Obsessive List-Making

by Jon Frazier

It started in January, with just one song on the list. I told myself to wait, that I shouldn’t make a list until there were actually some songs to list. But I couldn’t resist the urge and started making a list anyway. Now we’re halfway through the year, and there are actually enough songs for a respectable list. So here it is, the 10 best songs of 2011 (so far).

Songs (in no particular order)

“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

This is that lone song that I placed at the beginning of the list in January. Adele may have a head start on other artists since her album dropped in January, but regardless, this song still sits at the top of the list and probably will a the end of the year too. (“Rolling” also gets my vote for best video of the year so far.)

“Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People

If “Rolling in the Deep” is the song of the year, “Pumped Up Kicks” is the song of the summer. Read my full review here.

“Don’t Get Stuck” by Delicate Steve

Wondervisions is one of the few albums already on my best of the year list. For those of you who didn’t read my full review of the album, Delicate Steve is a instrumental alternative rock band from New Jersey.  I could list two or three other Delicate Steve songs here, but I won’t. “Don’t Get Stuck” gets my pick.

“Sail” by Awolnation

This is one of those crank it up and forget your troubles rock songs that is really more a force of nature than a piece of music. Though the rest of the album, Megalithic Symphony, is uninspired, I haven’t heard the likes of “Sail” since “21st Century Breakdown” by Green Day.

“Changing” by The Airborne Toxic Event

A ballsy, catchy, alt-rock hit.

“Don’t Carry It All” by The Decemberists

The solid opening track off their 2011 album. I was never so glad to hear a harmonica.

“We Will All Be Changed” by Seryn

I discovered this song in my attempt to be sure this list was a well rounded one. I love the energy of the guitar part, and the whole piece blends really well. I’ll be checking out their album, This Is Where We Are, soon.

“Price Tag” by Jessie J

This spunky “pop bubblegum trash” ballad may not be one of the best songs of the year, but it certainly is one of the most memorable. Read more about “Price Tag” here.

“Civilian” by Wye Oak

A sultry, moody, folk-rock tune which somehow presents poise and wild energy at the same time.

“Galahad” by Josh Ritter

I can’t make a list that doesn’t include a Josh Ritter song, whether it fits the list or not. Fortunately, this one does. Released on his B-Sides, Demos and Remixes album, To The Yet Unknowing World, “Galahad” is a satirical little ditty about an angel who meets Sir Galahad on the quest for the Holy Grail and… well, just to listen to it.

And by the way, “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” by Noah and The Whale is STILL the worst song of the year. Find out why here.

It goes without saying that the albums that these songs feature on rock (even if only by association). I chose not to list albums, because I truthfully haven’t yet listened to enough full albums to create an accurate list. Also, you should know that my ten song limit is totally arbitrary, chosen simply because it’s a nice, manageable, round, even number. Readers should also be aware that this list is drawn from my eclectic tastes, and is in no way intended to be a comprehensive list. I would also recommend checking out NPR’s 25 Favorites of 2011 (so far) as a supplement.

If you have any corrections or additions, share your “Best So Far” picks in the comment section below.