The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 50-21

50. Surfer Blood – Miranda

To whet our appetite in between LPs, Surfer Blood released a rocking little EP featuring this excellent little tune.

49. Starsmith – Lesson One

Another band I know little about, but this played nonstop in my car last spring. A great ode to the unrequited and the ones that got away.

48. Cloud Nothings – Understand At All

Another catchy lo-fi power pop rocker from this group’s self-titled debut. Enjoy it while you can, because the follow-up promises to be darker and more ambitious.

47. Kreayshawn – Gucci Gucci

This Internet sensation crept onto FM radio with this undeniable, absolutely fun track. Bonus points for rhyming “over me” with “ovaries.”

46. Born Gold – Decimate Everything

My first introduction to the newly named Born Gold, and I was immediately hooked. There is a remarkable gift here in making the unorganized sound so irresistible.

45. Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise

Our favorite 5 Boroughs trio finally returned this year with a strong album and this instant classic, featuring a cameo-filled, hilarious long-form music video.

44. Yuck – Coconut Bible

The group’s self-titled debut is fantastic, but no track on it is as good as this fantastic B-side. One of the best new bands of 2011.

43. Sebastian – Ross Ross Ross

Probably the best track from Total that flat-out replicates the spirit of 2007-era Justice and other chop-heavy, semi-chaotic French house.

42. The Joy Formidable – A Heavy Abacus

A My Bloody Valentine-worthy guitar line amongst heavy distortion sends this one up like a rocket amongst clap-along verses and an altogether stadium-ready chorus.

41. Big Trouble – Misery

I get a big L7, Stone Roses vibe from this upbeat rocker from a band whose album was unfortunately not as strong.

40. Class Actress – Weekend

Completely relatable lyrics surround a synth line and drum beat that just sounds like a Friday evening.

39. Swizz Beatz – Everyday (Coolin’)

It’s showtime, indeed. Swizz lays a strong line down and hits loop, then proceeds to stumble over it. Who cares? It’s banging.

38. The Weeknd – Wicked Games

Start here for an intro to what this crooner has to offer. The lyrics say party, but the vibe is much more foreboding, like the client that waits for you in the parking lot after your shift is over.

37. Architecture In Helsinki – Contact High

Not their strongest album to date, but nothing can beat this song, which sums up Architecture to a tee. They’ve still got the goods.

36. Middle Brother – Portland

If you would have told me the best thing John McCauley would bring in 2011 would be a Paul Westerberg cover, I would have slapped you. But after hearing the nonsense Deer Tick offered this year, turns out that’s exactly what happened.

35. Wavves – Nodding Off (feat. Best Coast)

Even on an EP, Nathan Williams still has that knack for throw-away lyrics amongst an unbeatable Beach Boy-esque hook. Background vocals from Best Coast’s Bethany Consentino make this one soar.

34. Cut Copy – Take Me Over

By far the catchiest thing on Zonoscope, and if you’ve heard that album, you know I just paid this song a very very high compliment.

33. Drake – Headlines

Drake’s “I’m back” song was rewarding, probably because there was no hashtag rap verses. Today, I consider it the taste of things that were to come.

32. Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons

“Stay Away” is getting all the praise, but I prefer this second leak, featuring a lyrical rhythmic chorus and an “oh-oh-oh” hook.

31. St. Vincent – Cruel

Strange Mercy‘s best track, and maybe Annie Clark’s finest effort yet that incorporates the odd with the accessible.

30. Kendrick Lamar – No Makeup (Her Vice)

Though Lamar might deny it, he is the next socially conscious rapper, from tackling issues like medicated youth and, in this one, an insecure, abused young female.

29. Teeth – Flowers

Upon first listen, this weirdly contagious dance song reminded me of the ambitious, semi-avant stylings of a HEALTH remix album. I approve!

28. AraabMuzik – Streetz Tonight

The breakthrough Internet track for this much-hyped producer, whose mixtape this year is one of the finest albums, official or otherwise, of 2011.

27. Neon Indian – Polish Girl

For those unsure of whether Palomo still had it in him to write space-age pop songs for the acid tripper inside of us, worry no more.

26. M83 – Wait

This might be the best example on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming of the influence of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which Anthony Gonzalez has claimed he listened to nonstop when making the album.

25. Gillian Welch – Hard Times

The legend finally returned this year with an excellent album; this optimistic track is by far the finest, most powerful thing on it.

24. Hooray For Earth – Sails

This chorus will grow on you; “Sails” isn’t as immediate as the rest of this Brooklyn band’s latest effort, but it is just as rewarding.

23. The Strokes – Taken For a Fool

Angles will likely be remembered as a stumbling block, minus a few tracks. This particular song, however, belongs with “Last Nite,” “12:51,” and the other Strokes classics. Fantastic.

22. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

There are so many sounds I think of when hearing that intro: Cranberries, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Roses. What’s remarkable is that they’re all from the 90’s, a difference of a decade from previous Pains material.

21. Drake – Over My Dead Body

The first track from the incredible Take Care sets the mood for the low-key, mature album – “Over My Dead Body” is a lamentation on an improving life surrounding a haunting, seducing female vocal sample.

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