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|Sowing's Soundtrack To 2011|
Just as I did in 2010, I have compiled what I feel are the best 20 songs of the year. I was considering making this into a blog, but I already did my end-of-year summary with albums, so I didn't want to give myself two turns in that regard. Enjoy!
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
"Midnight City": The larger-than-life electronic atmosphere drives this song to stratospheric heights. Here, the vocals are a mere accompaniment to the wide ranging synths and heavy beat - making for one of the easiest songs of the year to lose yourself in.
"Back Chat": The flawless marriage of jazz and electronica make for one of the smoothest, downbeat songs of 2011. The eccentric pianos and unpredictable rhythm gives it a bit of a mysterious vibe as well.
"Chinatown": Although the album as a whole doesn't live up to the promise of this individual song (and others like it, such as the title track), "Chinatown" shows us Destroyer's wonderful ceiling. There is nothing like a melting pot of horns, electronic beats, and smoother-than-silk vocals to create a sublime feeling sure to lift your spirits no matter the time of day.
We Are All Where We Belong
"You, Me, & the Boatman": Wild, frenzied, and yet somehow tidily contained, this song shows us why Quiet Company is neither quiet nor easy company, as their "primary sound" is difficult to grasp. Acting as a microcosm of the entire album, "You, Me, & the Boatman" contains a wide range of tempos and styles that are relentlessly enthralling.
"Parentheses": While The Antlers' latest endeavor possesses a plethora or highly regarded tracks, this is the one that stands out the most. Rocking back and forth to one of the most memorable guitar riffs of the year in alternative rock, the gentle sway of "Parentheses" will lull you into a trance all the while making you wary of the creepy keys and vocals that loom around every turn.
"Oohs and Ahhs": Their vocalist may be a little bit country, but on this song Needtobreathe is all rock n' roll. Everything from blazing electric riffs to intriguing drum fills can be found here, and the solo during the final quarter of the song should be enough to finally turn some serious attention this band's way.
"Mission Bells": The liberating sound of ?Mission Bells? surges with a mariachi background and heavy string section that open the curtain to an experience completely free of restraint. It is this carefree sensation that manages to permeate all of Armistice.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
"Holocene": More beautiful than anything from For Emma, "Holocene" stands tall as the most natural sounding song created by a folk artist this side of the millenium. Every single aspect of this is gorgeous.
"Black Night": The best word I have seen used to describe this song is "gallop", because the intricate drum patterns and layered textures give the listener the sensation of bouncing up and down while moving towards a very specific destination. It is dark without being gloomy, and lighthearted without being sappy. I guess that contradiction makes this qualify as "mysterious", but the best way to find out would just be to listen to it.
"Lighthouse": Raw, heavy, and emotional. This is one of those songs that is unforgettable not only because it is mind-blowingly catchy, but also because it marks a step firmly entrenched outside of the artists' comfort zone.
|11||Laura Stevenson and the Cans|
"Master of Art": Even though the beginning is suspiciously reminiscent of both The Ronette's "Be My Baby" and The Explorer's Club's "Forever", this is arguably better than either of those songs. Laura Stevenson's voice is the kind that can completely take over a song, and "Master of Art" highlights her stunning and completely unique skills. A must listen kind of song.
|12||The Milk Carton Kids|
"Michigan": As depressing as the song may be, lines such as "when it hurts, you'll know it's the right thing" will carve a nook right next to the heart of anyone having trouble letting go. The gentle Paul Simon-esque serenades don't hurt its cause, either.
"Simple Math": Lyrically profound and musically sweeping, this just may be the definitive rock song of 2011, and that's assuming its impact doesn't resonate well beyond this year.
Her 12 Faces
"Fall": An indie love song with all the potential in the world to become a huge pop hit. It is effortless in its fluid progression (thanks to soundscaping artist Lance Ferguson) and easy on the ears (thanks to guest vocalist Megan Washington). The duo is absolutely on fire throughout this song, just as they are on the entire record - one of the best summer albums of '11.
"Well Ok Honey": With something of a throwback 70's vibe, Jenny O delivers one of the funnest and catchiest songs of the year. From its slow, chilled out vibe at the start to its overdubbed infectious chorus, this will remain lodged in your brain for weeks.
|16||Florence and the Machine|
"Shake It Out": Florence Welsch shows us what fighting off your demons is really like: cathartic, celebratory dance.
"The Cascades": Although only an instrumental piece, "The Cascades" encapsulate all the beauty of Helplessness Blues, and all in under two stunning, picturesque minutes.
"Burning Photographs": With Diaper Island being a garage rock album at heart, "Burning Photographs" exemplifies the album's true nature while still displaying the eclecticism we have all come to expect from Vangaalen.
|19||Parts & Labor|
"Fake Names": Experimental noise rock with a triumphant kick. Worth a glance for anyone in need of something a little bit off-the-wall but still technically and structurally sound.
"Welcome": Is there a better way to welcome your child into the world than with the gift of music, present in the form of the best song from your best album to date? The line "you're the most incredible thing" rings with a newfound sense of pride here.
|Sweet perfect artwork. Songs are not in any particular order.|
|hehheh 7 :)|
|Love 1, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, and 20. I'm gonna have to check out the rest of these, great list|
|no btmi sowing you disappoint me yet again|
|Just realized I mispelled Florence Welch's name in my list but I'm not editing this out of a fear of artwork fuck-up-ery|
|Completely agree with what you've written for Chinatown, Mission Bells, Master of Art, Michigan and Simple Math.|
|man the lack of taking back sunday on your lists has been bumming me out dawg|
|haha "el paso" missed by the skin of its teeth, man!|
|yeah every time i hear that song i rock out so hard|
|A lot of songs on that album are good, I'm surprised people didn't like it more|
you know i love ya kid,
where's the angst?
the hatred, the disillusionment, the pity, and the fear...
where are they sowing?
why the lack of angst, dear sowing?
Though I gotta give you credit for 11... definitely in my top five 2011 songs as well.
|The angst will have to wait until the next time jesse lacey emerges from his cave to record an album|
|bon iver, bon iver|
|but that's not even the name of the record..........|
|Interesting choice for 2. I don't consider any of the songs on that album to be weak, but 'Back Chat' certainly isn't one of the songs that immediately comes to mind for me|
|it's on the long side and kind of meanders...'Angel Eyes' is the most memorable to me, but 'Back Chat' has a lot more going on. i feel like i hear something new every time i listen to it|
|Thanks for showing me 4! haha|
|very cool list, completely agree with 13's description|
disagree about holocene being better than for emma stuff tho
|i still think for emma is better|
but that song is just so amazing
|We have 3 matches I think; Parentheses is not one of them. No Widows, I Don't Want Love, Corsicana and French Exit are all so much better.|
|i like "secrets" more than 2|
7 and 11 are awesome
|Excellent list Sowing,.... Agree wholeheartedly with your choice of albums, (even though i haven't heard all of them yet!) |
|oi sowing stop being cute|
|can't help it...this is how I am ;)|
|Midnight City is sooo good. So is Steve McQueen.|
|4 is really underrated for anyone who wants something they probably haven't heard before|
|Simple Math only at 13? I thought the album was a little disappointing but that's still my song of the year.|
|It's not in any order, Ali. Simple math is probably my favorite as well.|
|As you apparently never feel like answering ANYTHING I post in your shoutbox: Listen to the new Coeur de Pirate (you know, the female half or Armistice) and the new Mariachi El Bronx (the instrumental section on Armistice|
|i dont understand how simple math is lyrically profound|
|Haha sorry tyrael, I saw it I just didn't get a chance to check it out yet. If it has anything to do with armistice in any way, I'll probably be interested...and ohfoxxxy, I think it depends on interpretation, but simple math is definitely impressive lyrically when taken in an existential context.|
|Holocene is great I think I like Perth more though|
|Yeah, I started out loving Perth but holocene won me over with time|