The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 150-101

150. Drake feat. The Weeknd – Crew Love

This is the first of many times for both these artists on the list. Here the Weeknd provides his eerie tortured-party R&B before the beat drops and Drake laments.

149. Cass McCombs – County Line

McCombs brings another signature somber note in his trademark melancholy falsetto. One of my favorites from Wit’s End.

148. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

The first verse of this track more or less describes my life right now – realizing we are not unique snowflakes but small cogs in a machine we don’t know about yet. Simple, yet poignant.

147. The Joy Formidable – Magnifying Glass

From the maniacal laughter to the thumping stomp of that chorus to those wailing guitars, Joy Formidable claim the throne as the loudest new band of 2011.

146. YACHT – Dystopia

A play on an old R-rated cheerleader chant becomes a boogie-worthy ode to the end of the world. In typical Yacht fashion, it makes you wanna dance around the flames.

145. Neon Indian – Hex Girlfriend

A standout track from the more mature, subtle, pop-influenced second album from this Austinite-turned-Brooklynite.

144. Lil Wayne – How to Love

Carter breaks out the Autotune for a lover’s lament, a surprisingly strong R&B track on a disappointing rap album.

143. Clams Casino – Natural

Perfect for a cold winter night during snowfall, this experimental hip-hop bedroom producer loops melodic moans, pops, and drowsy beats all in sweet cadence.

142. Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – My Cloud

Jamie xx’s remix album of what was to be Scott-Heron’s last album is a moving tribute; “My Cloud” feels less like a remix and more like his ghost is singing to us.

141. Tom Waits – Chicago

Waits returns with another strong album – this opener starts things off by reminding us just how much we missed our favorite raspy barroom brawler.

140. Cut Copy – Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution

Even this album track hidden deep within Zonoscope is an indicator of just how awesome Cut Copy’s new disc is.

139. Cloud Nothings – Should Have

They may be doing a 180 in 2012, but this year Cloud Nothings gave us simple, fun, smart lo-fi power pop. “Should Have” is a career highlight.

138. EMA – Breakfast

Past Life Martyred Saints tries a lot of different things, and delivers on pretty much all of them. This slow-crescendo multi-vocal track is simultaneously creepy and somber.

137. M83 – Intro

Zola Jesus lends vocals, but Anthony Gonzalez holds his own here, fervently screaming along to introduce us to his double-disc dreamscape.

136. The Weeknd – Life of the Party

If that trouble’s-coming instrumental break doesn’t give it away, this is trademark Weeknd, coaxing a young, drunk female at a party into an afterparty gangbang.

135. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – FFunny FFriends

UMO sample Pointer Sisters for this unbelievably catchy singalong from their overlooked, upbeat debut.

134. The Lonely Island – Jack Sparrow (feat. Michael Bolton)

Anyone who can get adult contemporary staple Michael Bolton to declare in his loudest croon, “This whole town’s a pussy waiting to get fucked” deserves recognition.

133. Ford & Lopatin – Too Much MIDI (Please Forgive Me)

Stick around for the breakdown, when this song catapults from 80’s synth to an all-out funk-off between our two ambitious producers.

132. Wavves – Horse Shoes

Nathan Williams continues his reign of stoner punk champion, releasing an infectious falsetto-hooked one-off track.

131. Gauntlet Hair – Top Bunk

This Colorado duo have been playing together for a long time, and in their debut LP they layer on echoes, drum loops, jangling guitars, and what sounds like a piano underwater.

130. Born Gold – End of Days

For a Born Gold track, this one isn’t as chaotic….at first. Once the stammering vocals kick in, that jittering rhythm finds a weird dance-worthy pattern.

129. St. Vincent – Surgeon

A quick slow jam from Annie Clark and her fantastic Strange Mercy, featuring a sliding, almost atonal guitar line in the chorus.

128. Ryan Adams – Lucky Now

Adams tried to find his Heartbreaker roots, but mostly missed the mark this year. With the exception of this gorgeous track, which might be a career highlight for the prolific songwriter.

127. Shugo Tokumaru – Rum Hee

Our favorite Japanese folk-pop noodler returned this year with another strong album of melodies that would break any language or cultural barrier.

126. Pusha T – Feeling Myself

Pusha opens himself up to the full Kanye treatment, boasting a big hook and a little gloating. A sharp transition from his coke rap days in Clipse.

125. Small Black – Moon Killer

This Brooklyn group prepares for a follow-up album in 2012, and from the sound of this first track, they’ve discovered their inner pop music lover.

124. PS I Love You/Diamond Rings – Leftovers

Two of 2010’s best new artists collide on this track about adhering to being used and abused by an unrequited love.

123. Foo Fighters – Rope

The first single from the Grammy-nominated Wasting Light; you’ve probably heard this one a million times, but let it serve as a reminder of the awesome comeback these guys made this year.

122. Middle Brother – Blue Eyes

Another great track from this alt-country supergroup featuring members of Dawes, Deer Tick, and the Delta Spirit.

121. Wiz Khalifa – Black and Yellow

Khalifa’s breakout hit turned him into the next big stoner rapper overnight; bonus points for inspiring Lil Wayne to freestyle a Super Bowl version for his Packers, “Green and Yellow.”

120. DJ Khaled – I’m On One (feat. Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne)

Lifting lyrics from “Trust Issues,” Drake makes his verses shine alongside Ross’ grunts, Carter’s wit, and Khaled’s finest production work ever.

119. Ringo Deathstarr – Imagine Hearts

This Austin band delivers a more accessible version of that My Bloody Valentine reverb-heavy shoegaze – “Imagine Hearts” is a prime example of that sound and the group’s new album.

118. Araabmuzik – Electronic Dream

This hyped producer mixes 90’s era female vocals alongside heavy beats, circular synth lines and atmospheric layers of melody. Great stuff.

117. Deerhunter – Nosebleed

A one-off track from Bradford Cox that once again trumps anything he did with his more experimental project Atlas Sound in 2011.

116. Gross Magic – Sweetest Touch

The most abrasive, loud, in-your-face track from these newcomers yet. It might be a hint they have more to offer than what we’ve previously heard.

115. Purity Ring – Belispeak

This awesome new duo has three tracks on the list this year – after seeing them at Fun Fun Fun, I highly anticipate a full-length in 2012, which will likely qualify another set of tracks for consideration.

114. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Heart In Your Heartbreak

Perhaps the most fun this crew has offered to date – bonus points for a hilarious video set in a music instrument shop.

113. Mind Spiders – Don’t Let Her Go

Another band I must rave about that had a great show at Fun Fun Fun; “Don’t Let Her Go” is a strong track from an emerging garage rock quartet.

112. J Mascis – Is It Done

Dinosaur Jr.’s frontman gave us another great album of acoustic-based goodness this year; “Is It Done” is my personal favorite from the new disc.

111. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – Booty City

Austin’s very own continues to turn heads with a spectacular live show and a new great album featuring this booty-shaking lead single. If there is such a place as Booty City, you can bet Lewis is the mayor.

110. Green Day – Cigarettes and Valentines (Live)

Previously unreleased, this was to be the title track to the album that followed Warning; the master tapes, however, were stolen, and the band decided to start from scratch. They ended up creating a little album called American Idiot.

109. Primus – Moron TV

Les is playing lyrical catch-up since his primary band has been out of service for twelve years; finally we get to hear the inevitable commentary on reality television Claypool had likely been storing since Survivor premiered.

108. Teams vs. Star Slinger – Punch Drunk Love

Teams and Star Slinger collaborated for an excellent EP – this track is a banger showcasing the strengths of the two projects. So dance, kids!

107. M83 – Year One, One UFO

At first, it sounds like children playing in a meadow. Or perhaps they’re journeying through it. Either way, when the cymbals crash at the end, we know they were heading to the biggest rock show imaginable.

106. Charli XCX – Stay Away

Another great up-and-coming electro-pop female vocalist. “Stay Away” is a great track that received accolades upon its Web release this summer.

105. Terius Nash – Ghetto

Nash might have had a mostly introspective mixtape drop this fall, but he always makes time to remind us that the ladies love him and his nonstop swagger.

104. MNDR – Cut Me Out

Yet another enjoyable Fun Fun Fun performance, and MNDR rocked it solo with a laptop and a lot of energy. Also looking forward to a full-length in 2012 from this one.

103. Justice – Civilization

The only track on Audio, Video, Disco that comes even close to the glory days of Justice and their fist-pumping noisy-house first record.

102. Hooray For Earth – Black Trees

The closing track of this Brooklyn band’s debut is a gradual crescendo led by pulsating drums and a mountain of vocals repeating the same line with increasing force.

101. Dum Dum Girls – He Gets Me High

These kids had a great year; not only is their latest LP fantastic, but they delivered a worthy EP as well. This is the brilliant title track to that EP, and one of the band’s best to date.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply