Thursday, January 19, 2012

Favorite Songs of 2011

Figured I may as well share some tunes and get my favorite songs of last year off my back. Feel free to download by right-clicky, or just push the link and stream the goodness. Get a taste while the government still lets you. Then go buy the albums and support art. Either way, please enjoy.

Some great tuneage to come out this year, hard to order things like this. I figure 40 was a good place to stop. Many artists are repeated, and some of my favorite albums of the year aren't even represented. Oh well. Thousands of songs and these were my very favorites this year. In fact, it really only starts being officially "ordered" around 25 or so, but who cares right? GO.

40. Revolving Doors
by Gorillaz

39. Godless Brother In Love
by Iron & Wine

38. Hex Girlfriend
by Neon Indian

37. Colomb
by Nicolas Jaar

36. Weekend
by Class Actress

35. Unluck
by James Blake

34. The Wall
by Yuck

33. Paradise
by Coldplay

32. My House
by Hercules and Love Affair

31. Belong
by Pains of Being Pure At Heart

30. Moon
by Björk

29. Radio
by Rapael Saadiq

28. Abducted
by Cults

27. Rubber
by Yuck

26. Päivät Valuvat
by Regina

25. Baby Missles
by The War on Drugs
A lovely Springsteenian piece of adrenaline.

24. Bizness
by tUnE-yArDs
Probably be higher if it was still as enjoyable after the initial shock wears off. Still great though.

23. Eyes Be Closed
by Washed Out
This beat was in my head constantly this year. Space-tastic groove.

22. Last Night At the Jetty
by Panda Bear
Always bringing the harmonious psychedelia. Sounds like riding a small row boat on a cloud of cotton candy. With drugs.

21. Helplessness Blues
by Fleet Foxes
Don't be sad. Just listen. Function like a cog.

20. Lotus Flower
by Radiohead
Because it's dub-awesome and Thom does a jig.

19. Midnight City
by M83
Synths, sax, and sass. Sounds like a Tuesday night to me.

18. Dinner
by Blood Orange
His best beat, his most addicting Prince imitation, and it's not even on the album.

17. Amarillo
by Gorillaz
"Put a little love into my lonely soul." - 2D
A wonderfully sad bit of Gorillaz gorgeousness.  

16. (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine
by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds 
A power ballad in the vein of them old school Oasis classics. Still love you, Noel. 

15. Michicant
by Bon Iver
On an album that mostly ditches the subtlety of his first record, it's this sparse little nugget that pleases me most. But you really do need to hear Beth/Rest as well. So there you go.

14. Shuffle a Dream
by Little Dragon 
I never use the word "phat" when describing music, but that's really the only word possible in this case.

13. Artists' Valley
by Bibio
Damn, I used my "phat" quota already...

12. The Edge
Jazzy, hip-hoppy, synthy, flutey, bassy, smoothy.
But you don't have to take my word for it. Da-nuh-nuh!

11. Separator
by Radiohead
Boy, do I love when Radiohead decides to make us some good slow jams. Convincing the wife to make out to Radiohead is that much easier now.

10. Under Cover of Darkness 
by The Strokes
Not that the new album is terrible, but they used to make entire albums full of these. I'm just sayin'.

9. Before
by Washed Out
 I can't understand a word he's saying. But I don't need to. I get it.

8. She Found A Way Out
The aching guitar riff that carries the pain all the way to its blaring climax is the aural equivalent of the heartbroken lyrics around it. Perfection.

7. Ice Cream
by Battles (feat. Matias Aguayo)
It kind of helps to have the visual accompaniment of the music video with this one. It looks exactly how it sounds. Which is awesome. (Be warned, it has some very PG-13 ladies)

6. Go To Hell
by Raphael Saadiq
Glorious power gospel like they used to do. I dare you to try and dislike this song. If you do dislike, go to hell.

by James Morrison
Every album he puts out, there's at least one track that completely soothes my hidden desire for that ultimate pop song. Doesn't matter how cheesy it is, the man can SANG. And sang he does. I'm just waiting for the day we all find out there's actually a hearty black man dubbing over his records. Bring it home, Jimmy.

by The Go! Team (feat. Bethany Cosentino)
To be fair, half of Rolling Blackouts could've made this list. But this is a decent shout-out representative. This song, for whatever reason, hits my nostalgia button with a giant sledge hammer. It's the sound of your greatest adolescent birthday party. The one where you first started noticing girls as GIRLS. Pure, uninhibited, no-nonsense childhood bliss.

3. Shook Down
by Yuck
If "Buy Nothing Day" is the sound of childhood, "Shook Down" is the sound of the awkward teens. You've already noticed girls as GIRLS, but now you notice they can break the hell out of your heart, too. It's the sound of looking back at mid-90's me and thinking "Don't worry, kid. You'll get over it." The final line is George McFly at his most genuine: "You could be my destiny/you could mean that much to me." And the drummer looks like Toad from Super Mario World.

2. Give Up the Ghost
by Radiohead
One of the only songs on this list to truly give me goosebumps the first time I heard it. Imagine sitting around a campfire singing a tune with some ghosts. But they're ghosts of people you know. So, instead of being scary, it ends up being hauntingly beautiful and kind of sad. This one also had a bit of a personal attachment (aside from just being Radiohead), as it sort of became my personal theme song to the tragedy of the Japan earthquake earlier this year. Feeling so close to Japan it was an event that really affected me. Once again, Radiohead becomes the soundtrack of my life.

1. Lindisfarne I and II
by James Blake
Yeah, it's two songs technically. But, only because they're separate tracks on the album. Nobody has any business just listening to one or the other. Even the video fused them together. I don't know how to describe this other than it's probably the most unique and emotional "pop" piece I have heard in years. I found myself listening to this same 5min43sec over...and over...and over. I never do that, I can't stand doing that. But I did that. I couldn't get enough. James Blake knows how to fill every space (even the ones without notes) with tangible emotion. Minimalist perfection. If the whole album had been close to this caliber, it would have blown away all others. It wasn't. But because of Lindisfarne, I am eagerly awaiting this young man's inevitably wonderful career.

Well there you have it. I think I should give a shout out to three songs from years passed that I didn't discover until this year that absolutely ruled my iPod:

Feel It All Around by Washed Out -
might have been #1 if it came out this year.
Nightcall by Kavinsky and Lovefoxxx -
completely made the Drive soundtrack, but was officially released in 2010.
Boy 1904 by Riceboy Sleeps -
I had the album when it came out, but it didn't really hit me until this year. The sound of peeking into heaven when nobody is looking.


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