Thursday, January 4, 2001

McQ's Favorite Tracks Of 2011

Okay, here we go.  My favorite 13 tracks of 2011.

Last updated 05.11.2012



1. Bizness - TuneyardsNo record offered better best songs in 2011 than Tuneyards's WHOKILL, so in selecting my song of the year, it wasn't a question of would a Tuneyards's song take the top spot, but rather, which one!

Would it be the rousing album opener My Country, the playful Doorstep, or maybe the "oh-so-cool" slow-grind rumination on sex Powa?  Finally, I settled on Bizness, which I feel is the best encapsulation of all this incredibly original artist and one-of-a-kind singer (when was the last time you heard a white U.S. woman  roar like a black male Rastafarian) brought to the indie-rock table in 2011.

Grassroots protest music has rarely been this much fun.


2. Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes: Were it not for a final change-up that doesn't quite deliver on the promise of the song's opening three minutes, Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues would have claimed my top spot of 2011.  Still,  those opening three minutes are so gorgeous, so fabulously produced, and so lyrically involving that the song ends up sliding just one position, settling in at my number two slot for the year.

3. DNA - The Kills: My favorite badass blues-punk rocker of the year.

Here's a live version of the song from this year's Coachella Festival.

4. The Glorious Land - PJ Harvey : Other tracks from Harvey's masterful Let England Shake have received more attention, most notably The Words That Maketh Murder and Written On The Forehead, but no song on the album better drove home the album's theme than this grisly summation of the ultimate toll of war on England's common citizenry.

5. Art Of Almost - Wilco: After two appealing but unadventurous previous releases, Wilco rediscovers their "inner cool."

6. Hatred Of Music Part I - Tim Hecker: There's no melody, no regular rhythm to speak of, but this turning point track from Hecker's fantastic ambient release Ravedeath, 1972 shows just how potent pure texture can be when done this well.

7. Give Up The Ghost - Radiohead: It's been a long while since a Radiohead album was a distant also-ran in the album of the year sweepstakes, but nonetheless, the act remains rock's preeminent particle physicists, having mastered music and sound at a sub-atomic level where most artists still fumble with the Newtonian fundamentals, and this unusual, stirring ballad, a minor miracle composed almost exclusively from a series of sad vocal loops, is proof positive the band is still capable of their surprising, Einsteinian best.

Here's a nice on-air performance of the song that hues very close to The King Of Limbs original.

8. Kaputt - Destroyer: Re-interpretations of late 70s/early 80s soft rock kitsch were everywhere in 2011, and this song was the best the mini-movement produced.  Fun video, too.

9. The Wall - Yuck: 90s flavors were everywhere in 2011, also,  and no song brought back nostalgia for that noisiest of decades more than this hook-ridden Dinosaur Jr. evocation.

10. Booty City - Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears: The most entertaining party track (by a very slim margin) from the most entertaining party album of the year.

11. Glass Jar - Gang Gang Dance: Seeming to merge all of their widely disparate music, extended jams, art rock, electronica, shoegaze, primal chants and tribal rhythms...into one definitive track, Glass Jar is the finest song of Gang Gang Dance's career, and one of the best album openers of 2011.

12. Loop The Loop - Wild Beasts: No act brought grown up, slow burn sexy this year like Wild Beasts, and this track, from their excellent release Smother, was the best of the bunch.

Here's a fine recent live performance of the song from the 2011 Paris Pitchfork Festival!

13. Get Some - Lykke Li: Apologies to Bon Iver's Holocene, Akron/Family's Kurt Vonnegut referencing So It Goes, The Antler's Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out, The War On Drugs's Come To The City, and WU LYF's We Bros, but in a year dominated by women, no song conveyed that domination  more empathically than this sexually assertive garage romp from Sweden's used-to-be dance-pop wall flower.

Other 10s From 2011 - Listed Alphabetically By Artist.

The 9s From 2011 - Alphabetically by Artist

No comments: