Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Top Ten Songs of 2011

As usual, most of the best songs of the year came from artists on my best albums list, and I tend to exclude those songs on this list so I can highlight a few other discoveries. Moreover, a couple of the songs on this list are early highlights from albums that will be coming out in 2012, suggesting next year could be a bountiful one for good music.

Now on to my top ten:

10) Tennis - "Marathon"
The Civil Wars got all the attention, but for my money the duo behind Tennis were the better of this year's new pop music pairs. “Marathon” was the most enjoyable track on their cheery debut album.

9) TEEN - "Better"
Teeny Lieberson, the front-woman of the all girl band TEEN, knows her way around a good melody from her days as the keyboardist in Here We Go Magic. This song is pure pop perfection.

Teen BETTER from FAR EYE on Vimeo.

8) M83 - "Midnight City"
Featuring one of the more recognizable beats of the year, M83’s “Midnight City” was the best techno and most danceable track of 2011.

7) Azealia Banks - "212"
20 year old Azealia Banks’ viral hit is equally raunchy and infectious, and both the filthy lyrics and the earworm beat are mesmerizing.

6) Dum Dum Girls - "Coming Down"
Writing about coming down from a medicated haze, the Dum Dum Girls utilize their garage band sound to capture the washed out, foggy feeling of being in an altered reality and produce a song of touching beauty.

5) Lisa Hannigan - "A Sail"
Singer songwriter Lisa Hannigan has made my songs list before, and while her second album was on the whole too inconsistent for my taste, this track epitomizes her talent for writing utterly infectious melodies with lovely lyrics.

4) Bhi Bhiman - "Guttersnipe"
Singer songwriter Bhi Bhiman is a friend, but his talent is what earned him a spot on this list. The first single from his upcoming self-titled album, “Guttersnipe” puts Bhiman’s powerful vocals and genre-melding (he fits comfortably within the traditions of country, folk, blues and soul) songwriting on full display.

Bhi Bhiman "Guttersnipe" from Bhi Bhiman on Vimeo.

3) Destroyer - "Poor in Love"
I’ve always had a hard time warming to Dan Bejar’s band Destroyer – I prefer his poppier, more accessible collaborations with the The New Pornographers – but I can’t deny the beauty of his lyrics and the unique nature of his melodies. This is my favorite song on his acclaimed album Kaputt.

2) Charles Bradley - "Heartaches and Pain"
I have an admitted soft spot for soul tunes – see my top song pick of last year – so it’s no surprise I was immediately entranced by Charles Bradley’s beautiful and heartbreaking tale of his brother’s death.

1) Alabama Shakes - "Hold On"
Hailing from the small town of Athens, Alabama and led by a dynamo of a lead singer named Brittany Howard, the Alabama Shakes merge southern rock with classic soul to produce a sound that feels at once familiar and utterly original. This song, from their first EP, heralds a big talent and some very bright things to come.


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