Well, you guys read my list of most “2011” songs of 2011 (if you didn’t, you can click here) but that list was not a “best of” or “worst of”. So I decided to do a best songs of 2011 post. Unlike the last post, this is only songs released in 2011, & it’s specifically excluding the one song from the previous post (Locust) that would have made this list. Bear in mind that this is just my list. If you disagree, you’re entitled to your opinion. I’m entitled to my FACT.
#5: Mr Saxobeat-Alexandra Stan
I view this song as, essentially, a sexier We Don’t Speak Americano. The highlight is the excellent use of the saxophone sample, which makes this unique amongst dance pop songs, without sacrificing the fun factor, or the natural sexiness of Ms. Stan’s vocals. In addition to this, it has what I’d call one of the better music videos of the year. Not the best (that honour belongs to Kina Grannis’ video for In Your Arms, a song that just missed this list) but it is a fun video that actually goes with the song & gives it a new, darker meaning. I like to imagine that Alexandra is actually Romania’s greatest supervillain, using her feminine wiles to escape and continue her reign of terror upon the unsuspecting country.
This year was a bit of a mixed bag for Canadian music. On the one hand, people like Drake, Avril Lavigne & Justin Bieber were financially successful while continuing the fine tradition of awful music representing Canada to the world (I swear we have better rappers than Drake! Listen to Cadence Weapon, K’Naan, k-os, Buck 65, Slangblossom & Kardinal Offishall if you don’t believe me) On the other hand, we saw the return of Sloan, Lights, Feist, and Fefe Dobson (my namesake, who I like to call Canada’s other, better Avril Lavigne) as well as some well-deserved recognition for some under-appreciated acts like 10 Second Epic, the Sheepdogs, Tokyo Police Club and of course, Arkells.
This song is a true rock song. Forget those poseurs from Foster the People, this is what rock sounds like. There’s a real sense of urgency to this song, which adds to the excitement one feels while listening. That urgency comes straight from the lead singer’s unique style of singing, which sounds simultaneously polished and rough. It also has a killer riff and a vague yet positive political message. On the off chance you don’t like this song right away, it will kick your ass into submission.
#3: Iconoclast-Symphony X
Symphony X did something that seems counter intuitive in this day and age. They released a progressive metal concept album that tells a long, complex story, in an era when people generally download the songs they know they like, and those songs ONLY. And they stuck to the concept, unlike approximately every concept album that isn’t just one big, long song. For that alone they deserve praise, at least for their ambition and guts.
I was going to review this whole album, but any review of the album would have to include a discussion of the concept, which is basically a robotic zombie apocalypse with transhumanism and religious symbolism thrown in, with a whole lot of religious criticism, and an overarching theme of how technology is evil (or, expressed mathematically, it’s (RZA+Tr+Rs*Rc)Luddism) It’s pretty hard to make an examination of that interesting.
The title track, however, manages to skip all the heady stuff and just rock out epically, with some beautiful stylistic flourishes along the way. This is an inspirational war anthem, and even though the war is fictional, you should be motivated by the chorus. I know I can’t hear it without feeling an irresistible urge to smite evildoers.
This song simply makes me happy. No other song this year has been able to do that as well as this song has. This is probably the best representation of falling in love that I’ve heard in a long time. She very accurately portrays what it feels like, and in a genuine way that Ke$ha or Katy Perry are simply incapable of. This is synth-pop done right. It’s quite depressing this song, and her album, didn’t burn up the charts this year. Buy her music, it will enrich your life. That’s really all there is to it.
#1: Someone Like You-Adele
I know everyone and their dog thinks Rolling In The Deep is Adele’s best song, but they’re wrong. If I made this a top 10 Rolling In The Deep might have hit #8 or #9 but this is the better song. She emotes so well here…you can actually feel her pain, and the hope that she really will find someone else. And really, who hasn’t had a situation like this, where the person you’re pursuing has found someone else? This is the mature response to that scenario, and for that alone this song deserves our love. There are far too many songs pining for someone who clearly doesn’t want the singer, or dissing the ex, so this is very refreshing. And god DAMN her voice is awesome. I have to admit that I almost shed a tear every time I hear this song. Of course, I only cry testosterone, not real tears. I’m too manly for that.
If I had to choose a worst song of 2011, it would probably be Deuces by Chris Brown, which has literally no redeeming factor…though bear in mind that I have heard nothing from the new Limp Bizkit album, quite on purpose.
Let’s hope that all the actually good songs become hits and the Chris Browns of the world get kept far, far away from the charts this year.