30 Great Tracks from 2011 - Part Two: The Convergence of the Twain

Welcome to Part Two: The Convergence of the Twain in my amazing two part 30 Great Tracks from 2011 Playlist. Last time we covered the first 15 tracks. And I'll remind you that these are not ranked, they're just in an order because well, every track list needs a beginning, middle and end. So, before I tackle 16 - 30, let's talk about something that's complicated. That thing is this very thing, the creation of a list. The problem is that we (and here I mean I) are absolutely, definitely, undeniably going to mess it up and forget a few tracks that were still exceptional in their own right. Last year I pretty much left Mumford & Sons off altogether. That was mostly just a mistake, a true and honest oversight. You see, it's a sin to have to make a list because you MUST leave something out. I could make a playlist that's 1000 songs long, but who in their right mind cares for that long... that's at least 3000 minutes, or 50 hours. No one wants that.

So, here are a few of the bands I've neglected to include, but whose work made 2011 an epic year: Fleet Foxes, Amerigo Gazaway, James Blake, The Black Keys, She & Him, Fruit Bats, Vetiver, The Head and the Heart, Josie Charlwood, The Weeknd, Lil Wayne, Chad VanGaalen, Friendly Fires, Austra, Panda Bear, Dustin O'Halloran, Pink Hawks, The Dodos, Bill Callahan, The Strokes, Toro Y Moi, Gruff Rhys, The Dears and many, many more... You should check each and every one of them out. Just open those links in tabs so you can keep going here? Thank you.

Okay, so now that we've all got a little perspective on who has been left out, let's see who found spots among 16 - 30! As in Part One, you can find the list through Spotify or ShareMyPlaylists.com by clicking either of them pretty links right there.

16. Bon Iver "Perth" from Bon Iver - It's pretty much a no brainer. This had to be on the list. But here, following Fucked Up's "The Other Shoe," it calms the pace and primes you for the second half.

17. Death Cab For Cutie "Doors Unlocked and Open" from Codes and Keys - The rumors of Ben Gibbard's death were greatly exaggerated. He returned with a strong and pleasing new album in 2011, including this track that bores into your brain like a space slug. Still, it's lamentable that he and Zooey didn't work out.

18. How To Dress Well "Suicide Dream 2: Orchestral Version" from Just Once EP - It's a retread of the track from Love Remains, but the delicate piano, lessened echoes, and more prominent vocals make this version ever more haunting and beautiful.

19. Beirut "Santa Fe" from The Rip Tide - Beirut established some pop cred with The Rip Tide. It's an album that never wavers far from pleasing. And with this song, there's a funky, electronic warble that is both groovin' and completely suitable to their traditional style.

20. Eleanor Friedberger "My Mistakes" from Last Summer - The first time I heard this song I was hooked. It perfectly captures youth turning into reflection. And the quirky Fiery Furnacer's voice is as great as ever. Dig that syncopation.

21. Dirty Gold "California Sunrise" from ROAR - I first heard this track through Turntable.fm. And as I look out at the snow falling past my apartment window, I can only wish that this song will take me away to a warmer place. And despite its sad tones, its goodbye to summer, it's still warmer than now.

22. St. Vincent "Cheerleader" from Strange Mercy - The album is SO GOOD. You need it. You do. And "Cheerleader" is just the track that popped for me the most after the initial loves for "Cruel," "Surgeon" and "Chloe In The Afternoon."

23. Jens Lekman "Waiting for Kirsten" from An Argument With Myself - Jens is in true form here, telling a cute, mostly funny story of waiting for love... with Kirsten Dunst. It's referential, intelligent and tongue in cheek, but always sincere.

24. Lana Del Rey "Video Games" from Lana Del Ray - We've all heard this song a lot. And while it may have reached critical mass in indie circles, it remains one of the best individual pieces of work for the year. It's haunting and honest, heartbreaking and powerful.

25. Feist "How Come You Never Go There" from Metals - Teamed with the great video that came out last month, Feist's return was made ever more triumphant with this instant classic. Leslie Feist is just so great, and this bouncing, understated track just highlights that fact.

26. theendisthebeginning "Tropics" from Tropics - This is what happens when the internet exists. I'd never have heard this band without it. And this full-figured track is the best of their album, but not by an incredible margin. They are worth checking out... but I think I've implied that.

27. Mikey Joseph O'Connor "(Not All) Pretty Blonde Girls are the God Damn Devil" from The Day I Stopped All This - Call me a homer if you wish. Mikey is part of the It's A Thing! podcast, but he also wrote a really, really, incredible song. This is that song.

28. Tom Waits "Kiss Me" from Bad As Me - The wolf with the jazzy clothing returned with one of his best albums ever. "Kiss Me" is the sweet, piano bar, nightclub, smoke-dripping, whiskey-soaked love song we all need a little bit of.

29. The Roots "I Remember" from Undun - One of this year's best albums, by far, came out at the end of the year and produced tons of great tracks. It was very difficult to choose one, but "I Remember" has some excellent vocals and a distinctly delicate feel that just seemed to fit as we close this list out.

30. Oddisee "Skipping Rocks" from Rock Creek Park - The last album I will have reviewed for 2011 features some of the greatest jazz/beat and rhyme work I've heard all year. That said, the mellow, contemplative, enjoyable and peaceful "Skipping Rocks" closes this out... because as much as you'll hate to see this playlist go, you'll love to hear it walk away.

That's it! There's your list. It's Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas, if that's your bag. If it's not, then may all your holidays, travels and quality times be great ones. May love and peace fill your heart. And may you dream of a new year full of possibilities. And if you don't have Spotify, you can find most of the complete list in a streaming grooveshark player... here.

No comments:

Post a Comment