Music  |  Lists

The 50 Best Songs of 2011

November 30, 2011  |  7:30am
Every day between now and New Year’s Eve, we’ll be looking back at the best music and pop culture of 2011. Today we look at the best songs.

40. Pistol Annies – “Hell on Heels”
Taking turns on the verses, Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley each get a chance to showcase the unique quality of each of their vocals. And each voice is so lovely that the man-eating boasts they’re delivering just sound like sweet country seduction.—Josh Jackson

39. Battles – “Ice Cream”
When Battles lost founding member Tyondai Braxton, fans couldn’t have expected the group to throw a party. But that’s just what they did, following up 2007’s critically acclaimed Mirrored by borrowing some wacky vocal talent from Matias Aguayo. The track’s driving drums and keyboards makes “Ice Cream” Battles’ most fun and accessible release to date.—Tyler Kane

38. The Belle Brigade – “Losers”
This is perhaps the most overlooked anthem of the year. The sister-brother duo Barbara and Ethan Gruska pour a universal feeling into an uplifting song about competition, confidence and self-worth.—Adam Vitcavage

37. Rubblebucket – “Came Out of a Lady”
The best use of horns of the year, fuzzy guitars and kitchen-sink percussion propel the catchiest track from bandleader Alex Toth, singer/saxophonist Kalmia Traver and the other six Brooklynites. Recorded at DFA studios with Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem) at the helm, it keeps the dance party going long after James Murphy left the building.—Josh Jackson

36. Seryn – “We Will All Be Changed”
Denton, Texas’s multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist five-piece Seryn creates soaring, affecting folk music that’s sure to please. “We Will All Be Changed” builds and swells powerfully, reaching emotional heights not often attained by folk-pop acts, or really musicians of any genre, for that matter.—Kyle Smith

35. Yuck – “Georgia”
Yuck, a U.K.-based group of newcomers that wowed audiences with a self-titled debut, shows that there’s nothing wrong with borrowing from the greats on “Georgia.” Recalling some of indie’s best fuzzed-out moments, “Georgia” feels as familiar as your old Sonic Youth and Pavement albums. —Tyler Kane

34. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
Everyone knew that Adele had an incredible voice; she had the Grammy for Best New Artist to prove that. But like she sings on “Rolling in the Deep,” “there’s a fire starting in her heart.” With the power of Amy Winehouse and the passion of old-school Alanis Morissette, she’s crafted a song that’s stayed at the top of the charts (and nearly every radio format) all year for good reason.—Ross Bonaime

33. Reptar – “Blastoff”
Reptar blasted their way straight into our hearts with this lead track off of their Ben Allen-produced debut EP, Oblangle Fizz, Y’all. It’s perfect for busting a move or two and a must-listen for anyone wondering what it’d sound like if David Byrne fronted Vampire Weekend.—Bonnie Stiernberg

32. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
Mark Foster wrote his band Foster the People’s breakthrough song “Pumped Up Kicks” when he was a jingle writer. You know he’s good at what he does when he’s able to sell a song about a psychotic child going on a shooting spree for some shoes as one of the happiest, catchiest songs of the year.—Ross Bonaime

31. Dawes – “A Little Bit of Everything”
If the title hadn’t already been taken, Dawes’ “A Little Bit of Everything” could have easily been called “Helplessness Blues.” The song focuses on three different perspectives all linked by their complicated worries, whether those lead them to happiness or staggering depression. The stresses of modern life have never sounded so good.—Ross Bonaime

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