My Best Songs of 2011

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Alas, it’s the end of the year. The time when many “best of” lists are posted. Just like last year, I have utilized my handy dandy iTunes play count (and numerous Top 40/Top 100/Top 200-style auto-playlists) to formulate a list of songs I’ve downloaded this year that I’ve listened to constantly. To add to the fun, just for kicks I searched out the songs from 2010 in my Top 200 Most Played that didn’t make it onto last year’s Best Songs. They’re included in their own list below. As I noted last year, a few of these weren’t released this year…I just caught on to them within 2011. (In fact, this is true of more than a few entries on this list…this year I went old-school. Comparatively, anyhow.) Here they are…my top 23 songs of the year.

  1. No Cars Go — Arcade Fire (#7, 45 plays, added Apr. 15)
  2. How Come You Never Go There — Feist (#12, 42 plays, added Oct. 3) (check out my Song of the Day post on it here)
  3. Never Leave Your Heart Alone — Butterfly Boucher (#13, 41 plays, added Feb. 10) (also a past Song of the Day, found here)
  4. Cold War — Janelle Monáe (#19, 40 plays, added Apr. 25)
  5. Tú y Yo — Ximena Sariñana (#22, 39 plays, added Jan. 5) (yet another Song of the Day alum, its post is here)
  6. New York — Paloma Faith (#43, 35 plays, added Mar. 11)
  7. Crown of Love — Arcade Fire (#50, 33 plays, added Apr. 15)
  8. Queen of Hearts — Company of Thieves (#62, 32 plays, added May 17)
  9. Rebellion (Lies) — Arcade Fire (#83, 29 plays, added Apr. 15)
  10. Hoppípolla — Sigur Rós (#89, 29 plays, added Jul. 3) (these Songs of the Day are popping up like daisies on this list…find it here)
  11. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall — Coldplay (#92, 28 plays, added Jun. 3)
  12. Sophia — Laura Marling (#99, 28 plays, added Jul. 25)
  13. Stone Cold Sober — Paloma Faith (#102, 28 plays, added Jan. 2)
  14. Lippy Kids — Elbow (#110, 27 plays, added Mar. 11)
  15. Shake It Out — Florence + The Machine (#112, 27 plays, added Oct. 17)
  16. Young Love — Mystery Jets feat. Laura Marling (#122, 26 plays, added Aug. 21)
  17. Someone Like You — Adele (#124, 25 plays, added Feb. 20)
  18. Mixtape (with the BBC Heritage Orchestra) (Live) — Jamie Cullum (#132, 25 plays, added May 16)
  19. Rollerblades — Eliza Doolittle (#151, 23 plays, added Jan. 6)
  20. Tallulah — Company of Thieves (#173, 21 plays, added May 17)
  21. Love Is A Losing Game — Sachal Vasandani (#182, 21 plays, added Jun. 20)
  22. Avenue — Agnes Obel (#187, 20 plays, added Sep. 28)
  23. Cry Baby — Cee-Lo Green (#190, 20 plays, added Aug. 10) (subject of a Music Video of the Day earlier this year…watch it here)

An interesting note before I dive into the songs from last year that got left out of the 2010 list because they were late bloomers…”Mixtape,” a song that was no. 30 on last year’s post, found its way onto the “best of” list yet again in 2011, this time via an amazing live version he did with the BBC Heritage Orchestra during a BBC Proms performance. (I posted the video in my Artist Spotlight on him earlier this year.)

Now, the songs I downloaded in 2010 that grew on me enough this year to now be part of my Top 200 Most Played playlist on iTunes. There’s one group you may notice makes a strong showing…more on that in a minute.

  1. Bulldozer — Bess Rogers (#17, 40 plays, added 12/29/10) (Song of the Day post here)
  2. Deep Blue — Arcade Fire (#28, 37 plays, added 9/6/10)
  3. Rolling In The Deep — Adele (#35, 35 plays, added 12/4/10) (yep, I had it a YEAR ago…)
  4. We Used To Wait — Arcade Fire (#59, 32 plays, added 8/31/10)
  5. Under The Sheets — Ellie Goulding (#63, 32 plays, added 12/16/10)
  6. The Suburbs — Arcade Fire (#91, 28 plays, added 8/20/10)
  7. Niño Hojas — Natalia LaFourcade (#101, 28 plays, added 12/4/10)
  8. Wake Up — Arcade Fire (#125, 25 plays, added 10/28/10)
  9. Kaleidoscope Heart — Sara Bareilles (#142, 24 plays, added 9/6/10)
  10. Bluebird — Sara Bareilles (#143, 24 plays, added 9/6/10)
  11. Guns and Horses — Ellie Goulding (#152, 23 plays, added 12/16/10)
  12. Pocket Philosopher — Mandy Moore (#155, 23 plays, added 8/31/10)
  13. Ready To Start — Arcade Fire (#159, 22 plays, added 9/6/10)
  14. Scared of the Dark — Courtney Cotter (#160, 22 plays, added 6/27/10)
  15. Every Time You Go — Ellie Goulding (#161, 22 plays, added 12/16/10)
  16. I’m Not Calling You A Liar — Florence + The Machine (#162, 22 plays, added 10/14/10)
  17. Swimming — Florence + The Machine (#175, 21 plays, added 10/14/10)
  18. Machine Gun — Sara Bareilles (#183, 21 plays, added 9/6/10)
  19. Big Jumps — Emiliana Torrini (#196, 20 plays, added 7/19/10)

Could you spot which group I fell madly in love with this year? Perhaps this post back in April might help you out. Yep, 2011 was the Year of Arcade Fire for me. I had gotten their album “The Suburbs” back in the summer of 2010, and loved it, but didn’t pay too much attention to it (evidence: the fact that not a single Arcade Fire song made it onto last year’s Best of list)…that all changed when I went on impulse to see them in concert earlier this year, and afterwards I immediately bought every single one of their songs that I didn’t already own.  I’ve listened to them a heck of a lot since April, and it shows on my most played songs, for sure. Eight songs from the two lists above are by Arcade Fire. Other artists that make multiple appearances: on the 2011 list, Paloma Faith, Company of Thieves, and Laura Marling each have 2 (Laura’s second is as a featured artist); on the list with leftovers from last year, Ellie Goulding and Sara Bareilles appear 3 times, and Florence + The Machine appears twice (in addition to an appearance on the 2011 list). All in all, it’s been a fantastic past two years of music.

My end-of-2011 posting isn’t done yet. Stay tuned for not one, but TWO separate posts highlighting my favorite albums of 2011. (And I picked them all by myself. Take THAT, iTunes!) You’ll find some big tickets, but also some hidden gems, and a few unexpected choices. At least one post will be on its way tomorrow, hopefully two. (If not, Part II will go up New Year’s Eve at the latest.) I’m excited to share my album picks with you, and for now, thanks for stopping by, and see you again soon. 🙂

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