Best Song of the Year

I dug a lot of music this year.  In fact, I’d say that, with the help of The Current, I listened to more music than news for the first year since college.  I think that Bon Iver’s new album is brilliant.  Courtney and I went to see Sharon van Etten twice (get a free song by her here). And, with apologies to Rick, I even like Mylo Xyloto (by the official band of the emergent church).

But my favorite song of the year is


Jane's Addiction plays Lollapalooza-Chile in 2011

Irresistible Force by Jane’s Addiction.

I don’t know what the song means, but I can’t stop playing it.

What was your favorite song in 2011?

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  • Carl

    Let There Be by Gungor.

    I listened to a lot of Bon Iver while reading for class, and quite a bit of No Church in the Wild (Kanye & Jay Z) while writing.

  • The Roots new “undun” is a great listen, but too new for me to make the call. This year I was mesmerized by Bon Iver, Gillian Welch’s “The Harrow and the Harvest,” Feist’s “Metals”, Paul Simmon’s “So Beautiful So What” (melody and lyrical masterpiece), and Rick turned me onto Sébastien Tellier. My love for Wilco goes way back and “The Whole Love” is worth anyone’s time (especially them that wrote Wilco off after YHF). But Fleet Foxes’ Album “Helplessness Blues” is my favorite with Robin’s voice soaring on the first half of “The Shrine/An Argument.” Thats got to be the song for 2011 for me.

  • Mark Van Steenwyk

    I second The Shrine/An Argument from “Helplessness Blues.” I’d also put “Heroes and Villains” from the new release of the Smile Sessions by the Beach Boys on the list.

    • Yeah, “Helplessness Blues” was a killer album!

  • Rick Bennett

    God No! Not Helpless Blues! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    When I publish my list is will be on as the most self consuously pretentious song of the year.

    I really, really, really tried to like that song. But, the lyrics make me want to go Dexter or final scene of season finale of Breaking Bad on a Gen Yer.

    OK. I’ll take my meds now.

    • rick bennet, you are the john hodgeman of the xian hipster interwebs

      • Rick Bennett

        I’ll take that as a compliment.

  • The concert of the year for me was U2. Hey, I’m old, ok? They’re still my favorite. And it was a fantastic show.

    But the songs I can’t stop listening to, both out loud and in my head, are:
    “Down by the Water” by The Decemberists, though I loved the whole album.
    “Shake it Out” by Florence & the Machine
    “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons (who, I imagine, is poised to become the next official band of the emergent church.)

  • Rick Bennett

    Just saw you were taking about another song from that insufferable band than the one that makes me homicidal. I’ll have to recheck to see if it causes my brain to explode like Helplessness Blues.

  • Rick Bennett


    I’m the designator of the official band and I can assure you Mumford and Sons will Never rise above #3. Right now, Arcade Fire is still in the top spot.

    • um, rick, how about ryan adams


      • Rick Bennett

        New album sucks. He would be in top 20, but not top 10.

    • Ah, yes. How could I forget about Arcade Fire?

      Where’s Rise Against on that list?

  • Rick Bennett

    Apples in the summer are gold and sweet.?

    An Argument is the best song I’ve heard from them. It actually has a beat, kinda (and the tiniest bit of actual oomph and energy). Then it suddenly stops. The Shrine reminds me of everything I hate about them.

    Just when te song starts getting good, the green apples crap comes back. By the way, don’t try know green apples suck for anything besides cooking?

    And explain why they are plucking on a sitar? I can now confirm I hate that song also.

  • I’m just glad Bon Jovi didn’t die. Whew!

  • BTW Tony, I like your choice. It’s an interesting song for a band that has been diving into the human experience for a long, long time. I was a huge Jane’s fan in college. Summertime Rolls is arguably my favorite song of all time.

  • Loney, dear´s new album Hall Music, especially “durmoll” and “Major D” (

    Check it out, sooner or later he will take over the States. He (the fellow swede Emil Svangängen) is on his way – I can tell you that!

  • I almost forgot – the nobel prize winner of this year wrote the lyrics of the song Major D!

  • Dan Hauge

    ‘My Country’ from Tune Yards (I refuse to do the precious caps) probably #1 for me. I’m also partial to Elbow’s ‘The Birds’. “Black Moon” on the new Wilco is pretty awesome. For full albums, I’m going with newer purchases: Atlas Sounds ‘Parallax’ and M83’s ‘Hurry Up We’re Dreaming’.

    • dan hauge, what a great great list

  • “Yonkers” by Tyler the Creator.

    I’m a fucking walking paradox . . . no I’m not!

  • first off, love love THE CURRENT, particularly MUSICHEADS. station is almost as good as KCRW

    fav 5 albums
    5. st. vincent, strange mercy
    4. decemberists, the king is dead
    3. james blake, james blake
    2. drake, take care
    1. my brightest diamond, all things will unwind

    fav 5 singles
    5. bon iver, i can’t make you love me/nick of time
    4. beyonce, countdown
    3. laura marling, the beast
    2. nicki mnaj, super bass
    1. paul simon, rewrite

    finally, an entire analysis could be written on the thesis that coldplay is the “official band” of the emerging church phenomenon. they certainly have the branding, the “edgy” clothes, the odd appropriation of countless other bands, even the strange celebrity connections.

    • Rick Bennett

      Maybe Emerging Church but not emergent. I already made emergent list a couple of years ago.

    • Dan Hauge

      Good album list–I’ll have to give the My Brightest Diamond another try–it didn’t blow me away the first time, but seems like one that needs a few listens.

  • Rick Bennett

    I’ll take that as a compliment. This is a strange year in which there is no obvious choice. Usually there is a song or two that stands above the rest for many people.

    That said, here are some nominees;

    Holocene by Bon Iver
    All in White by the Vaccines
    Civilian by Wye Oak
    Romance by Wild Flag
    Book of James by We Are Augustines
    The Honest Truth by Typhoon
    Bad As Me by Ton Waits
    Second Song by TV on the Radio
    Jesus Fever by Kurt Vile
    Down in the Valley by The Head and the Heart
    Black Musik by The Ghost of Tom Joad
    I Still Believe by Frank Turner
    Houdini by Foster the People
    Fire at the Pageant by The Felice Brothers
    Neat little Rows by Elbow
    Inside my Heart by Deigo Garcia
    Louder than Ever by Cold War Kids
    Little Black Submarines or Lonely Boy by Black Keys
    Hold On by Alabama Shakes
    Whirring or Austere by Joy Formidable
    Novacaine by Frank Ocean
    Bonfire by Childish Gambino

    I’ll probably go with Midnight City by M83

    Go ahead and make a spirit playlist of these songs.

    • childish gambino – a bold choice

      • Rick Bennett

        There’s no order to this list.

    • Midnight City is a good tune, thanks for the reminder.

      I’m surprised nothing from The Civil Wars made your list, Rick.

      • the more I listen to civil wars, the more cellophane I notice

        • I have…no idea what that means. The music clings to you? It’s see-through? It makes you look for something to suffocate yourself with? 😉

  • Rick Bennett

    Ryan Adams is great. This album sucks.

  • Rick Bennett

    I’ll go th Nicki. Was thinking last year, but song hit this year.

  • Always Gold – Radical Face

  • Lorinda Clausen

    Two albums:
    1) DeVotchKa “100 Lovers”
    2) The Head and the Heart