Here are ten songs I loved in 2011.
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, "Senator"
In a year of total political disfunction, the chorus of "I know what the senator wants/what the senator wants is a blowjob" was the greatest thing ever.
tUnE-yArDs, "Gangsta" Merril Garbus moved to Oakland right around the time Oscar Grant got killed, and saw the aftermath of that as well as Oakland's high black-on-black homicide rate. "Gangsta" is a reaction to that, with lines like "If you move into my neighborhood you'll never make a sound." Ironically, there are no black people in the terrible video she made for it.
Fucked Up, "Queen Of Hearts" I love this band, I love this album, I love this song. It manages to be both uplifting and tortured at the same time, and is surprisingly poetic underneath its harsh exterior. "All we needed was something to give/the dam is broken, we suddenly live."
Jessica Lee Mayfield, "Our Hearts Were Wrong" This album was world-weary, heartbroken roots music done with production by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. This song sums it all up. "I know how you work/I am just like you/No matter what you say our hearts are wrong."
Danny Brown, "30" Danny Brown sounds on the edge of losing switching between clowning and getting scary real as he raps about turning thirty over a drunken Skywlkr beat. "Came a long way from extension cords in the window/borrowing neighbor's power just to plug in the Nintendo"
TV On the Radio, "You" I was too sick to see them live. I asked my wife how the show was, and she said "noisy." I really wish I could have seen them play this live.
Spank Rock with Santigold, "Car Song" Way bitchin' 80s, yo.
Waters, "For the One" One half of Port O'Brien channels Neil Young and Kurt Cobain as Waters. I'm pretty sure drugs were involved in the making of the video.
My Morning Jacket, "Outta My System" I wasn't in love with this album, but this Beach Boys-ey song about getting your wild days out of your system stuck with me.
Has-Lo "Everything Is" This is a devastating song about doing the accounts on your life and realize you are coming up short.
"When your money ain’t right it seems like everything’s wrong
‘cause everything is
When your love ain’t life it feels like everything’s gone
‘cause everything is
And you search for it, and you hurt for it
And you promise each other you’ll work on it
And you might have to let it go free ‘cause it never was yours But that’s everything.
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