For those of you who know me, you know I don't really do "favorites," so coming up with this list was a challenge. And, aside from the top three, these are in no particular order. It took me weeks just to narrow down the 55 songs I acquired this year to 10; who knows how long it would have taken to put them in order!
A few observations:
1. I really liked lyrics this year. I'll mention some of my favorite ones.
2. Overall, my favorite songs this year were not the most popular ones.
3. I was given Mumford and Sons' Sigh No More this year, and even though it was released in 2010, I really discovered them this year. And, to be fair, their songs didn't peak in the US until February 2011. Half of this list could've been Mumford and Sons, but I limited it for the sake of diversity. Although it's probably my favorite, I excluded "Little Lion Man," as, according to iTunes, I purchased it in 2010. If you haven't checked them out, you should. Sort of Irish/folk rock with interesting rhythms and manic guitar with really intelligent, creative lyrics. When the guitar gets going, it makes me want to turn up the volume and drive fast with the windows down.
So anyway, in no particular order:
10. "Helplessness Blues," Fleet Foxes
I downloaded the whole album, Helplessness Blues, and it's great for work-listening, but this is really the standout. Love these lyrics:
"If I know only one thing, it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?"
9. "Falling Slowly," The Swell Season
So, apparently this song came out in 2007 and appeared in the film Once; however, Pandora did not introduce me to it until this year. Okay, I also did not start using Pandora until this year. But anyway. So there.
8. "Someone Else's Life," Joshua Radin
Also from Pandora, also released in 2007. I wonder if Pandora has made note that I "thumbs up" songs from 2007? I also like another one of his songs "Only You" with Imogen Heap; the thing is, these two songs are almost identical, and that kind of annoys me.
7. "Zorbing," Stornaway
What the heck is zorbing? I don't know, but there are some nice harmonies in the song.
6. "Sigh No More," Mumford and Sons
These are the lyrics I love from this song:
"Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free.
Be more like the man you were made to be"
If I had heard this song before our wedding, I might have included these words as part of our ceremony, or at least on our program.
5. "The Cave," Mumford and Sons
This is probably the second most-commonly heard Mumford and Sons song, so, why not make it the second Mumford and Sons song on my countdown?
4. "Anna Sun," Walk the Moon
I don't know what it is about this song - maybe it's the hopefulness, the building, something. Also, for awhile I thought the song was "Alison," so I thought it would be an awesome theme song for my friend Alison if her life turned into a romantic comedy. So, sorry, Alison - maybe we can just use our imaginations. It really does sound like "Alison."
Ok, now these top three are truly my top three, although I will admit that the order of the three might depend on what kind of mood I'm in. Today:
3. "Gravity," Sara Bareilles
I can't get enough of this song. Who hasn't felt this way? And although it isn't obviously a jazz number, listen closely to the timing of the lyrics - they're a little unpredictable. Just a beautiful, heart-wrenching song, and I love the build near the end.
2. "Forget You," Cee Lo Green
Yes, yes, I know. This is not the original version. But it is the version I downloaded because I listen to iTunes at work and when parents come to visit, and I think it's just about as fun. This is probably the most "popular" song on my list. Who doesn't want to dance when they here this?
And if you haven't seen the girl who performs the original, uncensored version for her sign language final, you should check it out. This girl has some guts! Be aware, this is NOT safe for work, small children, and other folks with sensitive ears.
1. "Shake It Out," Florence + the Machine
I think it starts a little 80s, like she's going start singing about nearly 100 balloons or something, but I love the way it builds up. And it has the best advice of 2011:
"And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back,
So shake him off!"
So, in 2012:
- "Remember, what good is it to sing helplessness blues?"
- "Love; it will not betray you dismay or enslave you, it will set you free."
- Shake that devil off your back and DANCE!
What were YOUR favorite songs of 2011?