Part 4: MUF’s Top 100 Songs of 2011 (1-25)
You’ve made it – our top 25 songs of 2011 are right here. We were blown away by the talent here and perhaps some of the way these songs worked out for the respective artists here could either be sheer luck to have a song turn out so favorably or perhaps it came down to just raw talent. Whatever it is, these songs rocked our day, week, month or heck… even our year. Enjoy the best of the best with our top 25 songs of 2011!
25. The Remainers – House
Nate Bott reminds us of Brandon Flowers, and with the progression of this homely rock track it’s easy to see why this track reached the top 25.
24. Delorean – Stay Close (RAC Mix)
A remix on this list? Yes, this year RAC absolutely took over. Whether it was Delorean or RAC pulling the weight here doesn’t matter since it is all about he music. Trending RAC.
23. Bon Iver – Michicant
Part of Bon Iver’s self-titled album has an 80s twang and the other part was ripped out of some sodden, leaf-covered canopy in a remote forest. The moods are set between the unorthodox vocals and string section (something Bon Iver does with perfection).
22. Waylayers – Weightless
As much as I hate making such a mainstream comparison, Waylayers track “Weightless” will more than likely be mistaken for a Coldplay song. For reasons beyond our explanation, everything about this song compliments each additional instrument added here, particularly the keyboard. Waylayers were one of our favorite groups of 2011 that landed in our inbox and were featured in our Daily Download.
21. Scattered Trees – Four Days Straight
When the chorus line yells “oh no”, the true nature of “Four Days Straight” breaks through – enigmatic, indie rock sullied by life’s experiences. The simple, yet deepened, electric guitar pounds out of the speaker and a part of us has the “oh no” stuck in our brains.
20. The Wealthy West – Home
There’s a folksy, Western cowboy sound to The Wealthy West. After listening to their self-titled album, many tracks stuck out but this one particularly had a great message with “You’re never gonna’ be that far from home”. The harmonizing, harmonica, banjo and just the whole ambience drives this song beyond anything else we’ve heard this year. You can certainly tell that these guys play this song with passion.
19. Death Cab for Cutie – You are a Tourist
DCFC snuck into our list this year with this overplayed track from Codes & Keys. Overplay, but wonderfully done due to the elements that has captured millions of fans – guitar solos, a cinematic approach and lyrics we try to relate to.
18. Washed Out – Before
Washed Out perfected the ethereal tones here. It’s rare that a group can get the beats and synthetic composition here and then be able to add their own vocals. Washed Out’s Within and Without album was one of our tops this year and “Before” was the king of the hill on this album.
17. Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle
Song titles that describe the feel of that song surely do something right. The jumpy piano play in “Shuffle” starts everything up, but a plethora of lyrics from the English crew really revs up the middle of A Different Kind of Fix.
16. Under Electric Light – Take Me Away
Like the French group M83, Montreal’s Under Electric Light excels at lo-fi rock. This isn’t a melancholic or angst-driven slice of pop, but a progressive 80s-type punkish ode to getting away.
15. Starfucker – Julius
Hit the On button on all of your switches and light up the dancefloor of your bedroom.
14. Pictureplane – Real is a Feeling
That warbly synth is tops in our book. And we’ve discovered that ‘real’ is definitely a feeling when jamming out to this track. The breakdown at 1:16 is phenomenal.
13. Germany Germany – Dance
What’s not to like here? Every level of sound is hit and as you know, we’re suckers for some good electronica. This song belongs on a movie soundtrack and is so well done you’ll be dancing in your seat.
12. Bell X1 – 74 Swans
Despite the cryptic song title, Bell X1 once again works their story-telling and masterful lyric writing into a a perfected song with every element needed to make this song complete. The mellow melodies of this song and build up to the end is masterfully done and worth our 12 spot here.
11. Beirut – Sante Fe
This track from The Rip Tide uses more of a poppy tune than you’ll find on the rest of the album, yet the super-talented Zach Condon went a step faster while still keeping everything under control.
10. Penguin Prison – Golden Train
Michael Jackson must be rolling in his grave. Penguin Prison’s Chris Glover is New York City’s best kept secret. Normally, we’re not one to fall for the alto Justin Timberlake-type vocals, but there is no denying this guy’s pipes are phenomenal. The disco-dance vibe here compliments this track better than we could have imagined.
9. Lowlands – Leave Town
Synthesized beats with fuzzed-out lyrics seems to be catching on for ambient groups. Lowlands didn’t drag this one on as the ride only lasts 2:50.
8. The Lonely Forest – Two Notes and a Beat
If only life were so simple to just need ‘two notes and a beat’. Well the truth is, all our list really needed was this song. The Lonely Forest nailed it with such a simple song and classic alt-rock guitars. Nothing fancy here, just a stud of a track and is all-around well done.
7. Kauf – Relocate
In German, ‘kauf’ means to take and in terms of our list, “Relocate” just went ahead and took a spot in our top 10 tracks of the year. There’s something eerie, yet emotional about this song. In terms of 80s beats and synths, this song notched a strong #7 on our list. The entire album named after this track is well-worth checking out as well.
6. Real Estate – It’s Real
This New Jersey group broke through in a big way with Days. They arranged a beach-like track that strums, serenades and has you saying “it’s as real as far as I can see.”
5. Starfucker – Bury Us Alive
The band name is pompous, bold, offensive, creative and perhaps even a put-off for some. 2011 was the year we really dove into Starfucker for the first time and “Bury Us Alive” so effortlessly acted as the gateway to listen to the entire album. There’s something to be said of a song that makes you discover and fully appreciate a certain artist’s music and instantly get hooked the first time around.
4. Elbow – Dear Friends
Does Guy Garvey have any idea how on-point his vocals are? I’m guessing despite being a Mercury Prize winner, Elbow is not even close to calling it quits after their fantastic 2011 effort Build A Rocket Boys. The harmonizing and placid guitar plucks will put you into a trance.
3. Chapel Club – Blind
Since “Surfacing” technically came out last year, this track gets the nod as the top track from Chapel Club’s January release of Palace. Make a CD for a friend and throw this in as your opening track.
2. Beirut – The Rip Tide
This is one of those tracks you think you know all the lyrics to so you sing along every time you hear the song. The depressing tone in Condon’s voice could very well bring a tear to your eyes in this musically brilliant track.
1. Bon Iver – Holocene
What can we say… we told you back in August how head-over-heels we were for this song (and video). There’s so many beautiful qualities to be mentioned here. In our post about the video, we mentioned how perfect it complemented the song, how much of an emotional ride simply listening to it once would be. This song will change your life, make you wonder about the world and your place in it. There’s something so deep that cannot be explained here. “Holocene” alone made this year worth listening to all of the music we did. It is a gem in our music library, a monument to be looked back on and will be revisited for years to come. We hope you were as moved as we were.