2011 was replete with an abundance of fantastic music. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the tunes that were good but couldn’t find a place in my Top 100. Here they are…
Alex Turner – Piledriver Waltz; The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong; Daft Punk – Fall (M83 vs. Big Black Delta remix); Honeychild – The Owl; Martin Solveig f. Dragonette – Hello; Wild Beasts – End Come Too Soon; Joker – The Vision; The Antlers – No Widows; Gang Gang Dance – Adult Goth; We Are Augustine – Chapel Song; Frank Ocean – Swim Good; Lady Antebellum – Just a Kiss; Jennifer Lopez f. Pitbull – On The Floor; The Strokes – Under Cover of Darkness; Cold War Kids – Bulldozer; Cage The Elephant – Aberdeen; Desire – Under Your Spell; Radiohead – Lotus Flower; Wye Oak – Civilian; Tune-Yards – Bizness; Junip – White Rain; Beady Eye – The Beat Goes On; The Naked & Famous – Girls Like You; Patrick Wolf – The City; Crystal Fighters – Home; Blue October – The Feel Again (Stay); Lights – Toes; Evanescence – Lost in Paradise; Hot Chelle Rae – Bleed; Fefe Dobson – Can’t Breathe; The Sheepdogs – I Don’t Know; Jay-Z & Kanye West – No Church in The Wild; Emmy The Great – Paper Forest (In The Afterglow of Rapture); Jessie J. – Price Tag; Karen O., Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Immigrant Song; Ellie Goulding – Lights; KO – Moving Mountains; The Script – Science & Faith; Into the Clouds – The Sound of Arrows; Foster the People – Waste; AWOLNATION – Sail; The Death Set – I Miss You Beau Velasco; The Chemical Brothers – Escape 700; Baden Baden – 78; Armistice – City Lights Cry; Buck 65 f. Jenn Grant – Paper Airplane; Rainbow Arabia – Without You; Hooray For Earth – Comfortable, Comparable; Astral Rejection – I Set My Friends on Fire; Iamamiwhoami – T; The Get Up Kids – Pararelevant; Active Child – Playing House.
If that cracking collection of songs couldn’t fit into my top 100, those that did must be pretty monumental. They are…
100. The Japanese Popstars – Song For Lisa
Dance-tastic, flighty and levitating. Watch your head.
99. Shakira f. Pitbull – Rabiosa
If you don’t like this song, Pitbull will bite you en la boca. I’m not taking that chance, thanks. If it were Shakira on the other hand…
98. Pitbull f. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer – Give Me Everything
If you don’t like this song, Pitbull, Ne-Yo, and a couple other cats will bite you not only en la boca, but also en el cerebro; again, call me risk averse, but I’m willing to err on the side of caution and avoid the possibility. Just grab somebody sexy, tell em hey!
97. Chris Brown – Yeah x3
Chris (Blonde a la Demolition Man Wesley Snipes) Brown hits wicked hard on this song. He hits three things undeniably hard: his vocals, his dance moves, and, um…I’m forgetting the last thing.
96. Grouplove – Betty’s Bomb Shell
Just has that je ne sais quoi. A tranquil jaunt down memory lane.
95. Monarchy f. Rokhsan – I Won’t Let Go
Surprisingly affecting for a relatively simple dance-pop song. I hear a bit of Hot Chip, Gabriel & Dresden, and Chris Isaak in “I Won’t Let Go”. Quite the mix. Ears, transfixed.
94. Creature – So High
Blondie meets Dragonette meets a lingerie photo shoot. What’s the address?
93. USS – Prefontaine/Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday)
Ash Boo-Schultz and The Human Kebab deliver again on their nostalgic sojourn of an EP, Approved. USS have the gift of inane gab, constructed carefully in their secret sonic lab. Always fun.
92. The Sounds – Yeah Yeah Yeah/The Best of Me
Sweden, Sweden, got me believin’, that melody’s a gift you be constantly thievin’.
91. Panic at The Disco – Memories/The Ballad of Mona Lisa
Their latest LP Vices and Virtues, was wildly surprising for its depth of quality. Cast as write-offs from the long since dead emo era of the early aughts, PATD have quietly matured into a really good band. Highlighting their well-honed sense of melody and songcraft, “Memories” and “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” are instantly gratifying.
90. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See/Love is a Laserquest
If you don’t believe me, suck it and see for yourself. I’ll just go ahead and put you down in the ‘yea’ camp. It’s rather amazing how good Arctic Monkeys have become at making music, how comfortable they sound in their own skin.
89. Geographer – Kites (Limousines remix)
One of the most obscure songs of the year, “Kites (Limousines remix)” hand-glides around the sky with nary a care in the world. It’s not coming down any time soon.
88. Yellowcard – The Sound of You and Me/For You and Your Denial
Yellowcard are back and masters of their domain. Both “The Sound of You and Me” and “For You and Your Denial” are relentless smashes.
87. Charlie XCX – Stay Away
Rambunctious, raucous, trapping pop. Nothing less.
86. When Saints Go Machine – Kelly
Weird, catchy, body-propelling, fantastic. When Saints Go Machine is part Depeche Mode, part Antony Hegarty (specifically “Blind” with Hercules & Love Affair), part feral cave-dweller and disco head-bopper. An engaging confluence indeed.
85. Vanbot – Maybe
“Maybe” is literally unsure, but at its heart, it consoles and cajoles. Vanbot and Young Galaxy are kindred spirits.
84. Austra – Darken Her Horse/The Beast
Two staggering tracks from Austra’s debut record. “Darken Her Horse” is focused and sharp. “The Beast” is tender and plangent. Whoa — what an effort.
83. D-Sisive – No More Words/#1 Record
Nothing in hip-hop moves me much anymore — wait a sec, hold the phone. Toronto rapper D-Sisive obliterated my ideas on the genre with his amazing Jonestown 2: Jimmy Go Bye Bye LP. This man has a voice and he intends to use it. A special lyricist with some thunderous beats.
82. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA… What a Life!/AKA… Broken Arrow
What a comeback. Noel’s still got it — in spades. Both “AKA” tracks are phenomenal. That Noel has come up with so many compelling melodies over the years is kind of unbelievable. At this point, I think he might be a sorcerer. In fact, let’s take out the might. He is clearly a sorcerer. And I’m elated to be under his spell.
81. Florence & The Machine – No Light No Light
One of the standout tracks from the formidable follow-up LP, Ceremonials, “No Light No Light” is a regal slice of pop buoyancy.
80. Ladytron – White Gold/Melting Ice
Featuring the typical Ladytron sound, “White Gold” and “Melting Ice” carry extra brawn, making them impossible to resist. Bulking up (sans HGH) suits Ladytron well.
79. Lady Gaga – Marry The Night/Born this Way/Judas
The beats are supple, boisterous, and resilient; the hooks are epinician, diligent and aplenty. Gaga is The Queen of Pop, but also The King, The Prince, The Princess, The Court Jester, The Soothsayer, The Witch, The People, and The Dominion itself. We’re at her beck and call and I’m ok with that.
78. Blink-182 – Ghost On The Dance Floor/Snake Charmer
From their solid comeback album, Neighborhoods, “Ghost On The Dance Floor” and “Snake Charmer” are rife with might, vigour, and urgency. The perfect mix of Angels and Airwaves and +44. What do you know, that equals the new Blink-182. It was always going to happen this way.
77. Manchester Orchestra – Leaky Breaks
A redoubtable song at peace with itself. “Leaky Breaks” is considerate and reflective; the guitars canoodling with the casual beat at every turn. A pensive song. A baby-making one too.
76. Neon Indian – Polish Girl
How does one put the essence of an entire culture and sexual orientation into a song? Sounds kind of biggoty. I’m willing to cut Neon Indian some slack though; this song is elusive and fanciful. Too many influences to mention here. The end result is startlingly good.