Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 Review: Top 50 Songs (30-21)

We're 20 songs into the top 50 of the year and with some very slight adjustments after a listen to the entire list last night, here are the next 10 songs (30-21). Make sure you check back at numbers 50-41 and 40-31 if you missed them and keep checking back for the top 20!

30. A$AP Rocky - Demons (LiveLoveA$AP)
The Harlem rapper came on the scene this year with two well-received mixtapes and this is by far his best. Most of the brilliance of this song is in the haunting Clams Casino beat but Rocky's drugged out flow melds perfectly to create one of the best hip hop songs of this year.

29. CANT - The Edge (Dreams Come True)
Chris Taylor's solo project CANT is a big departure from his work with Grizzly Bear as it completely abandons the folk tendencies in favor of laid back, quirky electronic beats. As a whole the album is very hit or miss, but when Taylor hits the mark on songs like "The Edge" the results are excellent. The funky bassline accompanies the beat perfectly for a song that you just want to groove to.

28. Telekinesis - Please Ask For Help (12 Desperate Straight Lines)
With releases like Cut Copy and Destroyer, the 80s are alive and well. This track from Michael Lerner's sophomore full-length, features an upbeat bass line with a simple but catchy beat and sparse guitar in that higher register. The instruments blend perfectly to create a sound that's reminiscent of classics like "Just Like Heaven" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

27. Curren$y - She Don't Want A Man (Weekend at Burnie's)
The weeded-out wordsmith came back in 2011 with 3 new releases. While his Covert Coup EP with the Alchemist was by far the best release, the best track came from the compartively average Weekend at Burnie's. Curren$y tells the story of a doctor's wife who wants to "fuck with a rider." Curren$y meets her at the club, talks it out over "grape juice and Ciroc sips" and then obliges her back at his safe house. When he's on his game, is there anyone better?

26. Yuck - Suicide Policeman (Yuck)
On this song, the early 90s revivalists take a quick break from the fuzzed-out, don't-give-a-shit rock for this folky ballad. This is rock n' roll in its simplest and truest form; a rhythm guitar strumming chords, a lead guitar expanding on the chords and playing a solo and a rhythm section to back them up. The below is a live performance with an extended slide guitar solo.

25. Smith Westerns - Weekend (Dye It Blonde)
While it may not be the best song of the year, it certainly gets the award for best guitar riff. An unabashedly playful song about letting loose and having a weekend with that special lady, Chicago natives, Smith Westerns aren't breaking any new ground but god damn are they fun.

24. The Weeknd - The Zone Featuring Drake (Thursday)
The now not so mysterious Abel Tesfaye released two excellent mixtapes this year full of tracks about drugs, sex and emptiness. With the themes of hedonism and debauchery firmly in their grasp, Tesfaye and Drake take you into a deep dark hole where your soul used to be and refuse to let you out until they've both said there piece.

23. Phantogram - Don't Move (Nightlife)
Upstate NY Natives (518 represent) Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter, followed up their 2010 debut Eyelid Movies with this new EP. The 6 songs are an eclectic mix that showcase the groups diverse influences and it allows the band to experiment with some new sounds. The irresistible beat on this song is drenched in irony given the title and chorus of this song. I dare you not to dance to this.

22. Cut Copy - Take Me Over (Zonoscope)
Cut Copy explore a lot of new sounds on their new record but on standout track "Take Me Over" they're up to their same old trick. Cut Copy has seemingly taken everything that was awful about pop music in the 80s and blended it together to make a tremendously catchy and danceable group of songs. People who don't know any better (children and republicans) might be tricked into thinking the 80s were sweet.

21. Shabazz Palaces - Kings New Clothes Were Made By His Own Hands
(Black Up)
Former Digable Planets MC Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler's newest project sounds like its from another galaxy. The lyrics are obtuse, the beats are a constantly shifting mix of instruments and sounds in a battle for their life with the suffocating bass and on top of that Butler changes his flow at least 3 times a song. This song is a brief but rewarding journey into the world of Shabazz.
Link at the top for a download.

Again thanks for reading keep checking back as the top 20 will be revealed over the next couple of days.

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