Welcome to another installment of Up on the Sun's 2011 Review. Over the next week, we'll be counting down our favorite songs, shows, national and local releases of 2011. This installment comes from Christina Caldwell, who came on board as a major contributor to Up on the Sun this year. Enjoy!
So this is the end of 2011, huh? Well, considering around this time next year we're all going to die in some sort of apocalyptic clusterfuck, 2011 was a rather disappointing year for music (even if this was the year we learned Ke$ha has a thing for 'ole Bob Dylan? Who woulda thunk it?) With some exceptions...
MY exceptions. (Just kidding. I'm sure there's some fantastic music I missed this year; feel free to include them in the comments section).
10. Foster the People - "Helena Beat"
I dare you not to dance. I dare you.
9. Kanye West and Jay Z - "Why I Love You"
"Otis" took the spotlight when the collaboration between the two hip hop moguls, Watch the Throne, was first released. But I tend to think this is the highlight of the record... and it's the very last track. It samples heavily from French house duo Cassius' "I which is pretty great in its own right, but West's touch really amps it up to awesome status.
8. The Strokes - "Under Cover of Darkness"
Want some old-school Strokes in 2011? Bam! There you go. The second track on Angles doesn't really sound like anything else on the album... which is a good thing. Overall, the disc was a big disappointment, but Julian Casablancas' gut-busting vocals make this a stand out track
7. Adele - "Rolling in the Deep"
Wow, I'm not really doing much to support independent music so far, am I? Oh well. Yeah, I know you're totally sick of hearing this song, but you can't deny its appeal. Adele has some of the best vocals in modern music, and this song uses every vocal trick in the book.
6. White Denim - "Street Joy"
These are dudes after my own heart. White Denim combines the best parts of the '70s, soul, and rock into one heartbreaking song.
5. The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy"
Coming off the high of 2010's Brothers, The Black Keys had quite a bit to live up to. Personally, I give 2011's El Camino a B+ -- a far cry from Brothers A++++++++ -- but you can't escape the guitar hook on "Lonely Boy." It's the sexiest damn thing I've ever heard.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - "Nothing But Our Love"
This song makes me happy. It's twinkly and sparkly. It's basically the audio equivalent of what it's like to be high.
3. The Decemberists - "Down By the Water"
Is it just me, or is singing along with The Decemberists like stuffing jewels in your mouth? Everything they say seems so important. Their lyrics are enunciated and hyper-literate, so when the Portlanders decided to go a little cowboy country with their sound, I was on board. They added twang, but they didn't lose their roots. "Down By the Water" is the perfect representation of The King is Dead.
2. Bon Iver - "Towers"
A cold, rainy, reflective day in audio form, "Towers" is stunningly beautiful, much like the rest of Bon Iver's 2011 self-titled record. You heard a lot of songs in 2011, but few will change your life. This one will.
1. Fleet Foxes - "Bedouin Dress"
When I say Fleet Foxes 2011 album, Helplessness Blues, is flawless, I'm not exaggerating. I cannot find a single thing wrong with this record. While each song on the 12-song disc has a place in my heart, "Bedouin Dress" represents the album as a whole. I strongly recommend taking the time to lay down with headphones and do nothing but listen to Helplessness Blues in full. Chill bumps.
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