Friday, 6 January 2012

Sam's Top Songs of 2011

For my own benefit/closure, I have compiled a list of my favourite songs from 2011.  And I thought it might be nice to share them with you, to see what you thought.  Happy to accept criticism and I welcome debate.  Also feel free to post up your favourite songs - I think it's always great to see what others have loved from the year, and why.

Anyways, onto it:

Number 10:  City and Colour – Little Hell
Hard decision to work out which would sneak into the top 10, but I think this is a deserving, powerful song.

Number 9:   Boy and Bear – Feeding Line
Fantastic debut album from a great Australian band - so much potential for the future.  This is a cracking song with everything that makes Boy and Bear so well appreciated and loved.

Number 8:  Lana Del Rey – Video Game
Possibly my favourite vocal performance of the year - powerful and haunting, a song that has been listened to many a time and has never failed to deliver.

Number 7:  Jay-Z and Kanye West – Murder to Excellenc
Arguably the two kings of current-day Hip Hop teaming up for a super collaboration.  This is my favourite of the album (and favourite Hip Hop track of the year) because of the powerful lyrics, the production, the beat and some very fine rapping.

Number 6:   Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers
The uniqueness of Lykke Li's voice and of her music in general have served her very well in the past, and again in 2011.  This is another song that fails to get old, and contains fantastic percussion and backing vocals.  Definitely her highlight for 2011.

Number 5:   Architecture in Helsinki – Contact High
Quite simply, the best that Pop music has sounded since Regina Spektor's Begin to Hope album.  Catchy backing music, riff, terrific vocals and lyrics and a BRILLIANT key change!  A true Australian highlight.

Number 4:  Grouplove:  Itchin' on a Photograph
The first song off their debut album, and it is an absolute, absolute gem.  Has all the elements of a truly great rock song, and delivers on all levels.  Passionate, angsty young people making great music.  Expecting good things in the future!

Number 3:  Florence + The Machine:  Shake it Out
The new Florence album has most certainly lived up to expectations, and Shake It Out is an unbelievably good standout.  Boasting probably the best chorus of 2011 - an epic song that has given me goosebumps hearing it time after time.  Ooo-ooo-ooo-ooooooo!

Number 2:  Bon Iver – Holocene
Another band releasing their second album, and the self titled album for these guys is probably my favourite of the year.  Incredible, thoughtful, powerful yet relaxing, this track is in no hurry to get to where it is going.  But it gets there, and it is truly magnificent.  The video clip is also amazing.  So many good things to be said about this track.  And I am so very excited to be seeing them close the Perth International Arts Festival.

Number 1:  Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
And so, on a list with more than its fair share of epic tracks, what does this song have over the rest?  Well, first of all it has a terrific, driving guitar backing, it has a superb chorus, great lyrics, and a great crescendo.  It does everything a great Fleet Foxes track does, and is in my opinion a good introduction to their music for a newcomer.  (I hope it helps others to enjoy their wonderful music (of both this album, and the previous self-titled album).  They are truly excellent.)  This is probably the one song that I heard in the first half of the year and that I have continually listened to - and it has stayed with me throughout the year.

I'm not sure whether the lyrics on this track make me feel despaired or inspired.  It seems to reflect on the harsh realities of life, and the unfilfilled and sometimes forgotten dreams we have as we go through the journey of life.  Maybe it's a bit of both.  I want to be sad for the narrator, but also want to use his lesson to make sure one day I get my "orchard", whatever that may be.  There are more important things to this world than just being a "functioning cog in some great machinery" and letting the world get to be so "inconceivable" and dizzying.  We need to strive for these things - they make life worth living.  But I think that will be a discussion for 2012.

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