The following are my top 10 songs of the year. These are in no particular order. Depending on my day or mood, any one of them could be my favorite song of the year. I also limited it to one song per artist, or Adele would have hogged up three spots.
I have put up a Spotify Playlist if you are a member. Warning: 3 of my top ten were NOT in Spotify, and noted substitutions have been made…
Spotify List - Top 10 Songs of 2011
Black Keys – Gold On the Ceiling
That simple guitar chug sounds like ZZ Top never used it, it’s so fresh… The musical hooks and lyrical hooks just don’t stop. The simple accent of backing vocals on the chorus give is just a hint of drama, and I’m doing my hardest to to jump out and dance around my room playing the air guitar. If you aren’t smiling by the end of this song, there is something wrong with you. Note: Spotify didn’t have this, so I put on their first single from El Camino, Lonely Boy. Representative, sure… but it ain’t Gold on the Ceiling.
Rihanna – Farewell
This should be at the end of a blockbuster tear-jerker of a movie! It feels like I’ve just watched something emotional every time I hear it. Calls to mind the actual best-of-the-best of the power 80′s pop ballads. Rihanna’s vocal confidence just keeps growing year after year, and as red-hot as she still is, I imagine she has many records left to break. I hope they choose this as one of her singles from her new album!
Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger
Was there a bigger earworm this year than that do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do whistle? Equal parts pop, rock and disco, this was inescapable… which was fine, ’cause I just didn’t get sick of this song. I don’t there’s ever been a pop lyric better than “kiss me ’till I’m drunk”… and Xtina’s just the icing… a perfect use of her uncontrolled caterwauling.
Erasure – When I Start (To Break it All Down)
Starts with a great melody, meelow, but still with a lot of energy, and then unexpectedly the melody jumps up and the full glory of Andy Bell’s voice comes through in a way I haven’t heard in a long time, and then the bridge grows into more grandeur yet… rally everything I love about songs tucked into one little nugget.
Coldplay – Paradise
Why hasn’t this song been as massive as Vida La Vida? It is hooky as hell, with a sticky sticky melody and lush production that makes you feel like you’re wrapped up in a heavy blanket on a winter night. The Seargent Pepper strings, the synths, the atmosphere, the drama, the power… I was expecting this one to storm the charts… instead, it’s mounted a minor assault, but give this one another shot! Note: Spotify didn’t have this one, but in a wierd coincidence, one of my favorite independent artists from my Next Big Hit days did a cover of Paradise, so I through in his (Gavin Mikhail) version. I hope you enjoy Gavin as well.
Florence + the Machine – What the Water Gave Me
Quite a year for the category of moody lush dramatic songs with big bold vocals this year… Makes me happy of course, this is easily the best from Florence’s new set… creepy and lush as the same time, really moves me to another world.
Tinie Tempah feat. Eric Turner – Written in the Stars
Rap euro-pop that sounds like it’s important and deep? I don’t know if it actually is, but count me in! Pretty much the only song of the current trend of overly auto-tuned electro pop that didn’t make me want to gag… quite the opposite, the song is so bold, it makes me feel like anything is possible every time I hear it… could be the Rocky Theme for a new generation if it had been a bit bigger hit…. the right movie just needs to use it.
Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks
Shooting up a schoolyard has never been so much fun. Alt music rarely is this hooky and poppy. I’m pretty sure that the utter uniqueness of this song is pretty much going to relegate the band to one-hit-wonder status, but what a joyful noise the made with the other inescapable whistling song. Sinuous grooves and tight musicianship make the package inescapable.
Parachute – Something to Believe In
Religion and pop? Power and glory? A rolling thunderous bass line, simple piano that recalls gospel (before the song goes there…) I aven’t heard a gospel choir used this well in a long time… and it’s NOT a ballad! The lead singer’s voice has that perfect energetic cry, the song has something it really wants to communicate… and the hooks don’t stop… the brass section has an incerdibly cool arrangement… (and a sax solo.. see below) Why oh why is this group not crossing into our cultural consciosness? If you only check out one song you are unfamiliar with from this list, make it THIS one.
Adele – I’ll Be Waiting
I don’t know why I’ve never heard mention of this song as a potential single from the 21 album phenomenon. That heartbreak wrapped up in a groove that makes you want to boogie. That Memphis Blues groove rarely feels as good as this… Such a classic song that it’s almost impossible to believe it wasn’t around just a year ago… Note: Spotify didn’t have this one either. I picked a very faithful cover. It ain’t Adele, but it gets the point across that it is a solid, classic song in its own right.
Notable trend – Sax is Back!
T.G.I.F. (Last Friday Night), Edge of Glory, Mr. Saxobeat, In the Dark… Saxophone solos were back with a vengence this year… and thank God! I missed you so much… let’s see if this continues.