I wrote about them last month, so this shouldn't be a shock. Let's get these kids signed and playing in Chicago soon.
#8. Drake - Headlines
I never listen to the radio or watch MTV, so when a song blows up so much that you simply can't avoid it, you have to show respect. I'm not going to throw Take Care on my best album list, but this song is major.
#7. Gigamesh - When You're Dancing (RAC Remix)
When I posted this song a few months ago, I called it the remix of the year. Somebody prove me wrong.
#6. Tune-Yards - Bizness
If not for Bon Iver, Tune-Yards would have been my album of the year. So fresh and exciting, it's charm is untouchable.
#5. Death Cab For Cutie - Stay Young, Go Dancing
Let's try for a minute to forget the absolute train wreck that was the Keys & Codes Remix EP and appreciate a really good song, from a really good album.
#4. Childish Gambino - Freaks & Geeks
Yes, he's Troy from Community. Yes, he just released a damn good album. But, this was blasting all summer for me. You can't find a better line/flow than "Nigga can't you tell that my sample of Adele was so hot I got these hood niggas blowing up my cell". Exhibit B is Backpackers (from Camp) where he is trying to hurt people.
#3. SBTRKT - Wildfire
Assist of the year goes to Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon for making this track a killer. This is what it sounds like when planets align.
#2. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Otis
Collectively known as The Throne and currently murdering the US on tour, Jay & Ye sampled Otis Redding's Try a Little Tenderness and that's all you need to know.
#1. Bon Iver - Holocene
The play count for this song is easily over 200 and considering how much music I listen to, that is saying a lot. Very few people could follow up an album like For Emma with something better. But, Justin Vernon did just that. Every person that immediately followed him like a cult, dying to hear more music, got more than they ever expected. I used to see the line "I could see for miles, miles and miles" and think of the Who, not anymore.

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