2011 Mid Year Wrap Up: Best Songs
Kyle (in no order)
The Joy Formidable – Whirring
tUnE-yArDs – Bizness
Handsome Furs – Repatriated
Destroyer – Song For America
The War On Drugs – Baby Missles
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Thought Ballune
Kurt Vile – Baby’s Arms
Bon Iver – Minnesota, WI
Low – Witches
Iron & Wine – Biting Your Tail
Mike Watton (Haunted House)
1. B.O.B. – “No Future”: With all the hype that “Yonkers” got when its video hit the internet, no one really expected B.O.B., he of the high school candy pop, to fire back on Tyler, The Creator for his diss. And certainly no one thought that he’d come out on top if he tried. But if you’ve known B.O.B. from before his smash debut, you know he hasn’t always made wuss-core. And he gets back to those roots on “No Future.” The beat is inferno hot, and B.O.B. completely takes it over on the mic, like very few people knew he was capable of. Even Tyler, The Creator was impressed.
2. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”: It’s kind of amazing to think that no one really knew who this guy or the rest of the Odd Future crew was at the beginning of the year. Not all of their output matches the hype, but this track does. In an NBA All Star Game way. That beat is already legendary (the piano is what gets it there, by the way), and Tyler shows he has the high level of MC’ing skills needed to measure up to it. Not to mention the directing chops on the video. Talented little Bastard.
3. Big KRIT – “Rotation”: He’s continuing making a name for himself as one of the most talented people to come up in hip hop in a long time. This track is just a gold standard for cool. Since he gave the mixtape this comes from away for free, hopefully he’s got something else coming down the pipe. If it’s as good as what he’s done so far, he could be a superstar soon.
4. Kurt Vile – “Puppet To The Man”: This is how you make a rhythm guitar riff. Kurt could make warm whiskey taste good in a 110 degree heat wave, and this song would maybe be the first I’d put on of his catalog in that situation. There aren’t many early 70’s Stones-like songs that are worth your time like the real thing, but this is.
5. Frank Ocean – “Novacane”: This guy doesn’t want to be called an R&B singer, and I think I can live with that. He does have that style, but, and I hate this cliche, he makes it his own. Really, there’s not much I can do to avoid saying that. Believe me, I thought about it. But it’s true. Do people actually smoke novocane? I’d never heard of that. I suppose this might sound good if you were doing it.
6. DJ Quik – “Babylon”: This one sounds like it could’ve come from “Blaqkout,” the much-lauded album Quik put out in 2009 with Kurupt. Very thick synths, but cooled down. As usual, you get the impression he could make an album in Russian, and he’d still sound like the West Coast.
7. Daughters Of The Sun – “Hexagram”: Co-written by Journey guitarist Neil Schoen in a late night jam session during a Bay Area tour stop, this one is a perfect example of why this band would flunk a UA testing for excellence. It’s got the full D.O.T.S. spectrum.
8. Radiohead – “Feral”: A great example of how good they can be with weirder, less song-y ideas. Artsy noise made in an accessible way is going to be a big deal. Buy stock in it, you’ll be screaming in searing agony five years from now if you don’t.
9. Lil Wayne – “Six Foot Seven Foot”: This is the hardest Lil’ Wayne has hit the mic since Da Drought 3. Great job by him any way you care to look at it. He’s got several lines in this one that are better than most rappers will ever come up with, and the rhythm change he puts on his vocals towards the end is just bad. Not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning good. It would be easy to get in an accident driving to this.
10. Wet Hair – “Liquid Jesus”: This has a nice watery-ness about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. It has a bit of a “Doors demo” vibe to it, as well as some early Krautrock sounds. Have you ever gone swimming in Coralville Lake, near Iowa City? Well, there’s a spot near a cliff that doubles as an amazing swim spot. Great at night when there’s no clouds. You should look into it.
1. Adele “Rolling In The Deep”
2. Killer Mike “Burn”
3. Saigon & Marsha Ambrosius “It’s Alright”
4. Atmosphere “She’s Enough”
5. Bad Meets Evil (Eminem & Royce Da 5’9″) “Fast Lane”
6. Beastie Boys “Make Some Noise”
7. Tech N9ne & Everybody* “Worldwide Choppers”
*(deep breath) the song features the following:
8. Nas “Nasty”
9. Booker T. Jones, Sharon Jones, and Biz Markie “Just A Friend”
10. Dirty Beaches “Speedway King”
Josh (songs from albums that didn’t make it into my top 10)
- Low- Witches
- Panda Bear- You Can Count on Me
- Ford and Lopatin- Joey Rogers
- Holy Ghost!- Hold On
- Ssalvia- Best Lose the Dream
- Ducktails- Killing the Vibe/Hamilton Road (tie)
- Yuck- Rubber
- TV on the Radio- Will Do
- Family Portrait- Other Side
- Kurt Vile- In My Time
- (Honorable mention- Thurston Moore- Benediction, Ganglians- Jungle, Woods- Pushing Onlys, and, for being a good song on an awful album–The Strokes- Under the Cover of Darkness)