One of my friends and I were talking recently about some of the music that came out in 2011. At the conclusion of our conversation, which could be summarized with the word, “fine,” it was decided that many of the albums released this year were exactly that, “fine.”
That being said, there was some really, really special music released this year (here’s looking at you, Antlers). I found myself exploring bands whose earlier releases I had cast away. There were also a few artists who only released a few songs this year, whose albums I very much look forward to hearing.
Anyway, without further ado, here are my favorite songs of 2011. I hope you enjoy them all. I certainly do.
I recently got Summer Camp’s new album, Welcome to Condale, and was most impressed by this song. It starts out with an excerpt from the show, “My So-Called Life.” In fact, Brian Krakow is a character on the show. For me, that’s neither here nor there, because I could never get into that show. Anyway, the song is really up beat, and super catchy (just wait until the chorus). I could see this being an excellent summer jam. Even though I’ve only had Summer Camp’s album for a few weeks, this song has really grown on me. I can’t stress enough how catchy it really is.
9) Lana Del Rey - Blue Jeans
This is a song that, I believe has been out for a better part of the year. I didn’t get it until the end of November after reading an article about Lana Del Rey. At first I liked Lana’s song “Video Games” more. Then this songs gets to the chorus. And, oh my, what a chorus it is. Listen and see for yourself.
8) Bon Iver - Beth/Rest
I never really got into For Emma, Forever Ago, so when I first listened to the new Bon Iver album, I wasn’t really expecting much, despite all the great things I had heard. I ended up being floored by the album (more about that soon), especially a few individual tracks. “Beth/Rest,” the last song on the record, stood out to me the most. The cheesy keyboard intro, the odd auto-tuned vocals, and the strange sax solo, all mesh into one, strangely beautiful & hypnotizing closing track.
7) Jens Lekman - Waiting For Kirsten
One of the funniest things about this song is that it’s about Kirsten Dunst. Why Jens Lekman was inspired to write about her, I’ll never know. What I do know though, is that this song rules. Musically, it reminds me a lot of an Elton John song (because of the mandolin, just listen to Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, or Holiday Inn).
6) Wye Oak - Civilian
Wye Oak put on an awesome live show. I had the pleasure of seeing them cover two Dinosaur Jr. songs at the “Our Concert Could Be Your Life” tribute show. Anyway, this song is really cool. Jenn Wasner’s voice really makes it for me. What’s also cool about Wye Oak is that their drummer plays keys, and drums at the same time.
5) Real Estate - Green Aisles
I had always kind of liked Real Estate (who are actually from near where I grew up), but never really got super into them. That was until I heard “Green Aisles.” The song is really relaxing due to its layered guitar parts, and airy vocals. Real Estate have taken a big step forward with their most recent work.
4) Frank Ocean - Thinking About You
I first heard Frank Ocean at Best Pizza on Havemeyer Street in Brooklyn (definitely go there, really good pizza). I really took to his reworking of Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing, and a few other tracks off of his album. This song though amazed me the first time I heard it. Its quite simple, but Ocean’s voice is stunning. That falsetto, man.
3) Washed Out - Eyes Be Closed
This was the first track released off of Washed Out’s new album Within and Without. I had liked his earlier work, but there was something about Eyes Be Closed. It was more polished. He clearly didn’t record this track by himself, in his bedroom. The intro draws you in, the drums kick in. Then, come some synths. Finally the vocals. Welcome to Washed Out.
2) Yuck - Rubber Just listen to this song. It’s the Only In Dreams for the new millennium.
1) The Antlers - Rolled Together
Just listen to the Antlers new album “Burst Apart,” and thank me later.