The 25 Best Songs of 2011
(So Far)

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I’m the first to admit I get unreasonably excited about music. I approach my job like the prospectors of old, and each new nugget I come across feels like striking gold. To carry that metaphor way too far, 2011 feels a lot like 1849—there’s been so much good music already in this first quarter. Here are 25 songs that make me dance like Yosemite Sam. (I told you I was going to take that metaphor too far.)

This list includes songs from albums that haven’t been released yet, as long as the song was released in the first quarter of 2011.

25. Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
The Philadelphia singer/songwriter’s fourth album Smoke Ring For My Halo is full of bright melodies and darker lyrics. It’s a throwback to early college rock that makes me want to play it on cassette.

24. The Dodos – “Black Night”
The propulsive drums for which The Dodos have become known are unrelenting in the first single from the band’s fourth album No Color.

23. Hey Rosetta! – “Yer Spring”
When Canadian sextet Hey Rosetta! goes on tour, they first have to make the day long drive from their home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, to get to the overnight ferry to the mainland. But through the magic of the Internet, you can listen to the song “Yer Spring” right now!

22. James Vincent McMorrow – “If I Had a Boat”
If it’s simplistic to say McMorrow is Ireland’s answer to Bon Iver, then imagine if an Irishman broke up with his girlfriend, spent some time in the woods of County Wisconsin and wrote this haunting song.

21. Typhoon – “The Honest Truth”
I’m a sucker for joyful folk-rock with bombastic horns and a chorus singing the chorus, and this is the best example of that since Elvis Perkins left Dearland.

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