Originally posted 2010-12-30 23:30:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


At last, we arrive at what is, for me, the most difficult and perhaps the most controversial list of the year: the best songs.  Without fear of exaggeration, I can honestly tell you that I’ve revised this list a minimum of eight times since I first wrote it.  After all that effort, I’m no closer to feeling like I’ve assembled the perfect list.

Thankfully, that is not — and should never be — the point.

I recently read an anti-top ten list article posted by musician/writer John Roderick, and retweeted by Steven Page.  His essential arguments made sense to me on an intellectual level.  After all, music can’t be quantified.  And it is in our contemporary nature as a society to want all things quantified and commodified.  This is, at best, a misguided — and, at worst, corrupt — frame of mind.  If we are to believe that numbers may be accurately assigned as signifiers for people, even for songs, then something deeper, more intuitive has been lost.  This is not the Age of Reason; we do not function solely on the basis of our minds and logical thought, nor should we desire to.

This being said, I wouldn’t want to live in a world without the top ten list!

The top ten (or twenty, or fifty, or whatever) list is not supposed to be a perfect, accurate interpretation of the worth of the year’s songs.  If that were even possible, that would be boring.

The point of the top ten list is, as writer, to wade waist-deep into the year’s music — that which you love, that which you hated, that which you’d forgotten about, that which you’ve been convinced to give a second chance — and to try to make some sense out of the glorious sonic confusion.   As a reader of the list, the point is to feel your soul confirmed in some choices and to rage on fanatically against the injustices of inferior albums being raised to undeserved heights.

This is the urgent, enjoyable culmination of twelve months of experiencing new music.  While others were mindlessly soaking in sounds through the radio’s narrow blinders, you were out there on the front lines, listening to full albums, making yourself vulnerable to disappointment in the face of new releases by artists you love, and endeavoring to hear bands and artists you never imagined yourself even listening to — never mind liking(!) — in the past.

This is the process we go through, and the top ten list celebrates that process.  I may develop a more effective rating system — a good friend suggested developing a five-prong rating system for next year — but, for this year, I developed my list keeping in mind: how often I listened to the song, how strong the songwriting is (lyrically, composition, etc.), instrumental performance, vocal delivery, innovation, and overall effect.  I could write a 500 word post on why “You Run Away” is my number one song, so I’ll limit my comments to what I’ve already written above.

Go ahead: sift through my flawed list.  Love it, hate it, but for goodness’ sake, don’t agree with it entirely.  And if you must, feel free to comment below.

1)  “You Run Away” – Barenaked Ladies

2)  “Uncharted” – Sara Bareilles

3)  “You Wouldn’t Have to Ask” – Bad Books

4)  “Tighten Up” – The Black Keys

5)  “Four Seconds” – Barenaked Ladies

6)  “Written in Reverse” – Spoon

7)  “The Difference Between Us” – The Dead Weather

8 )  “Hurricane J” – The Hold Steady

9)  “Still Your Song” – Goo Goo Dolls

10)  “Claire’s Ninth” – Ben Folds

11)  “21st Century” – Locksley

12)  “Wasted Hours” – Arcade Fire

13)  “Fire with Fire” – Scissor Sisters

14)  “Little Lion Man” – Mumford & Sons

15)  “Fistful of Mercy” – Fistful of Mercy

16)  “Basket Case” – Sara Bareilles

17)  “Taos” – Menomena

18)  “Gasoline” – The Dead Weather

19)  “Summertime” – Barenaked Ladies

20)  “First Kiss on Mars” – STP

21)  “Champaign, Illinois” – Old 97’s

22)  “Half Crazy” – Jukebox the Ghost

23)  “As I Am” – Goo Goo Dolls

24)  “Thieves” – She & Him

25)  “Out Go the Lights” – Spoon

Honorable Mentions:

“Dark Fantasy” – Kanye West

“I Can Change” – LCD Soundsystem

The TOP FIFTY SONGS of 2011 (The Year-End Awards)

Originally posted 2012-02-04 04:00:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

At last, we arrive at the second most important list of the year: the top fifty songs.  This is the list that takes me the longest every time, even more time than the albums list.  This might be helped in part because I start writing my best albums list as early as summertime, but it’s also because I find albums easier to evaluate and rate than individual songs; oftentimes, songs shift and flux up and down over the year.

This year, my greatest challenge was finding a place for two of my former (mOu) and current (the DKBH) bandmate Mike Fusco’s new releases.  I typically avoid having one artist hog the top spots, but the truth was that I couldn’t honestly deny “Modern-Day Pocahontas” the top spot, and I tried but couldn’t come to terms with placing “Chasing Pigeons” any lower than second, even below such outstanding tracks as Brett Dennen’s “Sydney” or Wilco’s “Born Alone.”  If this reduces the authenticity of my list, then so be it: this is my honest assessment of the best fifty songs of 2011.

1)  “Modern-Day Pocahontas” – Mike Fusco

2)  “Chasing Pigeons” – Mike Fusco

3)  “Sydney (I’ll Come Running)” – Brett Dennen

4)  “Born Alone” – Wilco

5)  “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” – Noah and the Whale

6)  “Arlandria” – Foo Fighters

7)  “Give It All Back” – Noah and the Whale

8)  “Rox in the Box” – The Decemberists

9)  “Hello” – Gerry Beckley

10) “Buckner’s Bolero” – The Baseball Project

11) “All That You Are” – Goo Goo Dolls

12) “Lost All My Ambition” – Mike Fusco

13) “Suicide Policeman” – Yuck

14) “Jejune Stars” – Bright Eyes

15) “Uberlin” – R.E.M.

16) “New Year’s Eve” – Tom Waits

17) “Codex” – Radiohead

18) “Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog) – Brett Dennen

19) “Black and Yellow” – Wiz Khalifa

20) “Lonely Boy” – Black Keys

21) “Two Against One” – Danger Mouse, Danielle Luppi, and Jack White

22) “Rope” – Foo Fighters

23) “Ambulance” – Eisley

24) “Face in the Crowd” – Joseph Arthur

25) “Feel” – Gerry Beckley

26) “This is Why We Fight” – The Decemberists

27) “Jardin Du Luxembourg” – The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

28) “Till I Get There” – Lupe Fiasco

29) “Dawned on Me” – Wilco

30) “Fire Fly” – Childish Gambino

31) “Release Me” – Jack’s Mannequin

32) “Tangie and Ray” – The Fruit Bats

33) “Season’s Trees” – Danger Mouse, Danielle Luppi, and Norah Jones

34) “Us Against the World” – Coldplay

35) “Surprise, Surprise” – Brett Dennen

36) “Triple Spiral” – Bright Eyes

37) “Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart” – Fountains of Wayne

38) “Wonder Why” – Vetiver

39) “Art of Almost” – Wilco

40) “Don’t Carry It All” – The Decemberists

41) “Don’t Call Them Twinkies” – The Baseball Project

42) “You and Me” – Parachute

43) “Police Station” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

44) “Titty’s Beer” – Colt Ford (feat. Trent Tomlinson)

45) “Don’t Try and Hide It” – The Dodos

46) “I Don’t Want to Be a Bride” – Vanessa Carlton

47) “Ruined” – Hannah Fair

48) “Because the Origami” – 8in8

49) “Bad As Me” – Tom Waits

50) “Fly Solo” – Wiz Khalifa


Honorable Mention:

“Factory of Faith” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Raw (How You Like It)” – Common [late entry]

“Keep On Knocking” – The Cars

“Damn These Vampires” – The Mountain Goats