Brett’s Top 10 Songs of 2011
10. Ducktails – “Killin’ The Vibe”
Real Estate guitarist Mathew Mondanile III dropped his side project Arcade Dynamics in the early hours of 2011. “Killin’ the Vibe” was a direct challenge to all musicians to continue to create and avoid the static. The rich tune of repetition coupled with a gripping guitar lick has stuck with me for 12 easy months. You are a brave one Mr. Ducktails and I am glad that I could soar through the year on your wings. These 12 months have caused me to sit a while and embrace his message. I am glad I still continue to smile.
9. Gotye – “Somebody That I Used To Know”
The introduction to this man from the land down under was courtesy of my favorite interactive platform of 2011, Turntable.fm. My trigger finger swelled as I heard this song. An easy awesome, every time. The second verse featuring Kimbra causes euphoria each and every time she hangs from her high register. This duo adds a unifying message to those who have experienced break-up, and it is my prediction that this song will resonate with all Thought on Tracks readers.
8. SBTRKT – “Wildfire”
London, producer / musician, Aaron Jerome has struck DJ gold with “Wildfire.” His selection of up and coming indie songstress, Little Dragon proves not only relevant, but relaxing. “Wildfire” pulls from all my favorites: sweet female voice with rhythm and blues tendencies, funky bass lines, and enough HQ to make my head explode. I will continue to vibe out to “Wildfire” as it is a substantial addition to my favorite songs of 2011.
7. Hooray for Earth – “No Love”
During a brief chat at White Rabbit Cabaret in Indianapolis, lead singer, Noel Heroux attempted to explain the meaning of this song. He came up with no answers. “It just came together, I am not really sure what it means.” This moment instantly made me love this track even more. An absent meaning that surrounds itself by a blanket of sense. A warm, unprepared presentation that resonates with the judges. This tune will always remind me of having my windows down and heading to the boat. No direction, who cares? Sweet summer, no love is what I need.
6. Cold Cave – “Confetti”
New Order and Joy Division are two of my favorite groups of all-time, but new versions of their have been absent in my indie buzz band scene. Enter Cold Cave with their howling, drum thumping, synth based, goth-pop resurrection of “Confetti.” This song brings out the best in me. Substituting my thought from a head bang always proves self-satisfaction. Seeing this song live at Pitchfork this summer made me completely understand that it owned a special place in the deep, dark bowels of my musical dungeon.
5. M83 – “Midnight City”
This song is M83’s finest moment. It was as if all that Anthony Gonzalez had set out to create culminated with this song. I waited by my computer for this song to be released and have held on to this ride in the dark ever since. This song is the perfect mix of shade mixed with the bright lights of an astounding chorus. I had no hesitations giving Pitchfork a standing ovation for naming “Midnight City” song of the year. Yes, I will admit it, the city is now officially my church.
4. Yuck – “Get Away”
Yuck had the best year for a band that I had no clue about going into 2011 and it started with “Get Away.” This song is not only stunning, but also meaningful in so many ways. Here was a band paying homage to indie rock forefathers Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. so brilliantly. I am still unsure if I like the lyrics or the guitars more. Does it matter? Hardly, this is classic indie rock and roll.
3. Girls – “Alex”
This song is about a girl that I want to marry. She has black hair, blue eyes, plays in a band, and has a boyfriend. This song is about the perfect woman that is stuck with an undeserving, under appreciating slouch. We have all been through this, but this time I am glad Girls has written us all a handbook on how to capture the flag.
2. Bon Iver – “Towers”
“Towers” is never referenced as a top track on the masterpiece that Justin Vernon created for us all this year, but it should be. To me, this song is about overcoming the obstacles that we all face when dealing with a new relationship. It is so beautifully spelled out: destruction is the message. Can we ever really understand how to break down these “Towers” that hinder the pursuit of honesty? Probably not, but at least this is an anthem for someone else who is trying.
1. Real Estate – “It’s Real”
This is one of my favorite songs of the past decade. This song makes me want to put on my headphones, exit my apartment, and explore. From walking on decomposing leaves to skating on a frozen seas, Real Estate told me to leave the building, regardless, of the elements. With their album Days and especially this song, Real Estate has paved a permanent path for themselves in 2011 and beyond. “It’s Real” was an introduction to captivating excellence. This song is a testament that musicians do not to need to get overly complicated with their sound and lyrics to win. The key here is a mix of simplicity with a theme for time. As the seasons change, “It’s Real” will remain.
Written by Brett McGrath