Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best Songs of 2011: 25-1

Hello again!
Here are the remaining 25 of my favorite songs of 2011.
Please remember that these songs aren't in any particular order!
And be sure to check out my post of numbers 50-26, here.

See the list after the jump!

25) Far Nearer- Jamie XX

This tropical, minimal fantasy is a song that is more strikingly different than Jamie XX's previously work. Spectral-ly optimistic and beautifully arranged, the song is a perfect culmination of harmonies, rhythms, and minimalism.

24) White Nights- Oh Land

It would be wrong to leave Oh Land out of my top 50 songs of the year.
Oh Land was one of THE artists to be excited to be about in 2011 and with good reason. White Nights resplendently displays all the wonderful qualities Oh Land's music has. Unique lyrics, uptempo melodies, whimsical creativity, and semi-strange but still beautiful vocals. Not to mention, White Nights has one of the best videos of the year.

23) I Am The Best- 2NE1

Here's some more k-pop that I really just had to include.
I Am The Best marked the return of k-pop hard-hitters 2NE1. And Oh. My. God.

22) LSD- Trippple Nippple

I mean. Come on.
This song is ridiculously catchy, slightly of-kilter but absolutely irresistible. Some of my favorite music coming out of Japan right now.

21) It Feels Good To Be Around You- Air France

With a brilliant James Blake sample, this austere belearic duo's It Feels Good To Be Around You is an ocean of reticent cool. Chilled out, pensive, inquisitive, and arcanely dancey, this is a brilliant return for Air France.

20) Don't Fuck With My Money- Penguin Prison

Impeccably timed with the Occupy Wall Street protests, this disco-y dance anthem is one of  most memorable of the year.

19) Breathe (Chinese Version)- Miss A

I don't think this one counts as 2011. But because it is the Chinese version that came out this year, I'm just going to pretend that this DOES count. With a strange, but brilliant, beat, hypnotic music video and all around fun sound, Breathe is one of my favorites. As a 4 year student of the Chinese-language, I also kind of had to include this just by virtue that I can understand the song. Also, some music in Chinese is just, well at least the top 40, really, really bad...

18) Amber- Labyrinth Ear

One of my favorite new discoveries of 2011, Labyrinth Ear, released this piece of  brilliance in August. A perfect example of their wispy, etheric, and esoterically minimal production, Amber is a hopefully telescope into what is to come from this brilliant duo.

17) Shake- Little Boots

The long awaited return of Little Boots was by no means a disappointment. With her wonderfully dance-y, club friendly, echoing of Kylie Minogue, Hesketh created one hell of a song. Shake is more edgy, more forward than her previous efforts and is so effortlessly chic and clean. Absolutely brilliant, brilliant song, can't get enough. I want to hear more.

16) Wolves- The Good Natured

The Good Natured have really begun to take off recently. With the release of their newest single, Video Voyeur, doused in glamorous production, they've really caught fire. I will say though, that my favorite song that the trio released this year is Wolves. With a thumping, somewhat eerie ambience and lyricism that could cut diamonds, Wolves became a quick favorite of mine. They will blow up in 2012, I can promise you that.

15) End Of Time- Beyoncé

This year was, in many ways, Beyoncé's year. She had multiple hit songs, mind-blowing performances, and of course the news of her pregnancy. Though 4 wasn't exactly my favorite album of 2011, End Of Time does find itself on the list for my favorite songs. With powerhouse vocals, heartwarming and romantic lyrics, and a hard percussive beat, there's no question why I like it.

14) Body and Soul- Tony Bennet & Amy Winehouse

When Amy Winehouse died this year, I was, like many others, really upset.
She has such a voice, such a talent. While Tony Bennet is hardly my favorite... I have to include this song because of the explosive talent that Amy Winehouse embodies.

13) Lose It- Austra

Austra's debut, Feel It Break, was one of the albums I was most excited about this year. Full of raw operatic vocals, sleek synths, and just all over appeal, Feel It Break fulfilled so many of my favorite aspects of music. Lose It, shrill in vocals, simple in lyrics, but all over hypnotic and entrancing. Such a brilliant song with such beautiful and piercing vocals.

12) Never Will Be Mine featuring Robyn- Rye Rye

Rye Rye, famous as a prodigy of M.I.A and for her position in the famous Baltimore club scene, created one of the most thoughtful, emotional, and pensive rap songs of the year. Never Will Be Mine is another wonderful example of brilliant sampling, taking from the always perfect Robyn, Never Will Be Mine is beautiful, and, well, perfect.

11) Pharaohs- SBTRKT

While SBTRKT's song Wildfire was gaining all sorts of popularity, I was listening to Pharaohs. Far more interesting to me with its combination of more 90s- house oriented dance music when combined with effortlessly cool, almost spoken-word, vocals by Roses Gabor. Lyrically, the song is puzzling but, nonetheless, one of my favorites of the year. Also, one of the best songs for pretending to be cool to.

10) Bedroom Hymns- Florence + The Machine

A part of a release in the latter half of the year, I waited a long time for this slice of musical gold. Keeping up with her witch-like, pagan image by proving that she still has the voice of some God-like force, Bedroom Hymns is one of the best songs off of Florence's sophomore effort. Jangly piano complimenting wailing and strained vocals, just such a brilliant song. It really should be on the album and not JUST on the deluxe edition.

9) The Suburbs- Mr. Little Jeans

Well. I don't know how much this one counts but I don't even care.
If I payed close attention to covers, this would, hands down, be the best of the year.  Haunting, hypnotic, chic, and marvelously arranged, Mr. Little Jeans completely reinvented the original song. Austere, soothing, Mr. Little Jeans' rendition is just everything and is absolutely fabulous.

8) Born This Way- Lady Gaga

The message is enough of a reason.

7) Wilhelm Scream- James Blake

A beautiful synthesis of multiple genres.
James Blake created an incredibly progressive, environmental, and just all around beautiful song in Wilhelm Scream.

6) The City- Patrick Wolf

The City is one of the most optimistic and inspiring songs of 2011. Patrick's newest album was such a dichotomy of happiness between the more melancholy side of the emotion and the more jubilant, tangible, hopeful side. The City was very much a ray of sunshine in a year full of so many dark things.

5) S'éteint Le Soleil- Yelle

One of the many reasons why I want to learn French is to understand Yelle's music better.
As a pop-album, her long awaited second album was an incredible piece of work. As an electronic album, Safari Disco Club was a grab bag of brilliant tastes of other sub genres. This song with its dubstep influences, and various others songs and their references to 80s, 90s dance, and club music. Safari Disco Club was a tastefully and remarkably curated album. S'éteint Le Soleil is just one piece of that brilliance. Yelle was also absolutely spectacular live too.

4) Rolling In The Deep- Adele

I don't even need to say why.
/obligatory inclusion.

3) Gabriel ft. Valentina- Joe Goddard

All over BBC Radio 1 this year, I won't deny that I love this song. With simple, danceable percussion and an emotional vocal track that kills, it's easy to say why.

2) Radioactive- Marina & The Diamonds

While I would have loved to put her song Scab & Plaster here, I figured that would be wrong, considering it hasn't technically been released yet. So anyway.
Radioactive was quite the curve ball this year. A song by Marina & The Diamonds with a dance-music melody you say? I would have previously told you that that was improbable. Well, Marina Diamandis abandoned her more indie/folk sensibilities and devoted her scintillating, unique voice to dance music. The pairing works perfectly and Marina has still maintained so much of what made her unique, her voice, her biting lyrics, and her altogether catchiness.

1) I Wrote The Book- Beth Ditto

Well, I will say this. This is probably the only ranking that I really do believe to be fitting. While all of these songs are just my favorites of 2011, I Wrote the Book is probably my absolute favorite song of the year. Ditto's transformation from indie-rock diva to Madonna-esque dance music pioneer is one of the most brilliant and the most unexpected of the year. I Wrote The Book, though, echoes so many facets of the greatest parts of the 90s. A ballroom, vogue-style beat, stellar vocals, and just collectively stylish, cool, and tasteful production, I don't think I'll ever get over this song.

Do you think I left something out?
Let me know either in the comments or on twitter @JacobCypherle!
Hope everyone is having a good holiday so far.
All the best,
Au revoir.

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