Monday, December 12, 2011


The Best of the Best Music of 2011

This year in music was the year of "Super Bass," The Voice, and Watch the Throne, about everyone getting worked up over Odd Future and Lana del Rey and kind of getting over Lady Gaga. Also, Foster the People. They were everywhere. Can you believe I have successfully avoided "Pumped Up Kicks" for this long? And this year, like every year, I tried to listen to All the Music, but ended up mostly listening to All the Pop Music. Here are some memorable moments.

Best Song I Heard All Year

Azealia Banks, "212"

Is it weird to say that I love the close-ups of her mouth? Because I love the close-ups of her mouth.

Best Song I Just Heard Yesterday

It's a tie!

Nite Jewel, "One Second of Love"

Nite Jewel is sounding kinda disco diva on this, and I like it.


Disclosure, "Tenderly"

Even with the jittery vocals-synth-percussion layers, this song is so smooooth.

Best Strut Song

Dominique Young Unique, "Hype Girl"

Walking to the bus stop in the morning on my way to work, I'm all hyped to make that paper.

Best Sound Effect Lyric in a Song


Best/Sickest Dance Jam

Al Azif feat. Gnucci Banana and Crossfire, "Sick in Head"

I'm getting outta control!!

Best Pitbull Appearance

Shakira feat. Pitbull, "Rabiosa"

This is also the only Pitbull appearance I'm not mad about.

Best Skins Fanfic Based on Actual Events

Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris, "We Found Love"


Best Song I Have Not Stopped Listening To Since I First Heard It

Grimes, "Vanessa"

I first heard this at a SXSW party, and I think it legit put me in a trance that I will never snap out of.

Best Time I Thought Shania Twain Was Back

Lady Gaga, "You and I"

You're still the one I want for life, Shania!

Best Weird Music

Shabazz Palaces, Black Up

It's like being in a wide open space in the dark and hearing noises but not knowing where they're coming from, and instead of being scared you're really relaxed.

Best Use of the Word "Hairpin"

Miranda Lambert, "Hurts to Think"

This is the bonus track on her latest album. There should be a bonus bonus track just about that hairpin.

Best Use of Xylophone

The Suzan, "Home"

This song always gives me a sugar high.

Best Piece of Pop Perfection

Icona Pop, "Manners"

I plan to sing this to anyone who ever tries to break up with me.

Best Song That Makes Me Think of Aslan

First Aid Kit, "The Lion's Roar"

They totally filmed this in Narnia.

Best Album That Made Me Get Over My (Mostly) Unfounded Hatred Toward a Teenager

Selena Gomez & The Scene, When The Sun Goes Down

There is only one bad song on this album, which is more than I can say for most albums.

Best Album That Makes Me Wish I Owned A Gun

Pistol Annies, Hell on Heels

It also makes me feel like a bad Texan for not already owning at least two.

Best Album to Fall Asleep To

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Because it's boring. But also pretty, I guess.

Best Dream Come True Collabo

Rye Rye (feat. Robyn), "Never Will Be Mine"

I almost cried when I found out about this.

Best Spooky Sexy Collabo

CREEP (feat. Nina Sky), "You"

It's like The Shining but kinda hot?

Best Song I Don't Understand All The Words To

Wonder Girls, "Be My Baby"

I love how the dance move for "please be my baby" looks like cradling a baby.

Best "Super Bass" Cover

Sophia Grace Brownlee

Princess Sophia knows she's fly.

Best Cover That's Better Than The Original

JoJo, "Marvin's Room"

JoJo murdered that track with just that one line.

Best Rhyming Skillz

Gloria Estefan, "Hotel Nacional"

She came up with three different rhymes for "hoochie coochie."

Best Moombahton Remix of a Gloria Estefan Classic

DJ Javier Estrada, "Conga" Remix

This makes it a slightly less exhausting song to dance to.

Best Mixtape That Was Technically Released in 2010 But Whatevs

M.I.A., Vicki Leekx Mixtape

Because it's about the Internet.

Best GIF From a Music Video

Blanca Méndez loves that song!

95 Comments / Post A Comment


I just heard "212" for the first time yesterday! I am mesmerized by how beautiful she is. Never change, Azealia Banks.


@mayonegg i wanted to do my hair like her! and i love her face!!!


@blahstudent and she is good at music too.


@blahstudent obsessed with her face!!!!


@marisajane Soooo obsessed with her face, and that song. Keep catching myself humming "What's your dick like homie / What are you into" on the train.


@mayonegg Great. Thanks to you, Bianca, I now have THE HUGEST crush on Azealia and will probably spend the rest of the evening internet-stalking her instead of studying economics. Thanks.


Thank god someone else noticed the Skins-iness of that Rihanna video! also this is the best of the best of lists by farrrrr.


"This is also the only Pitbull appearance I'm not mad about."



@klaus I'm never offended by any Pitbull appearance! More Pitbull in 2012! All Pitbull, all the time!


@emilylouise In Portland our "hip hop" radio station pretty much is all Pitbull all the time. :(


@emilylouise All Pitbull all the time! I think of him as a slightly pervy, yet benign uncle who always shows up at family gatherings, drinks too much and is first on the dancefloor. He's kind of embarrassing but you know he'd never do anything to harm anybody. Yep, me and Uncle Pitbull.


@klaus Then it's settled! @Decca and I are moving to Portland to rock it out with Uncle Pitbull forever.

(Yeah, I live in Seattle and our mainstream hip hop station is all Pitbull and whatnot, and I love it but I also love more legit stuff. We get good hip hop on KEXP though! If you don't know about it, check it out! You can stream online.)


@emilylouise I've recently started using turntable.fm for my hip hop fix, but I'll check that out too!

oh, george

@Decca that's better than any pretend uncle, even uncle jesse / uncle joey.


@emilylouise KEXP has introduced me to more of my very, very favorite musical acts than any other resource and I am forever so grateful to all of them all the time. <3

uff da

Best Weepy Beards of 2011: http://stormking.bandcamp.com/


@uff da Uh oh, goon alert

uff da

@Danzig! it's my boyfriend. i wish i didn't know what you were talking about.


@uff da Hey, at least he's not a Redditor. We don't bring total shame to the ones we love.

EP's good though, it's a hit over on yonder boards.

Edith Zimmerman

Also, I just downloaded Austra's Feel It Break, and it's one of the best start-to-finish albums of the year, no question.

Katie Heaney

@Edith Zimmerman YES SOOO GOOD


@Edith Zimmerman AGREED.


@liznieve (although they're not as awesome as you want them to be live, which is super disappointing)

Kelly McClure@facebook

@Edith Zimmerman Testify! Her pre-Austra solo stuff is even better.



I really like this but have not heard of it. Can we start telling me music critics I should be reading to try to find new stuff? I'm far too lazy to just listen to everything (and don't have the time) but as I mention downthread, I am finally trying to get back into new music and it's way more exhausting than 20 year old me thought it was.


@liznieve Really? I saw her live and was really amazed. I thought it was awesome.


@Edith Zimmerman DEFINITELY some of my favorite lyrics of 2011 too, I hope I don't get drunk and say "I WANT YOUR BLOOD, I WANT IT IN MY HAIR"..because that would be terrifying! Seriously though, queer canadian music for all the points.



lol YES (and I normally don't type like that). I similarly hope I don't wake up sober and say "I came so hard in your mouth. I saw the future."


@leon.saintjean Seconded... where do you ladies hear of good new music, other than the Hairpin (which I really do rely on for that)?


@bunB Friends on Facebook, a lot of the time. NPR's First Listen is great, you can stream entire songs on their website. I like that Spotify will suggest bands if you search one, though most of them are bands I already know. Sometimes Pitchfork, though I have trouble keeping up with them. I'd say that this year, some friends and NPR have been my best bet.


@rocknrollunicorn Thank you! I can't have Spotify at work, so I'm like light-years behind. :( But I'll definitely start with NPR!


@bunB You're welcome! (And I meant albums -- you can stream whole albums -- on the NPR first listen. Also, they had a good year-end list last year.)


Can someone make a Spotify playlist of this? Pretty please?


Yay I love these music posts, and I love end-of-year lists, and I am in one of those need-music-to-work moods. Perfect.


I...don't think I've heard a single one of these songs. Not that I've ever really been in step with the rest of the world as far as music goes, but I--I feel so out of touch! I will submit Zoe Boekbinder as an amazing musician who released a new album this year. LISTEN TO HER LOVE HER AHHHH (I have a huge crush on her, if you can't tell. Even with the new mushroom cut.)


@figwiggin WHOA my band just played with her 2 days ago!


@ranran 1) YOU PLAYED WITH HER??? So jealous! I've seen her a couple times (solo and with Vermillion Lies) and she makes my heart twang. 2) YOU HAVE A BAND??? Link to your music, please! And let me know if you come to play in northern CA, I will ENTIRELY come see you!


@figwiggin I'm glad I'm not the only one! Here's my own rec, a lovely lady I saw at SXSW this year, Rachel Sermanni. Plus my favorite song of 2011, from Red Kite (ex-Cooper Temple Clause), which is also free for download - Montreal.


@figwiggin Yes, she was so charming! I felt bad because the other acts were all these solo women with beautiful voices (Elaine Greer was also entirely enchanting!) and then we were just....loud. But if you wanna hear us anyway, here you go!


@figwiggin Me either. I haven't heard any of the music, read any of the books or seen any of the movies. All my new music of this year is old music! Oh, except the grates, who I will plug because they are AMAZING and so fucking good live. http://thegrates.com/music/secretrituals1/ I recommend 'Change' from that albumn. I went to the concert without having heard the new album, and I instantly loved that song.

Katie Heaney

AND ONE MORE and I've hyped (?) this album up and down the internet but seriously, The Jezabels' debut album "Prisoner" is phenomenal and perfect.


@Katie Heaney Yes! I saw them open for Hey Rosetta! a couple of weeks ago and they had me absolutely captivated the entire time.


@Katie Heaney omggggg yes, love The Jezabels so much (I might have had Endless Summer and Horsehead on repeat for much of the last week).


YES AZAELIA BANKS. I just wanna walk around singing "Imma ruin you cunt" but obv can't. Thanks, society.


2011 was the year that made me feel old and out of touch for the first time ever. Lana del Rey? Okay, if you say so. Odd Future. No, fuck those assholes. I don't even want to talk about Bon Iver anymore. Hurumph! Stuff my grumpy old ass liked:
Cults - Abductded
Wilco - I Might/Art of Almost
St Vincent - Surgeon
Wild Flag - Romance
Real Estate - Days
The Jayhawks - Pouring Rain at Dawn
Fucked Up - the whole David Comes to Life album
I feel even older after that list. Oh well.


@parallel-lines - Wait, is that list supposed to make someone feel old? I have been ignoring contemporary music since college ended, but thanks to Spotify, this is the year I started reading Pitchfork and listening to new music....

..and your best of 2011 list shares a LOT of commonalities with mine. Except I didn't go to the Fucked Up / Titus Andronicus show 3 BLOCKS FROM MY HOUSE because it was on a monday and I "FELT SLEEPY"!?!?!?! Except, that list makes me feel like this is the first year in forever I DON'T feel old about my music (which prior to this year, was mostly me listening to 90s hip-hop and 60s soul).

I think it's time to just accept the fact that if I will never be having sex in a dorm room again.


@leon.saintjean I mostly feel old because whenever stuff gets hyped I'm immediately like "meh" rather than "oh, what's that?". And that was a good show!


@parallel-lines This is a good list! That Fucked Up album is bonkers good. I will add Phantogram's mini-LP Nightlife and everything by 2:54.


@parallel-lines Me too. I've only bought one album this year (Adele). I even went to two music festivals, but I find now I'm just listening to the same old things.

social theory

this. was. awesome. thanks so much for turning my day around!

Cat named Virtute

Ahhhhh, I know almost none of these. ugh, my music-listening habits have gotten so parochial. Excited about that Pistol Annies song--listening to Neko Case often makes me feel like I want to own a gun in a way I secretly super like.


Shakira looks SO good with the short brown hair!

That ra-ta-ta is my favorite thing that's happened to me today, also.


The best 2011 album I've heard, by far, is Leather Leather by Video. (Title track)
The only other albums I really liked, and feel I can be pretty much objective about, are Growing Over by Sex Church and Rank Xerox's self-titled LP.

Live, I feel privileged to live in a town where I get to see bands like the Flesh Lights, OBN IIIs, Grape St, and James Arthur's Manhunt on a regular basis.

Opinions! These are mine.


That GIF makes me so happy.

The first time I heard that song, I was driving home from an epic two-hour each way road trip to ikea with my roommate and couldn't comprehend anything, let alone that Biebs was part of the song. I was convinced that it was just my roomie singing along and defiling my Mariah. I have yet to recover from the experience.


Uhhhh totally second that the Selena Gomez album is the jam. Curious which song is the bad one for you? My vote is "That's More Like It"...

Blanca Méndez

@La-la I can't get into "Outlaw."


I haven't gotten through all of them yet, but can we talk about the perfection that is Beyonce's cat eyes in that video? AND HOW DO I GET THEM!?


But why avoid Pumped Up Kicks? That song is awesome. Better than the Selena song.


@maevemealone I remember the first time I heard the song, I thought, "This sounds like it was made to be in a commercial," and then I read the guy used to write jingles for commercials and it made sense.


@parallel-lines Meh. If I'm going to play snob, it's going to be holding out to No on Disney kids and yes to guys who got paid to make catchy tunes before making their own catchy music. Heck, I catch myself singing along to the lottery commercial, so whatevs.


@maevemealone For me, the lyrics turn me off. Are they meant to be ironic or something? I just don't want to sing along to a song about shooting people over shoes. Am I missing something? (It's totally possible.) And I guess it's catchy but in a way that feels shallow, somehow. Though I often walk around singing jingles, myself.

sarah girl

@rocknrollunicorn Yeah, the lyrics (once I actually read them online because you can't understand a damn word the guy is mumbling) really upset me, especially with heightened sensitivities about school shootings and such these days. I also just think it's aaaaaawful; it feels lazy and weird, like it was tailor-made to play in the background while hipsters-who-wish-they-were-hippies dance around stoned. Right?


@Sarah H. That's pretty much precisely how I feel about it. I think there are instances where poppy music serves to underscore more serious lyrics, but I don't really think this is one of them. It feels like a failed attempt to be cool and relevant, or something.


@Sarah H. The first time I heard it, before I read the lyrics, I envisioned a bunch of trippy animated scenes of bears strutting through forests. It was late and I was driving.


If CREEP ever score a hit, it'll be too soon. Witch House I'm moderately annoyed by, but "rapegaze"? Kill it with fire.

Also best mixtape is this! http://www.factmag.com/2011/10/24/fact-mix-294-t-williams/


My absolute favourite song of the year, pipping Azealia Banks and Gotye and Beyonce, is The Rapture's "How Deep Is Your Love" (not a Bee Gees cover). Remember The Rapture the first time around? "House of Jealous Lovers" and all that claptrap? Yeah, that was fine. But "How Deep Is Your Love" is massive. It's mega. It's piano and disco and stomp-y and gospel-y. I was going through some romantic ersgh earlier on during the year and this was the soundtrack to all that. It's what I want to get out of Robyn's music but never have been able to: disco heartbreak. I fucking love this song and am ridiculously zealous about it. Preach!


@Decca Music twins! First Pitbull and now The Rapture. I love this track. Does it kind of remind you of the Thong Song in parts, though? Is it just me and my weird fondness for Sisqo?


@emilylouise I don't know if we can be psychic twins after you made me remember that The Thong Song is a thing...but HOLY SHIT you are correct! The similarity occurs in the "Let me see that thong" Vs "Let me hear that song". Oh lord.


@Decca Riiiiight?! It's so similar! Sorry I had to remind you of the Thong Song. Sisqo is still making a living off that, btw. I was at a pool party in Vegas this summer and he made an "appearance" to "perform" it. Then he hosted a booty shaking contest. 11 years later and still going strong. Beat that, The Rapture.

(jk, I love you, The Rapture.)


@emilylouise He was on the series UK Celebrity Big Brother that I got inexplicably hooked on a few years ago and I was kind of fond of him on that! (That year also had Lady Sovereign in the house, whom I legitimately love.)

Katie Scarlett

@Decca I recently had the urge to download Lady Sovereign's "Love Me or Hate Me" but whenever I listen to it in public I turn the volume way down just in case someone hears the song through my headphones. Don't want to ruin my cool rep. (I don't have a cool rep).


My favorite find this year is Widowspeak. I'm not cool; I googled lyrics heard from episodes of Revenge and American Horror Story. Their song "Harsh Realm" should be listened to. Embedding links = I'm too dumb, so search it on Youtube if you so desire.


I have to shout out Kimbra. Obsessed with her and her videos, and I feel like she's not getting enough American love. I wish her full album was available here- alas, only in Australia.


@bunB And if I knew how to insert a link to her YouTube channel, I would.


@bunB YES. I have had 'Settle Down' stuck in my head all morning. Aside: I kind of wish my name was Nebraska Jones. The greatest. And the film clip for that is super amazing and should be watched over and over by everyone. Especially me. Those kids are so creepy and amazing.

Is the albumn not available on US itunes?? Channel is here.


@Craftastrophies Only a little EP was released here- I've had to get the rest of her Australian album in bits and pieces. More Kimbra and creepy-amazing kids!!

You'll be sorry Jo March

I've been trying to listen to French music to keep up my French outside of school, and thusly I found one of my very favorite artists this year! Yelle. Her music is super fun and catchy and good, and her music videos are funny and she's so very likeable. Look for "Que veux-tu" or "Ce jeu" or "C'est pas une vie" on youtube. I also really like L; her song "Jalouse" is amazing.


@You'll be sorry Jo March Oui, je suis d'accord! "Safari Disco Club" is another good one. "Les animaux danse dans la safari disco..."


@You'll be sorry Jo March

I was living in France right after "A Cause Des Garcons" came out and I kept seeing a million dudes doing Tecktonik dance moves in the subway stations or wherever, it was so adorable and I fell in love with them every time. Man, I totally forgot about Tecktonik. Watching that video just reminded me how neat it was to watch irl.

Also, if you're into contemporary French ladies making interesting music you should listen to Camille's Le Fil. It's soooo good. I attribute 1/3 of my fluency in French to my obsessive singing along with "Ta Douleur".


@You'll be sorry Jo March Have you heard of Coeur de pirate? She's a Quebecoise artist who released her second album earlier this year and is, IMHO, quite excellent, especially Saint-Laurant, Cap Diamant, and Verseau.

You'll be sorry Jo March

@Decca That one is my husband's favorite! :)
@Diana I've only heard "Ta douleur" from Camille, but I'll make sure to check the rest of her stuff out.
@vapur I hadn't heard of her, but I'm listening to her on youtube right now and she is amazing!
I wish we had some sort of hairpin French-speaking club? Because right now the only French practice I get is listening to French music and translating little bits of Villette for my husband.


@You'll be sorry Jo March I love Coeur de Pirate! The other Quebecois singer who I am super into right now is Andrea Lindsay. I don't speak a word of French (I got through two weeks of the first semester of French in college before dropping the class), but French music is super relaxing to me for some reason.


Best Facial Expressions In A Video:

That Jennifer Lopez song. You know the one I mean. I'm not bothered to look it up, but my memories are fond.


I assume the JoJo line you're mentioning is the OH DAAAMN moment at 1:14.

Also, bless you for giving credit to BOOF, BOOF where credit is due.


I love how the Wonder Girls song briefly turns into an MIA song around 2:29. My favorite music that I can't understand is by 2NE1, though.

Katie Scarlett


(And this list was so great because a lot of it is new to me. The Shakira one, 212, and that Suzans song are gettin' downloaded, post haste!)


Good list! Although I can't find them all on Spotify- there's weird karaoke versions of Rabiosa?
My favourite album this year is Virtue by Emmy the Great. Especially A Woman, A Woman, A Century of Sleep. And I saw her live and she did a Weezer cover, which only made me more enamoured.

Wesley Morgan Paraham@facebook

No tUnE-yArDs? Seriously? C'mon.


jenny troy@twitter

My friend often said life is lack of passion till he met a cutest girl Angel on --CasualLoving dot c'0m--. It's where for men and women looking for intimate encounters.

It's a first and safe place for people who wanna to start a short-term relationship....no bounds or limits in front of true love.


So I'm not the only one that was reminded of Skins when I saw the We Found Love video!!!!!!


I was watching all these clips and reminiscing my 2011 while enjoying fabulous music... indeed, there is nothing impossible for a good artist with free picture editor download

Deejay Trinity@facebook

This year in music was the year of "Super Bass," The Voice, and Watch the Throne, about everyone getting worked up over Odd Future and Lana del Rey and kind of getting over Lady Gaga. Also, Foster the People. They were everywhere. Can you believe I have successfully avoided "Pumped Up Kicks" for this long? And this year, like every year, I tried to listen to All the Music, but ended up mostly listening to All the new songs 2015Popular Music.

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