Yes, it’s that time of the year again. I start writing lists.
This one’s always fun, looking back at the songs I’ve most enjoyed that were released in the past year. In no particular order, here’s my favourite five.
Little Hell by City and Colour
This song has the honour of being the only 2011 release to have cracked the Top 25 Played in my iTunes list, with 55 plays in just 6 months (not counting when it’s come up on my iPod). It’s bittersweet, Dallas Green in full flight, and I can listen to it in any mood.
Glory Hallelujah by Frank Turner
Atheists finally have an anthem, and it sounds great. The video above is a double play, where he dovetails into an upbeat version of one of the most moving songs in recent music, ‘Long Live The Queen’. Bravo, Frank!
Eyes Wide Open by Gotye
It’s tough not to give this to the brilliant Somebody I Used To Know, which also has a phenomenal video clip. This song, though, drives along with good percussion and full use of Wally’s brilliant voice, and drew me into his great second album, Making Mirrors.
Bad As Me by Tom Waits
If you’re not familiar with Tom Waits, you’re probably a bit confused by the first 20 seconds of this. Listen to the lyrics, get seduced by the dirty brass, and hear my caveat: this is a nomination for the album Bad As Me as a whole. The three tracks comprising the outro, Last Leaf, Hell Broke Luce and New Year’s Eve, form one of the best endings to an album I’ve heard in a long time. Do yourself a favour and give it a listen: it’s not the most accessible music, but the second half of New Year’s Eve is a bit of musical genius and is the payoff for an album that rewards attention, not just easy listening.
Someone Like You by Adele
This song edged Gotye’s Somebody I Used To Know to make it to the list, with a similar sentiment and pace but an even more heart-wrenching story. I don’t normally go for ballads quite as slow as this, but I played this song live with a bunch of my course mates and it’s hard to go past for raw impact.
Musically, it was a strange year for me. There were a bunch of releases by bands I really like; City and Colour, Flogging Molly, Incubus, Rise Against, Thrice, Gotye and Frank Turner to name but a few. It was the solo artists that rose to the fore, with Incubus, Flogging Molly and Rise Against releasing stuff I’d call mediocre at best.
The success of Adele in the mainstream is a sign of hope for pop music, and I hope that in 2012 more real musicians, who write songs with meaning and perform them with talent, will see mainstream success. Of course, it doesn’t have to happen: there is so much music out there that it’s easy to find good new stuff all the time! What were your favourite songs of the year?