Best of 2011 (Non-2011 Edition)

The following songs and albums were released prior to 2011, but despite this keeping them from my upcoming best songs and albums of 2011 lists, they deserve special recognition.  Songs aren’t featured if their album is, although I’ll usually feel inclined to mention it, like, say, Teddybears’ “Rocket Scientist.”  I could list many more songs (Yuck’s “Rubber” comes to mind), but I’m keeping it to my very favorites.  With albums, I either link to where you can listen on Spotify (get Spotify) or a place where you can download and listen.  With songs, I use Youtube.

Good News – Withered Hand

Released in the UK in 2009 and making its way stateside this year, Dan Willson’s heavily literate singer-songwriting is at its densest on “Religious Songs,” included here and also released in 2008.

Get out the Lotion – Low Cut Connie

Self-released at the tail end of 2010 and thusly fully recognized this year, this is an innocently vulgar collection of old-timey rock and roll.  Check out “Shit Shower n Shave.”

The Lonny Breaux Collection – Frank Ocean

Showing up on the internet in 2010, Frank Ocean’s 63-song (!!!) mixtape shows much of his pre-nostalgia,ULTRA. work.

Devil’s Music – Teddybears

“I’m not a rocket scientist/I rock the house and sign the tits/And that’s it.”  Released internationally in 2010 before hitting the states this year (with the tracklisting shuffled but no new songs, despite added features from B.o.B on “Get Mama a House” and Robyn on “Cardiac Arrest”), Teddybears’ sophomore effort Devil’s Music uses Black Eyed Peas pop tactics to rock harder than anything else out there, particularly on “Rocket Scientist.”

The Smile Sessions – The Beach Boys

The makings for what would finally materialize in 2004 as Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, The SMiLE Sessions was released in November, 2011 and perhaps serves as an alternative for those who want to hear Brian Wilson’s magnum opus sung by younger, fresher voices.

Funeral Dress II – Wussy

Released this year on Record Store Day, treat this as an alternative to Wussy’s utterly perfect 2005 debut, Funeral Dress.  The stripped down acoustic arrangements take out the power and emphasize the frailty Chuck and Lisa’s relationship and the playful, classic melodies that deserve to exist in eternity as standards.  This best serves “Crooked” and “Don’t Leave Just Now.”

“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

Though 21 was released in early 2011, this single, which made its mark stateside this year, was released in November 2010.  Perhaps the most celebrated and ubiquitous song of the year, Rick Rubin turns “Rolling in the Deep” into the howl immediately following a breakup that shatters a strong woman.

“Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj

Released on the deluxe edition of Pink Friday in November 2010 but released as a single this year, this is bubblegum hip hop, the kind so sweet that you need another stick right afterward.  Arguably the best radio hit to rock 2011.

“Weekend” – Smith Westerns

Released as 2011’s Dye It Blonde‘s first single in late 2010, “Weekend”‘s strong central sentiment (“weekends are never fun unless you’re around here, too”) is built on Beach Boys ‘ooooo’s, Marc Bolan vocals, and juicy guitar licks.

“Get Some” – Lykke Li

Wounded Rhymes dropped this year, but “Get Some” came last November as the peak of Lykke Li’s sense of pop, with a jungle beat supporting a vocal that, while usually tender elsewhere, sounds convincingly sexual here.

“Katy on a Mission” – Katy B

Released on 2011’s On a Mission, Katy B’s slightly avant dance music never quite got its formula as perfect as on this 2010 single.

“6 Foot 7 Foot” – Lil Wayne (Featuring Cory Gunz)

Sampling Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat)” song the way this does, “6 Foot 7 Foot” already justifies itself as a novelty, but Lil Wayne, who released this Tha Carter IV track last December, delivers his batshit punchline rap better than he would elsewhere in 2011: “Real G’s move in silence like lasagna.”

“Call Your Girlfriend” – Robyn

I recognized this last year with a mention, but 2011 found people noticing Robyn’s wonderful Body Talk a bit more, and she got to perform this wonderful song on Saturday Night Live.  Listen to that bridge where it sounds like her voice escapes her, floats up, and blows up, blindingly illuminating anything close.

“I Just Had Sex” – The Lonely Island

Released and appearing on Saturday Night Live last December, “I Just Had Sex,” with its spin on bragging of sexual conquest in hip hop and its all-together-now key change, had viral potential, The Lonely Island’s biggest (and that’s saying a lot!), the could only be comprehended in 2011.

Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 10:42 PM  Leave a Comment  

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