The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 200-151

There are quiet moments, but overall this year’s song countdown is crazy upbeat; you’ve gotta be an uptight jerk not to enjoy at least some of what’s here. For the most part, this collection of songs from 2011, while decidedly less diverse than in past years, still perfectly captures my mood and preference. I’ll be counting down until Friday – feel free to browse, listen, discover, disagree, etc. I’ll publish a Spotify playlist at the end with most of the tracks on there; the rest can be found via YouTube below and on subsequent posts.

200. Cults – Abducted

The opening track to Cults’ self-titled debut is the perfect summer song, a simple introduction to one of the most exciting emerging bands out there.

199. The Cars – Blue Tip

The original crew returned in 2011, and they sound pretty much like they did in the 80’s – which is a wonderful thing.

198. DJ Quik – Killer Dope

Quik’s acclaimed The Book of David has many standouts, but for me this was the highight, no contest.

197. White Denim – Street Joy

These Austin/Denton jammers are always a treat to see live; this year’s D was their most accessible work to date, and “Street Joy” shines brightest.

196. The Cool Kids – Bundle Up

Leading leaked track “Bundle Up” remains the best track the Chi-town duo dropped from the disappointing When Fish Ride Bicycles, an album full of good efforts, but few glorious ones.

195. Fucked Up – The Other Shoe

The epic punk opera David Comes to Life is one of the most ambitious albums of the year; this track is akin to the still-incredible Chemistry of Common Life track “Black Albino Bones.”

194. James Blake – Limit to Your Love

I’ve mentioned previously I was disappointed with Blake’s first long player, but this is one of the few highlights that shows the soulful potential this newcomer has.

193. Dom – Happy Birthday Party

Maybe the simplest song on my list, and certainly one of the most fun; just when you thought Dom couldn’t get any more party-starting, they give us this gem.

192. Jeff the Brotherhood – Diamond Way

The Nashville duo tried some new things on We Are the Champions this year; “Diamond Way” is an Cure-ish forray a bit more subdued than what we’re used to hearing.

191. Jamie Woon – Lady Luck

This guy was all the rage in the first quarter; by the summer, the hype was gone, but this soulful jam remains.

190. Rihanna – You da One

Her new album isn’t as sharp this time around, but “You da One” is yet another one to add to Rihanna’s list of irresistible singles.

189. I Break Horses – Hearts

Critics really slept on this band; this title track from their debut perfectly captures the project’s shoegazey spirit.

188. Battles – Ice Cream

Maybe not as memorable without Tyondai Braxton’s influence, but “Ice Cream” is still an upbeat return from this fantastic math rock troupe.

187. Gross Magic – We’re Awake Tonight

The EP cover may look like Saved By the Bell’s opening credits, but “We’re Awake Tonight” is more like a muffled, blurry college kegger.

186. Girls – Saying I Love You

Overall I wasn’t terribly impressed with Girls’ second go-around, but “Saying I Love You” is a sweet anti-romantic ode too good to pass up.

185. Cass McCombs – The Same Thing

McCombs had a prolific year, releasing two great albums. This first leaked track from the second, Humor Risk, like the rest of the disc, is more upbeat than anything he’s ever done.

184. Nicki Minaj – Super Bass

Whoever decided this wasn’t good enough to be included on the first pressing of Pink Friday probably feels pretty stupid nowadays. A sharp pop track and Minaj’s biggest hit to date.

183. Cold Cave – Villains of the Moon

Cold Cave have all but abandoned their New Order tendencies for more Peter Murphy leanings. A highlight hidden within the underrated Cherish the Light Years.

182. Death Cab For Cutie – You Are a Tourist

Maybe now that Gibbard is divorced, he’ll re-emerge as a heartbroken, brilliant indie songwriter like he used to be. This is the lone highlight from Codes and Keys.

181. Kendrick Lamar – Rigamortis

Lightning fast delivery, quick wit, sharp rhythm. Lamar establishes himself as the next great rapper. And the remix with Busta isn’t bad either.

180. EMA – Anteroom

One of the eerier tracks from the mood-shifting, challenging, excellent Past Life Martyred Saints.

179. The Lonely Island – Turtleneck and Chain

I tried, but I couldn’t resist. An entire rap about three things: turtlenecks, chains, and light beer. With Snoop Dogg. This year-end list isn’t taking itself too seriously.

178. Born Gold – Early Birthday

The closing track from a criminally overlooked band and album, the beautifully chaotic, splice-happy Bodysongs.

177. Coldplay – Paradise

Say what you will about the safe Mylo Xyloto, about this unchallenging band, about their divisive reputation, but there’s no denying these guys occasionally give us an instant pop classic.

176. Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Hype, record label manufacturing, and collagen might have tainted the future of this emerging viral star, but not the haunting mood of this song.

175. The Dodos – Black Night

The overlooked third album No Color is more akin to the great debut album Visiter – “Black Night” is great evidence of that.

174. Cheeseburger – Winner

The rowdy boys are back – took them long enough, in perfect slacker fashion. And thank god – they haven’t changed a bit.

173. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning

Grohl and Co. deliver their most aggressive, loudest, and finest album in years. This leading track gets things started off right.

172. The Go! Team – T.O.R.N.A.D.O.

With rumors this latest album might be their last, we must appreciate what we still have. This should do the trick – classic Go! Team style.

171. The Rapture – It Takes Time To Be a Man

The closer from the brilliant In the Grace of Your Love ends the album on a slower, but by no means softer, note.

170. Terius Nash – Wake Me When It’s Over

The-Dream gave us a mixtape worthy of proper release in 2011, and somber, personal tracks like “Wake Me When It’s Over” provide us with a new glimpse into the life of Mr. Nash.

169. Iceage – Broken Bone

These English noise machines have been the recipients of a plethora of acclaim for their progressive punk sound.

168. Youth Lagoon – Seventeen

A highlight from one the most melodic, subtle, and pleasurable albums of 2011.

167. Dum Dum Girls – There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Some cover versions are too good to pass up. Dum Dum Girls don’t change too much here, but still make it sound fresh.

166. SebastiAn – Embody

The long-overdue debut LP from this French house mixmaster delivered the sound Justice decided to abandon in 2011.

165. Ford & Lopatin – World of Regret

Perfectly embodying the spirit of the 80’s through precision sampling and splicing, Channel Pressure is an easy personal highlight from the past twelve months.

164. Florence and the Machine – Shake It Out

Not too crazy about the second album, but lead single “Shake It Out” has the same fervor and infectious melody as the breakout hit “Dog Days Are Over.”

163. The Decemberists – January Hymn

Back to making great albums, Colin Meloy and crew gave us a strong collection of new classics.

162. Big K.R.I.T. – Dreamin’

One of 2011’s most hyped rappers – this sample-based standout comes from the much-praised ReturnOf4Eva mixtape.

161. Wolf Gang – Dancing With the Devil

What happened to these guys? Another first-quarter band (actually last quarter of 2010) that disappeared from the blogosphere. Still, a great track here.

160. Primus – Jilly’s On Smack

The creepiest endeavor from the reunited alt-funk trio, taken from the fantastic comeback LP Green Naugahyde.

159. Black Lips – Modern Art

Black Lips return with one of the best albums they’ve made in years – “Modern Art” is a reminder of the sheer fun of that signature sound.

158. The Civil Wars – Poison & Wine

Quiet, emotional, and beautiful, a true highlight from the debut album from this Nashville duo.

157. Martin Solveig – Racer 21

The first showing from this European dance A-lister, an awesome instrumental from international hit album Smash.

156. Kendrick Lamar – Cloud 10

Here, Lamar raps along a wavering, almost a-melodic Nosaj Thing mix – the cadence keeps it all together.

155. The Black Keys – Gold On the Ceiling

They didn’t try many new things on El Camino, but why fix what isn’t broken? Turn this one up LOUD.

154. Class Actress – Keep You

A strong breakout Internet hit from newcomer Class Actress, whose electro pop turned heads this year.

153. Dominique Young Unique – Get Out My Shoes

She dropped two mixtapes this year – this one’s from the weaker one Glamorous Touch – this track is by no means weak, however.

152. The Big Pink – Stay Gold

The first single from the upcoming sophomore album from the Big Pink, reminiscent of breakthrough hit “Dominoes.”

151. Middle Brother – Daydreaming

The opening track from this Partisan Records supergroup, an album chock full of material better than anything Deer Tick came up with this year.

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