Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Songs: 21-40

The home stretch... 

2011 21-40 by David Scott on Grooveshark

40. "My Mistakes" by Eleanor Friedberger (from Last Summer)
"And I swear they / swear they saved my life"

On her debut solo album, Eleanor Friedberger sticks to what I enjoy most about Fiery Furanaces while leaving the band's more eccentric impulses aside. 
39. "212" by Azealia Banks (single)
"I'm a ruin you, c***"

The WTF song of the year is a masterclass on how to cut a debut single. The filthy lyrics smack of novelty, but the song works because of the various permutations that Banks steps through, from rapping, to cutesy spoken word to suprisingly good singing back to a rude-girl Minaj before returning to where we started.   

38. "Lover to Lover" by Florence & The Mahcine (from Ceremonials)"And I feel I'm heading down / but that's allright"

I am a fan of Florence Welch's histrionics as long as they come in relatively modest doses, with this Annie-Lennox-meets-Mowtown tune standing out among a pretty solid album.  
37. "Bubble" by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins (from Diamond Mine)
"So who's been unfair? / who causes you sorrow?"

Diamond Mine is the output of the inspired pairing of Scottish singer-songwriter King Creosote and English electronica artist Jon Hopkins. Hopkins' subtle beats at the outset almost sound like the crackle of static on an old record, creating both a modern and classic sound.
36. "I Don't Want Love" by The Antlers (from Burst Apart)
"Keep your hands to your side / when you follow me home / I don't want love"

The Antlers crafted a strong  second album that was still unhappy in most places but it still felt positively cheery following their debut, a 50-minute song cycle about terminal illness and death (Hospice, which was featured on both the 2008 and 2009 lists).  

35. "The City" by Patrick Wolf (from Lupercailia)
"No I / don't care about cash or careers / your losses or your arrears"

Weird dude. Catchy music.  
34. "The Honest Truth" by Typhoon (from A New Kind of House)
"All my time I’ve walked a filed line / I’ve held a vacant sign upon my eyelids"

The number of good bands out of Portland is getting ridiculous. In addition to Typhoon and  #33 below, bands recently on the top 100 list out of Portland include Horse Feathers, Menomena, Ramona Falls, Laura Veirs, The Thermals, Portugal. The Man, Starfucker and Blitzen Trapper

33. "This Is Why We Fight" by The Decemberists (from The King Is Dead)
"And when we die / we will die / with our arms unbound"

Hopefully the current hiatus from Colin Meloy and crew doesn't last too long. If it does, at least we got a pretty good full length as well as an EP in 2011.  

32. "Contact High" by Architecture in Helsinki (from Moment Bends)
"Here in a paradise / that shakes the world romantic to the bone"

If last year's list was too heeavy on female British pop singers, 2011 has more than a fair share of cheery electronic pop.
31. "Exile Vilify" by The National (from Portal 2)
"Did you fall for the same empty answers again?"

In a year with no album, the National release two new singles, the first on the soundtrack to one of the year's best reviewed films (Win Win) and the other as part of the year's best video game (Portal 2).  Both the songs and their source material are recommended.

30. "We Have Everything" by Young Galaxy (from Shapeshifting)
"In poverty / my love / we have / everything"

See #32 
29. "Here Is My Co-Pilot" by Holly Throsby (from Team)
"I know we could / be good, be good"

There are probably a half dozen songs on this list that I knew were going to make the cut within the first 10 seconds of the first listen.  This is one.
28. "Weather of the Killing Kind" by The Tallest Man on Earth (from Adult Swim Singles Program)
"I drink for something when I'm nothing / I drink for nothing when it's gone"

This was released as part of cable channel Adult Swim's music program and is sponsored by some Kia vehicle. I am glad that artists can do stuff like this now without inane discussion about "selling out".  The song itself is another wonderful, simple folk tune by perhaps the best guy recording such songs today.  
27. "Cut Me Out" by MNDR (from Green Label Sound)
"At least look down boy / as the words rush in / and they wash you away"

And this was released as a promo single on Mountain Dew's label, Green Label Sound. What a bunch of corporate whores...
26. "Shell Games" by Bright Eyes (from The People's Key)
"My private life is an inside joke / no one will explain it to me"

My least favorite of the Monsters of Folk charts the highest on the list during a year they all released new music (to be fair, M Ward only released the holiday She & Him disc).

25. "Well OK Honey" by Jenny O (from Home EP)
"I am a child / you have a child"

I think I initially downloaded this because I briefly got Jenny O. confused with Karen O. And it worked out. What a charmed life I lead. 

24. "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele (from 21)
"We could have had it all"

The first song added to this playlist (on Jan 5 2011) ends up being the year's most heaviliy and widely played song. It's always a surprise when you hear a song that should become an absolute monster, and then it actually does.  
23. "Death As A Fetish" by Starfucker (from Reptilians)
"And I will never be good enough / quietly / and you will never be good enough / just like me"

The same weekend I received Starfucker's mortality focused album I also watched the death-obsessed (and excellent) movie Never Let Me Go and reached the part in (the excellent) White Noise where we learn why people take Dylar and want to be like little Wilder. If I didn't make it to Monday, St. Peter and I were going to have a little conversation about subtlety.   
22. "Wonder Why" by Vetiver (from The Errant Charm)
"When is this old world going to treat me kind"

The perfect music for a summer barbecue that is just chock full of white people. 
21. "A Real Hero" by College (from Drive OST)
"And you / have proved / to be / a real human being"

I am going to cheat a bit here. College actually released this song on an EP in early 2010 that just about no one other than the music coordinator for Drive took notice of. All of the EP's reviews on iTunes and elsewhere came after Drive was released in September 2011. So, while it is techinically not a 2011 song, 1) the song is awesome, 2) Drive is awesome and 3) the way this awesome song is used in the aforementioned awesome movie is awesome. So let's just keep it out of the top 20 and call it fair.

1 comment:

  1. EPR's top 5 of 21-40:

    1) Death as a Fetish
    2) Wonder Why
    3) Here is my Co-pilot
    4) Exile Vilify
    5) This is why we Fight

    Other notes:
    * Aurally Astute Award: the electronic "crackle of a record" observation on "Bubble"
    * Most-listened-to track of this group: 212. The cutesy Minaj mimic sounds like an homage as much as a challenge. Looking forward to more out of AB
    * Adele is good but - to my ears- the overplay wore out her welcome