Heycoolkid!’s 100 Best Songs Of 2011 (1-10)
So it’s down to the 10 best songs of 2011. Here is what made life better, got me through tough times, made me nostalgic, got me to think optimistically, and at the end of the day helped it all make sense.
10.Baby Monster -“The Fear of Charlie Sunrise”
Baby Monster’s “The Fear Of Charlie Sunrise” was probably the strongest opening track on a debut album this year (or any album for that matter). There’s a subtle undercurrent of hope filled disparity and sadness of that “I’m not okay, you’re not okay, but we’re okay” vibe which carries this song from being merely a solid effort from an electronic duo to a different place completely that resembles the vacant space within our hearts.
The way the ambient undertones swell in the song until it builds to a point we never realized we had climbed to is haunting. More so is the way it leaves you with an unresolved feeling of empty longing that makes this solid effort from Baby Monster worth loving.
What puts “The Fear Of Charlie Sunrise” into the top 10 though is how there’s such a dual experience when listening between those vacant abysmal-hope feelings and the up front aspect of this being a call out to open your arms and take a chance, both to someone else and to ourselves.
“If you’re so fearless take your hand off your heart” is probably the best delivered line in a song of 2011 and that should not go without mention.
The video is one of my top ten favorites as well.
9. Beverlay – “Sandcastle”
Certain songs just end up tagging along with you, making it on every cruise, each mixtape, into the background at parties, the soundtrack to five AM conversations, you’re cleaning with it on, singing along in the shower, searching for it on jukebox’s, telling everyone who’ll listen about it… In 2009 it was Animal Collective‘s “Girls,” last year it was “Rivers And Roads” by The Head And The Heart and Foals “This Orient,” this year it was “Sandcastle“.
Beverlay is the side-project of Matt Raudsepp (Honheehonhee) and Nico Ormiston (Winter Gloves). Their album Boardwalk was one of the best EP’s to drop in 2011 but outside of giving us the incredible release they have remained almost completely unseen. HonheeHonhee had a fairly successful year so I’m sure a lot of the inactivity stems from focus in that direction.
I really hope to hear more from Beverlay in the future, the duo’s combined effort has a strength to it that thousands of songs I heard this year attempted but few even came close to.
8.Jhameel – “Shut-Up”
The first time I heard “Shut-Up” it was four-thirty in the morning and I was falling asleep at my computer. I have never heard a song that got me as stoked to hear it as this one did. I must have sent this link out to fifty people before the sun came up that day. This is a song that NEEDS to be heard. If I were making a list of 100 songs that impressed me this year “Shut-Up” would without a doubt be my number one.
Jhameel is spreading around the internet like herpes at Ball State. Only you’re actually thankful to have him in your life. Everything about the guy screams talent and potential that no one else this year has come close to displaying. World meet Jhameel… your new addiction.
7. Gem Club – “252”
I love when people tell me they don’t “Get Into” depressing music. BULLSHIT! I’m calling you out. You may prefer to avoid your feelings but don’t lie to me. I can understand if you were to say you prefer to not listen to sad music. But if I play “252” for you and you tell me something like “I just don’t get into this” you shouldn’t be surprised by my no longer taking anything you say about music for having any amount of substance whatsoever.
You don’t get into “252” it gets into you. It shakes away facades and the self-told lies and leaves you in the healthiest of positions… open and vulnerable. Music with these sad undertones is the most important thing art has to offer. Happy art has no spine, there’s no passion, it’s passive and meant for mass appeal which will have about as much relevance in twenty years as a copy of NOW7.
I guarantee if you hear this song and it connects with a place you’re at inside you will remember it for the rest of your life.
There was a time when I thought depressing music was a waste, there was also a time when I thought baggy jeans and polo shirts looked good, We all grow up, we all see the light, or for your salvation I sure hope so.
6.Howth – “Belly of the Beast”
The most important songs ever written have come in the midst of social crisis. Folk and Blues were driven by political/social discomfort without a voice. Despite your feelings towards the “Occupy Wallstreet” movement, from an outside standpoint, I hope everyone at least respects the fact that there are thousands of people who feel strongly enough about an issue to make a conscious effort towards change, something they feel so passionate about that they are willing to do more than randomly rant about it through social networks but instead move in visible active ways towards some form of transformation.
I caught a few tracks from Howth over the summer which I thought were full of potential, still I must have underestimated them because I never imagined they would ever create something close to what they’ve given us with “Belly Of The Beast“.
They wrote the song after hearing Professor Gayatri Spivak‘s speech in Washington Square Park on October 15th, they released this song four days later.
The lyrics are on point and delivered in such an incredibly relaxed fashion alongside guitars breathing sullen life the entire way edging in and out of the backdrop of echos and emotion. Even taking the message away from the equation this song has an incredible sound that draws emotion out of the listener from the moment it begins to play.
“Belly Of The Beast” is a song which encapsulates the voice of an entire generation overflowing with discontent… I truly hope someone is listening. – (Via)
5. Daughter – “Youth”
” … And if your still breathing you’re the lucky ones cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs setting fire to our insides for fun collecting the names of the lovers that went wrong. We are the reckless we are the wild youth chasing visions of our futures. One day we will reveal the truth that one will die before he gets there, and if you’re still bleeding you’re the lucky one cause most of our feelings they are dead and they are gone. We’re setting fire to our insides for fun collecting pictures from the flood that wrecked our home, it was a flood that wrecked this home… and you caused it.”
“Youth” gave me a whole new respect for Elena Tonra‘s songwriting abilities which were already impressive. This song just felt like she finally had gotten to the heart of what she’d been signing around for so long.
4. Radical Face – “Always Gold”
In what’s felt like one of the more positive years for me this was the only song to actually cause me to shed a tear.
I couldn’t take this song off of repeat the first time I heard it. My brother’s my best friend and I’ve spent the last six months waiting for the first opportunity to move out of this place so there’s something in “Always Gold” that resonates more than most songs do with me.
Radical Face creates music that sounds like a friends voice and he brings his songs from a place that most artists lack the courage to pull from.
Radical Face is personal, and courageous, and aprreciated.
3. Big Red Marbles – “Make That Call”
Upon first listen I slid “Make That Call” into my best songs ever written playlist. At the time I was in what felt like a rather solid relationship so the personal connection wasn’t even there and still it floored me.
You can hear Andrew Boze dealing with his own emotions in this track, this is his release and it’s nothing short of monumental.
Fast forward seven months since and “Make That Call” has taken on a whole new place in my life. My relationship of two years ended at the end of summer, this song has helped calm a lot of emotions that might have enveloped me had I not had it as a companion.
2. Youth Lagoon – “Cannons”
2011 has been Trevor Powers‘ year. Going from some practically unknown kid screwing around in his bedroom to having Year Of Hibernation on top of everyone’s best albums of 2011 lists. The dude’s from Idaho! How unreal is life for this guy right now?
When I downloaded the July/Cannons split release I couldn’t upload them fast enough. I must have included one of the two tracks on six posts in two weeks between both sites and the response was overwhelming, I’m still getting emails about the guy.Youth Lagoon is no one’s secret anymore and he without a doubt earned it.
1. 41st And Home – “Wilderness Eyes”
“Wilderness Eyes” is only three listens behind Shiv Hurrah’s “All My Teeth” for the most played song in my library, and for good reason; I look for every chance possible to play this song and no matter what the situation it feels fitting.
It was not an easy decision on my part for what song should be number one but as I was shifting songs around and things began taking form I knew that if I were going to post this list with any sort of confidence that “Wilderness Eyes” deserved it the most.
This incredible song embodies everything I hope Heycoolkid! to be about, from how each line feels like a sing-alongable hook to the lyrics encapsulating the feelings of our entire restless generation, all the way down to the confidence displayed in this song yet remaining unpretentious and lacking all forms of arrogance. What’s not to love?
Up in the mountains the light will grow
and surround us til we hardly know
our friends from the animals
Out on the shoreline we beat our drums
and we sing all of our parents songs
but the words don’t mean the same no more
Take to the streets with a shriek and a howl
bare our teeth with a grin and a growl
we wear our faults like crowns
When we hit the streets
In the packs we lead
Back in our homes they will cage us in
try to wash all of our painted skin
but their hands cant feed what they don’t own
So we run to the woods where we hid the fear
that we’ve wasted all our golden years
my friends we’re losing all we know
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