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RedEye's Top songs of 2011

December 13, 2011|RedEye

The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy"
This is gonna rock your balls off. Watch the video. Learn the moves. Impress your friends!

 St. Vincent, "Cruel"
 Annie Clark is going to sink her weird hooks her into your weird head and you're gonna like it.

Dirty Beaches, "Lord Knows Best"
I can't help but picture an angsty, tortured teenage Herman Munster sitting in his basement and crafting this haunting ballad for his beloved Lily Dracula.

The Hood Internet , "Go Hahahaha (Das Racist x Cults)"
Two of my favorite tracks of 2011 smashed together to create the perfect song of summer. The downside: I can no longer listen to either song on its own without feeling like something's missing. Thanks Hood Internet.

Vicky Rodriguez
Jai Paul, "BTSTU"
Powerful, brilliant beats that I played on repeat a million times.

Clams Casino, "I'm God"
Hello, Clams Casino, it's me, Margaret.

Craft Spells, "After the Moment"
Cheesy synth that melts your heart with nostalgia.

My Morning Jacket, "Circuital"
The perfect American road trip song.

Com Truise, "Slow Peels"
If Johnny 5 (from "Short Circuit") had a baby with rhythm, this is what it would sound like.

Sara Stewart
M83, "Midnight City"
Dream pop that makes me nostalgic for John Hughes movies and only gets better in the end with a saxophone solo.

Jay-Z and Kanye, "Otis"
Two mega-rich superstars get together and rap about how much money they have over an Otis Redding sample. That's so hip-hop.

Tennis, "Long Boat Pass"
A nautically romantic, low-fi pop song. So sweetly simple.

The Naked and Famous, "Girls Like You"
Electropop with an infectious chorus. The track builds up to a nice climax and shouts "How can you dance if no one was watching?" and then you pretty much have to dance.

Adele "Someone Like You"
You know that "SNL" skit where the people in the office turn on "Someone Like You" and just have a good cry? Yeah, it's that good.

Beyonce, "Countdown"
Couldn't take my eyes off the video.

Emily Van Zandt
EMA, "California"
This moody track seems straight out of a stream-of-consciousness diary rant. Completely exposed and completely relatable. Oh, and it must be said that Ms. Erika M. Anderson rocks live.

James Blake, "The Wilhelm Scream"
Whether you look at him as a producer who happens to sing or a singer who uses his voice to create some entrancing loops, James Blake has serious talent. "Wilhelm Scream," the second single off his album, is haunting and minimal, and a great introduction to his sound.

Brad Paisley, "Life's Railway To Heaven"
Ok, ok. So this song is about as stereotypically down-home as it gets. The track has been covered by everyone from Merle Haggard to Patsy Cline to Jonny Cash and I've heard it at my grandparents' country church more than I can count. It's gospel, it's folk ... it's a classic. Brad Paisley managed to do it justice, speeding it up a bit and adding some great harmony thanks to Sheryl Crow.

Beyonce, "Countdown"
Love song of the year right here, folks. For example: "Still love the way he talk/still love the way I sing/Still love way he rock them black diamonds in that chain/Still all up on each other/not a damn thing changed/My girls can't tell me nothin'/I'm gone in the brain." Add to this the fact that the song includes a Boyz II Men sample and that the Beyonce/Jay-Z relationship continues to be one of the top 10 reasons to get out of bed in the morning and you've got a track that you should probably just go turn on repeat. Now.

Sara Evans, "A Little Bit Stronger"
Call it a hometown bias (Evans grew up in a town just north of me in Missouri), but I was thrilled to see this country singer return after her last album was released in 2005. In an album of slow ballads about heartbreak--it is a country album, after all--"A Little Bit Stronger" shines as one of the better stories, and really showcases Evans' awesome voice. You can bet there's been more than one post-breakup sing-along of this track by girls this year.

Ernest Wilkins
The Lonely Island, "We're Back!"
Hilarious take on braggadocius rap with Jorma Taccone doing a pretty amazing DJ Khaled impression.

M83, "Midnight City"
Deep, mysterious, grooving. Also, chock-full of saxophone. That in itself is a win.

A$AP Rocky, "Purple Swag"/"Peso" (tie)
Is it rap fusion? Who cares? The Harlem rapper manages to take Houston-style screwed rap and make it sound like the style was originated in NYC. Stone-cold jams.

Foster the People, "Pumped Up Kicks"
Anyone who says otherwise is a doggone liar.

Get RedEye's Best songs of 2011 list on Spotify.

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