We can't possibly argue over what is obviously the best music we heard in 2011. Wait, yes we can. RedEye's Sound Board, made up of 10 staff members who fancy themselves to be music connoisseurs, has named their picks for the year's best albums and songs. Fans of Cults and Adele, you will enjoy the song list.
Phantogram, "Don't Move"
An upbeat alternative to last year's "Mouthful of Diamonds." A must for strutting down Michigan Ave.
Little Dragon, "Please Turn"
Vibey synth sounds and a great dance solo.
Metronomy, "The Look"
Catchy lyrics/song by an always-groovy group.
The Kills, "Future Starts Slow"
This duo brings catchy lyrics and rock out factor. About as punk rock as I get.
Future Islands, "On the Water"
Great, stirringly unique voice. The band's Tiny Desk Concert version on NPR is must.
Foster the People, "Call It What You Want"
After getting over the allure of "Pumped Up Kicks"--aka becoming absolutely annoyed with it--it was pretty clear this snappy, percussive track is the group's best work.
Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"
Though it was a toss-up between this and Adele's "Someone Like You," I went with the up-tempo one that "started a fire in my heart" instead of the one that turns me into a sobface while walking along the Chicago River.
Drake feat. Nicki Minaj, "Make Me Proud"
Nicki Minaj may be a serious disappointment on anything she does solo, but pair her up with a king like Drake on a sexy track praising his lady friend and I'm hooked.
The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy"
It does kind of suck that your dad was, in fact, always right about fundamental "classic rock," but he doesn't need to know that. Good luck getting the chant-worthy "Ohhh-whoa-oh-oh" chorus out of your head anytime soon.
The Joy Formidable, "Whirring"
Ringing in at a whopping near-seven minutes--four of which are spent building an explosively climactic instrumental breakdown--this drum-heavy anthem doesn't waste a second of it. All tension, all heart, always a favorite.
Adele, "Rollin' in the Deep"
That voice. That melody. That pain. Adele is in a class all her own, with an emphasis on class. This song is so good, it's the best in several years.
Katy Perry, "The One That Got Away"
There's a reason every single off "Teenage Dream" has gone Top 10. They're all catchy, irresistible, harmless fun. This one's almost poignant.
Foster the People, "Pumped Up Kicks"
If you haven't noticed, I'm a sucker for songs that get stuck in your head like a bad cold, like this one. But, honestly, I couldn't listen to a whole album of this.
Jane's Addiction: "Irresistible Force"
It's all about the chorus of this spacey tune.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie"
Like Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles before them, the Peppers have perfected their brand of smooth, Southern California rock and infused it with funk. Each of the band's albums has one of these easy-on-the-ears singles.
Tell me that you don't enjoy bopping around to this song and/or staging your own hair-whipping dances. I know it's not just me.
What can I say? I'm a huge sucker for slow, sad Radiohead songs, in the tradition of "House of Cards" off "In Rainbows." "The King of Limbs" certainly isn't my favorite work of Thom Yorke's crew, but it's no slouch.
Wye Oak, "Holy Holy"
My favorite track so far off an album that's quickly become one of my favorites of the year. Singer Jenn Wasner sounds like Florence Welch's bookish sister breaking out of her shell on a dreamy afternoon.
Florence and the Machine, "Shake It Out"
Speaking of the flame-haired chanteuse, Florence may have been overshadowed this year in the ballad-belting category by a certain Brit, but this hopeful tune backed by her rolling, powerful voice knows that everything's going to be alright.
Library Voices, "Generation Handclap"
Well-crafted and lyrically clever and blah blah blah. It's simply the catchiest pop song of the year.
Florence and the Machine, "Shake It Out"
A song so cathartically beautiful I wonder how many times I could listen to it in one day and still feel elevated. Florence Welch, wanna come perform it for me live and test the theory?
Adele, "Someone Like You"
The "SNL" skit in which this song brought everyone to tears said it all: This is just a gorgeous, undeniable song, powerfully written and sung with every ounce of emotion humanly possible.
Atmosphere, "She's Enough"
On a mostly understated album, the first single (and lone party-starter) was an excellent encapsulation of Slug's long-established sense of humor and increasing maturity, which has mostly made recent material intimately spare and darkly meaningful. Romantic commitment, Minneapolis hip-hop-style.
Adele, "Someone Like You (Live Acoustic)"
I know this song is already a punchline but it really does capture that feeling of the end of happy hour. Devastating.