Monday, December 5, 2011

My Favorite Songs of 2011 - Songs 21-30

The last few years in November and December I've posted a countdown of my favorite songs of the past year on Facebook. Given the readership for my Bonnaroo post this past summer, I thought I'd republish the list here this year. Each will start with some lyrics from the song, sometimes followed by a brief comment about it or why I like it.

These are my favorite songs; not the "best" songs according to me or some critic. Some you may know, others you may not. The only rules are that it must be a song released in 2010 or 2011 and that I like it. I hope you enjoy them (or at least some of them) too.

21. Electrified by Ben Sollee.

"If your heart is unsteady, they can make it beat in time.
If you mind is confused, it can be clarified.
If you're old-fashioned, you will be modernized.
Everything is electrified."

Just a man and his cello, making great music. In what will be a recurring theme, I saw him at Bonnaroo, although not at this impromptu concert.

22. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes.

"I was raised up believing I was somehow unique.
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see.
And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be:
A functioning cog in some great machinery, serving something beyond me."

A beautiful song about . . . withdrawing from the rat race? Giving in and becoming a "functioning cog"? Discuss amongst yourselves.

23. Block After Block by Matt + Kim.

"Eat when you’re hungry and
Sleep when you’re slipping like
Tired dogs rest their paws
Today we show our flaws."

A get-up-and-jump-around song if ever there was one. The whole joint was jumpin' when they played at Bonnaroo.

24.  99 Problems by Hugo.

"Looking for the prize but I don’t want blood
I order one drink then I drink the flood
Well, you can come inside but your friends can’t come."

Pretty much the antithesis of the next song on the list. Since Hugo apparently is signed with Jay-Z's label, I guess we can assume that Jay-Z approved of Hugo's partial appropriation of his song.

25.   One and Only by Adele.

"I dare you to let me be your,
Your one and only.
Promise I'm worthy
To hold in your arms."

More than this summer's ubiquitous Rolling in the Deep, I think this song really shows off Adele's great voice. Just a good old fashioned soul ballad.

26.  We Used to Wait by Arcade Fire.

"I used to write.
I used to write letters;
I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night.
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain."

This song would be higher except that it's really a 2010 song, and even though my rules allow 2010 songs here, it should have been on last year's list. Great song, just the same. GO SEE THEM LIVE!

27.  My Body by Young the Giant.

"Stop the train is riding down to the station where I lived
When I was a cool kid.
Hey, is it my fault that the fallen embers burn down in a spiral
Round your crown of thieves?"

One of the few genuine rock 'n roll songs on this year's list.

28.  Zorbing by Stornoway.

"Lying in your attic;
I can feel the static;
The storm has broken, heavens open.
So electrifying, oh I'm nearly flying;
Lost my heart between the sheets of lightning."

I have no idea what "zorbing" is but I like the song . . .

29.  Mine Smell Like Honey by REM.

"If the end comes faster than we had expected;
And predictions lead us to the final fall.
If the flowers crack the grave and leave the patterns of the pavement;
I can hear you shouting over it all."

Thanks, boys, it was a great ride.

30.  Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart.

"A year from now we'll all be gone
All our friends will move away
And they're goin' to better places
But our friends will be gone away."

One of my top five favorite performances at Bonnaroo this summer.

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