Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Songs: 81-100

After a dormant 12 months for this blog (other than a few top 10 lists for 1966, 1971, 1976... etc. up through 2001 as well as a few other random posts), I am happy to return with the first installment of our top 100 songs of 2011.

As before, the list is limited to one appearance per artist to maximize diversity.  If the very top of this list isn't quite as strong as past years, the list is certainly as deep as it has ever been. 

As in the past, immediately below is a Grooveshark widget with available songs. While I have posted the songs in the text below in descending order (100-81), they are in ascending order in the widget (81-100). This wasn't an accident, for some ungodly reason this is what makes sense t0 me. 16 of the 20 songs below are in the widget, while safe links to stream the other 4 are provided in their respective entries.

2011 81-100 by David Scott on Grooveshark

100. "I Wish I Was Jack Johnson" by Skee-Lo & Jack Johnson 
<Vico Ono mashup>

It is always a treat to hear two songs you never much cared for elevated into something better. The track isn't available through grooveshark but you can listen via youtube here.
99. "Trees Are a Swayin'" by Say Hi (from Um, Uh Oh)
"But I'll love you to the end of the world"

Say Hi (no longer To Your Mom) continues to churn out catchy music from Eric Elbogen's home computer.

98. "Black Night" by The Dodos (from No Color)
"When I wanted you / how I haunted you / all to myself"

Not having "Fables" from Time to Die on 2009's list was a mistake as it should have made the top 30 or so. No Color's lead single isn't quite as good but accurately represents The Dodo's brand of "aggressive folk"

97. "Oh My Heart" by R.E.M. (from Collapse Into Now)
"It's sweet / and it's sad / and it's true / how it doesn't look bitter on you"

While nothing off of the new album is a fitting epitaph for an amazing career, Collapse is a fine latter career effort by the boys from Athens.

96. "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey (from Video Games EP)
"Kissing in the blue dark / playing pool and wild darts"

Avoid the vapid discussion of the singer herself and simply enjoy the music.  I am looking forward to more in 2012.

95. "Tabby and Lucy" by Boston Spaceships (from Let it Beard)
"Something to take my blues away"

Robert Pollard had three shots at the list this year, with a solo album, a new GBV single and the last Boston Spaceships album. And yet all I think of when I see the album cover is this. (Not on grooveshark so stream on soundcloud here)

94. "Take Me Over" by Cut Copy (from Zonoscope)
"Did you see me falling?"

Cut Copy's second album of 80's nostalgia is as strong as their debut and features this Fleetwood Mac / Men At Work hybrid as well as perhaps my favorite album cover of the year. 

93. "Little Talks" by Of Monsters And Men (single)
"You used to play outside when you were young"

This song was the final addition to the list. While they are trying a little too hard to be the "Icelandic Arcade Fire" it isn't an entirely unfair comparison. Debut album due in the U.S. in 2012.

92. "Mama" by The Very Best (from Super Mom Mixtape)
<in Chichewa>

Another mixtape from Malawi's Esau Mwamwaya, this time making good use of Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More".

91. "Lighthouse" by NewVillager (from NewVillager)
"Keep it up / don't stop / don't lose your place"

This was also a late add to the list. At this time next year I will almost certainly view this ranking as either too low or wonder what the hell I was thinking to include it all. So catchy, though.
90. "Call it Off" by Washed Out (from Amor Fati Single)
< ? >

I enjoyed the debut LP from one-man chillwave band Washed Out but didn't find an individual song to latch onto until I heard this slinky B-side from the Amor Fati single. No idea what the lyrics are.

89. "Waiting For Kirsten" by Jens Lekman (from An Argument With Myself EP)
"in Gothenburg we don't have VIP lines"

What starts as a strange song about Kirsten Dunst filming Melancholia in Sweden morphs into an even stranger discussion on the Swedish healthcare system. Combined with the EP's title track, Lekman is flaunting his goofball side while we wait for a proper follow up to Night Falls Over Kortedala
88. "Hits Me Like a Rock" by CSS (from La Liberacion)
"We have too many bruises / from too much kissing"

This catchy track by Brazil's CSS also features Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie. 

87. "Salesman" by Bruce Peninsula (from The Bruce Trail Fire Sale EP)
"From the bottom of our hearts / it's as evil as it gets"

I am a sucker for modern music that sounds authentically much much older. (Not on grooveshark so listen on their bandcamp page here)

86. "Against the Grain" by Hudson (from Open Up Slowly EP)
"And I know there's no direction home / it's right here where all the wild things grow"

The central riff to this song reminds me so much of Bottom of the Hudson's "Riot Act" (a personal favorite) that I wondered if maybe that band had pulled a Say Hi and shortened its name. Alas, Melbourne-based Hudson is definitely not the same band as the (defunct?) Brooklyn band.
85. "Hudson River" by The Duke & The King (from The Duke & The King)
"Don't run astray / don't you ever take your love away"

See comment above at #87. Unfortunately, nothing else on Simon Felice's side project is as immediate as this spot-on track. (Not on grooveshark, so listen on youtube here)

84. "Back Like 8 Track" by The Go! Team (from Rolling Blackouts)
"Counterclaims coming at us like a bullet train"

The Go! Team's debut was my #20 album of the last decade and their follow-up, while inconsistent, still featured a few greats tracks (and Chuck D!). Rolling Blackouts returns to the consistency of their debut, albeit at a lower level of excellence. Still, the retro sound coupled with Ninja's raps and cheerleader squads are aways a welcome sound.  

83. "Who Are You" by Kathyrn Calder (from Bright and Vivid)
"And when / we die / our arms will open up wide"

Since 2008, all four vocalists of the New Pornographers (Calder, Neko Case, A.C. Newman, Dan Bejar) have made one of our top 100 lists as a solo artist. That is pretty ridiculous.
82. "Blackout" by Pickwick (from Myths Vol 3)
"Sitting on the floor in the bedroom / spinning Bowie around"

Reminds me of Squeeze's "Tempted", for no readily discernible reason.

81. "Make My" by The Roots (from Undun)
"They told me at the end / don't justify the dreams"

While they may make questionable political statements (I am no fan of hers, but there is a time and place), The Roots's consistency over what is now a 20-year career is pretty singular.

1 comment:

  1. ATHoM's Top 100 is always a New Year's treat.

    EPR's top 5 of bottom 20:

    1) Who Are You
    2) Blackout
    3) Against the Grain
    4) Back Like 8 Track
    5) Waiting for Kirsten

    Other notes:
    * Best New to Me Artist: NewVillager
    * Good call...Take Me Over...Instead of...Need You Now
    * Little Talks may have some Arcade Fire, but also some 90s ska influence (deleveraging + Eyjafjallajökull = Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
    * Any grouping of songs that can grind out 2.5 references to the Hudson River is pretty inspiring