TOP 20 OF 2011 – #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

So, I’ve failed at being as diligent as I’d set out to be when it comes to spreading this out over time. I will finish before midnight though, I swear.

Coming in at #6 on my list is “Calgary” by Bon Iver. I’ll never get sick of listening to Justin Vernon’s falsetto. In fact, I had no idea what the lyrics to this song were about until I looked them up. Still, they don’t really matter. The production is incredible. This music is all about the emotional reaction you have while listening to it. Love them or hate them, Bon Iver’s doing something pretty different. I mean, there’s not much out there to compare it to. A lot of rock bands these days are pretty interchangeable. You can’t replace Bon Iver with anyone, as far as I’m concerned.

This is another track released on a 2010 record but not as a single until 2011. Argue if you must, but it’s a great fucking song and “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn is #5 on my list. There are various reasons why I love this song. Robyn can write hooks for days; the melody is so strong and the fact that it throws back hard to the 90s, yet comes off as completely fresh and new is a feat. However, what sets Robyn apart is that she writes mature, thoughtful and emotional lyrics to these crazy catchy tracks. That’s unique – and I hate using that word. It’s also another one of those songs that came along at the right time in my life. I’ve had a lot of those songs this year.

Number 4 is The Belle Brigade’s “Losers.” I consider this song’s appearance in my life a bit of a happy accident. I caught the last two songs of their set when they opened for Dawes and Blitzen Trapper this fall. I was so blown away by those two songs, I bought the record that night. As soon as I got home from the show, I broke out the record and really regretted missing their set. It’s one of the best debuts I’ve heard in a long time. As they’re a brother and sister songwriting duo, their songs are more mature, I think. They’ve obviously been writing together for a long time and they explore topics that are less conventional. Losers is mature. It’s epic. It reminds me of what folk music is supposed to be – songs with passion and a message. This song is an anthem. The Belle Brigade are, hands down, my favourite new band of 2011.

Adele’s “Someone Like You” is #3 on my list. I’m not going to spend too much time on this track. We all know why we love it. Everyone’s experienced the feelings that inspire this song. By a  mile, this was the biggest song of the year. It will probably be remembered as one of the biggest songs of the decade. I will say, however, that this song inspired a new life goal for me. One day in my career, I want to be one of the first people to ever hear a song like this. I want to have that moment where I hear a true hit before anyone else. I want to know what that feels like.

Speaking of Blitzen Trapper, “Love The Way You Walk Away” is #2 on my list. I can’t really put my finger on why I love this song as much as I do.  Those are always the best songs though; the songs that compel you to hit repeat as soon as it’s over. Everything about this track is perfect. The lyrics tell a story, the instrumentation is fantastic and the harmonies are beautiful. What kills me is the chorus: “And a brand new coat of paint / on this broke down palace couldn’t compensate / for the things I never really said to make you stay / because I love the way you walk away.” Break. My. Heart.

Here we are at #1. I fell in love with M83′s “Midnight City” before the intro even finished. I had a physical reaction to this song. I can’t help but dance every time I listen to it. The synths, the echoing vocals, the rock sax… everything about this song is amazing. It’s the kind of song you’d want to soundtrack your life. It just makes me happy. So very happy. Every time I listen to this song, I love it as much as I did the first time I heard it. That’s the mark of a great, great tune and it’s my favourite song of 2011.

Now – bring it 2012.

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