|Klap 's Best Songs Of '11|
My favorite songs of the year. No artist repeats. Tough decision between r1 and 2.
Strawberry Swing - Hey, black people listen to Coldplay too!
|39||Explosions in the Sky|
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Postcard from 1952 - Proof that the Explosions in the Sky brand of post-rock
teasing can still pay off in a big way.
Romance - Chicks from Sleater-Kinney tone down the seriousness and turn the
amps up to 11 ? riot-grrl punk meets crunchy power pop.
|37|| ||Mr. Little Jeans|
The Suburbs (Arcade Fire cover) - I don?t normally include covers in my SOTY,
but this threatening cover of one of my favorite songs of 2010 by Norwegian
waif Monica Birkenes takes the dark lyrical message of ?The Suburbs? and
reimagines it in a big way, all looming bass and paranoid synth stabs.
Trip To Your Heart - What, like I wasn?t putting Britney somewhere on here?
Bloodshy & Avant coming up big with the trance-y, Britney-on-E beat.
I Am Very Far
Your Past Life as a Blast - ?Cuz no one, no one is gonna stop me from loving my
brother / not even my brother.?
Bumper - Given how this is one of the best examples of Cults? lovely brand of
retro-pop, I?m surprised they didn?t utilize the boy-girl vocal interplay more on
|33|| ||Pretty Lights|
I Know The Truth
I Know The Truth - Pretty Lights tries his hand at some filthstep ? check out
the video of when he debuted this at Bonnaroo.
|32||The Go! Team|
Buy Nothing Day - Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast adds a little extra oomph
to this lo-fi power-pop masterpiece.
Future Starts Slow - Is there anything sexier than a woman singing
some grimy, dirty American blues?
Going Under - Vintage Dodos and the highlight from the return to Visiter form
that is No Color.
|29||Death Cab for Cutie|
Codes and Keys
You Are A Tourist - Whether it was because of the dross surrounding it or that
killer guitar riff, ?You Are A Tourist? stood out. Chris Walla, take a bow.
|28||The Joy Formidable|
The Big Roar
Whirring - Yes, technically this song has been around since 2008, but I just
heard it this year and it remains the centerpiece of one of the more exciting
debut records of 2011. Plus, this version has a much more entertaining noise
Out of Love
Pineapple Girl - Who knew an oddball rendition of the pen pal relationship
between Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and a 10-year-old Michigan girl
could be so damn catchy?
Crispy Cake - More fists pumped per minute than any other song this year.
Ceiling of Plankton - Tough choice on an album filled with good cuts, ?Ceiling of
Plankton? nevertheless has the strongest hook and one of vocalist Taylor
Guarisco?s more affecting performances.
Endless Summer - ?Endless Summer? is everything that turned me onto the
Jezabels ? killer drumming, the operatic pop scale, and vocalist Hayley Mary?s
(aka the Australian Florence Welch) powerful pipes. A difficult choice from one of
my favorite debut albums in recent memory.
|23||Foster the People|
Pumped Up Kicks - I first heard this song on a friend?s playlist on the way to
Coachella in mid-April. How could I not like the hook on this? Little did I know
everyone would be hearing the same thing by the middle of summer, to the
point where radio replay has murdered most of this band?s likability. Still, you
can?t deny the catchiness here.
|22||Cut Off Your Hands|
You Should Do Better - The growth from this New Zealand band?s debut in 2008
to this year?s Hollow is immediately evident in opener ?You Should Do Better.?
The band is more confident, singer Nick Johnston has never sounded stronger,
and the group?s penchant for soaring, Smiths-style choruses is impossible not to
sing along with.
Old Raves End
Flikr of ur Eyes - Old Raves End is definitely an album?s album, but ?Flikr of ur
Eyes? just manages to stand out from the rest of the (extremely stellar) pack
with its haunting chopped up vocals and that melancholy piano progression.
Cruel - Weird has rarely been this catchy. Strange Mercy as a whole wore off on
me, but ?Cruel? is the best of that record in one fantastic pop song, Annie
Clark?s underrated (seriously, I will never again forget to mention her as one of
my favorite female vocalists) voice rising above a delectably oddball
arrangement and the perfect buzz saw guitar solo.
Came Up ft. Slash - One of the best rap albums of the year (in a dull one for hip-
hop for me) lured me in with this triumphant ode to success. Bonus points for a
string motif that sounds EXACTLY like Ocarina of Time?s Song of Storms.
Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Vomit - Christopher Owens unchained and all the better for it. From psychedelic
organ stomp to the full-blown gospel freakout (complete with wailing choir) that
concludes everything, ?Vomit? is Girls going balls-out and sounding quite self-
assured about it all.
|17|| ||The National|
Portal 2 Soundtrack
Exile Vilify - If this is the kind of masterpiece the National are writing for a
fucking video game soundtrack, I?m already pretty excited to hear what they
intend to follow High Violet up with.
|16||The Black Keys|
Lonely Boy - Not as immediately bouncy as ?Tighten Up,? but ?Lonely Boy? and
El Camino in general revels in the grimier side of rock ?n roll, as best exemplified
in the rugged guitar line that propels this superb single.
|15|| ||Youth Lagoon|
Year of Hibernation
Montana - Chillwave usually makes me feel nothing at all, so Youth Lagoon was
a present surprise this year. The second half of this song brings the entirety of
Year of Hibernation together beautifully.
Under Cover of Darkness - It?s easy to forget, amid the hit-or-miss nature of
Angles and the general apathy that has been developing for the Strokes since
Room on Fire, that when the Strokes actually put their minds to it and pen a
goddamn Strokes song, it?s fucking amazing.
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Reunion - Everything about this song is so Anthony Gonzalez and M83 it?s hard
not to like everything about it ? the sugar high that the galloping drums bring
in, the sunny, wordless chorus, even the damn 80s-romance spoken word bit in
the middle. Maybe that?s why it?s my favorite song off the new record ? it?s the
quintessential M83 song, and a flawless example of Gonzalez?s aesthetic.
Repatriated - This song is right up there with the best material Dan Boeckner
has penned for Wolf Parade, and that?s saying something. No song on Sound
Kapital ties together better the Furs? retro synth sounds with their agitprop
theme and politically charged lyrics.
Bones - One of the more criminally ignored records of the past year, with
?Bones? a likely contender as the best song no one has heard. A guileless
garage punk tune stretched over the course of six and a half epic, anthemic
|10||Portugal. The Man|
In the Mountain in the Cloud
Sleep Forever - One of the best closers of the year, ?Sleep Forever? is a great
Portugal. The Man song because it leaves everything on the table, winding up
from a gentle finger-picked melody to a resounding climax, mixing in guitar
solos and choirs with ease. This is how Portugal. The Man is meant to sound a la
their live setting, not constraining themselves as they so often do on record.
|9|| ||Bright Eyes|
The People's Key
Ladder Song - Those who thought that The People?s Key had lost that emotional
intimacy from earlier Bright Eyes records must?ve skipped this one. Just Oberst,
a piano and the softest echo, it?s a harsh meditation of life and loss, written
after the suicide of one of his close friends ? ?You?re not alone in anything /
you?re not alone in trying to be.?
Corsicana - ?Corsicana? can be interpreted many different ways ? apocalyptic
love story? People trapped in a relationship? The real-life tale of a family?s death
by fire in Corsicana, TX? ? but it?s best looked at in the abstract, just Peter
Silberman?s falsetto and that melancholy guitar line. Simplicity is bliss.
|7||Florence and the Machine|
All This and Heaven Too - Declarations of love are well suited for bombast and
balls-out emotion, and few do either better than Florence Welch. Perhaps the
best, most straightforward love song she?s ever written. ?Words were never so
useful / So I?m screaming out a language / That I never knew existed before.?
Need You Now - My favorite Cut Copy songs have always been the ones that
immediately grabbed me with the kind of attention-grabbing hooks the band
seemed to have no problem making. ?Need You Now,? meanwhile, sucked me in
slowly with a vortex of synths and a melodic ascension that peaks in glorious
fashion at the end of the song. Stadium rock for the electro-pop set.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Holocene - Hey, the Grammys got something right for once. To me, ?Holocene?
got the gorgeous, evocative musical mood that Justin Vernon was clearly going
for with the whole of Bon Iver, Bon Iver and totally nailed it. Vernon himself has
said its about the ?significance in an insignificance,? that realization where
you?re a part of something much, much bigger than yourself. Or, as another
wise man once said, ?we are all dust in the wind.?
Simple Math - An ironic title for Manchester Orchestra?s new album and the best
song on it, as the two are some of the most bombastic work Andy Hull and
company have ever put down to record. This doesn?t quite have the emotional
punch of ?I Can Feel A Hot One,? but it fits in with the album?s aesthetic quite
perfectly: Andy Hull, talking about the big things in life, all cinematic strings and
sweeping choruses. It?s grandiose and huge, and it?s just what Manchester
Orchestra have been building to since their debut.
In The Grace Of Your Love
How Deep Is Your Love - Luke Jenner is the revivalist preacher and the Rapture
are the deviant church band in this unhinged ode to disco and four-on-the-floor
rock. It builds in layers, but it?s a deceptively simple song, one that probably
didn?t need to ramble on past six minutes. Yet where would this song be
without that saxophone? That looseness and genuine love for the jam is what
makes this probably the best song the Rapture have ever put to tape and a
Ambulance - The Valley is a pretty dark album, often bleak and implacable in its
hardness, which is why I love that the DuPree family didn?t try to offer up a
kernel of hope at the end. ?Ambulance? is the perfect representation of The
Valley as a whole, the logical end to a cycle of grief and love lost. Stacey
absolutely nails this song, and the lyrics . . . I don?t think I?ve heard a better
break-up song in years. ?Thought you were made for me / and we shared our
history / and in time you?ll tear your eyes far away / like a rubbernecker?s gaze /
is it really safe to say / that we?re just made that way / made to brave the
The Whole Love
One Sunday Morning - On its surface ?One Sunday Morning? is a straightforward
folk tune, one that revolves around the simplest of finger-picked acoustic motifs.
But the way those layers build up around that gentle melody; piano tinkling in
overheard; Nels Cline?s occasional electric burst; the soothing brushes from Glen
Kotche?s kit, all managing to build up into the kind of powerful climax I thought
the band had lost with ?Poor Places.? Couple that with only some of the best
storytelling Jeff Tweedy has penned, the deteriorating relationship between a
fire-and-brimstone father and his son, and you have a song that strikes at the
heart of what makes Wilco great. This is the template of all great American folk
songs, embellished with the aid of a 21st-century studio but all dirt roads and
campfires in its telling. The story is what matters here, and I think that?s what
Wilco had lost with their previous records and what this song and all the rest of
The Whole Love snatches back with authority. ?Something sad keeps moving /
so I wandered around / I fell in love with the burden / holding me down.?