Will Straw reviews his favourite songs of the year.
As with last year, I thought I’d share the collection of songs that my wife, Claire, and I have put together for our friends as a compilation of our songs of the year. These tracks will fit neatly on an 80 minute CD if you have the will or you can click on the links below.
Happy listening and, more importantly, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Will’s songs of 2011
1. ‘Midnight City’ – M83. One of the stand out songs of the year so a great way to kick things off. Alongside Washed Out and Cut Copy, it’s one of three 1980s-style ‘synthpop’ tracks on the mix.
2. ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ – Foster the People. Somewhat sinister lyrics but it hasn’t stopped this song becoming the backing track for numerous sports programmes on both sides of the Atlantic. Most recently heard on the ‘Yesterday’s Goals’ section of Match of the Day 2.
3. ‘Shuffle’ – Bombay Bicycle Club. An upbeat song from one of Britain’s best bands. This track is the stand out on an otherwise more downbeat album.
4. ‘I Follow Rivers’ – Lykke Li. Though there’s much confusion about the pronunciation of the eclectic Swedish singer-songwriter’s name, there’s no doubt about her music which has become a real favourite on Later with Jools Holland.
5. ‘Rolling in the Deep (Jamie xx Shuffle)’ – Adele. Worldwide sales of Adele’s album ’21’ have surpassed 13 million so few songs will have been played more this year. But this remix by Jamie Smith from The XX puts the track in a whole new light by paring back all the music and leaving her amazing voice bare and beautiful.
6. ‘The Last Living Rose’ – PJ Harvey. ‘Let England Shake’ has rightly been the critics’ choice for album of the year picking up the Mercury Prize, and topping the NME, Guardian, Uncut and Mojo awards. Choosing a single track is pretty tough but this one’s my favourite.
7. ‘Kaputt’ – Destroyer. Effortlessly louche. This band played the standout gig at Green Man festival in Wales and defy categorisation. If you don’t already own it, use your Christmas tokens to buy this album. When did the sax last sound so good?
8. ‘The Look’ – Metronomy. Another really catchy track from a talented British band.
9. ‘I Don’t Want Love’ – The Antlers. One for all the indie kids.
10. ‘Holocene’ – Bon Iver. Another critically acclaimed album which has too many great tracks to making choosing one an easy task.
11. ‘East Harlem’ – Beirut. A precocious band, a brilliant third album, and a great song.
12. ‘Second Song’ – TV on the Radio. After the brilliance of 2008’s ‘Dear Science’, their fifth album was a real disappointment. But this, the opening track, soars.
13. ‘One for You, One for Me’ – Bright Eyes. Fantastic track and a brilliant lyric.
14. ‘Loop the Loop’ – Wild Beasts. From ‘Smother’, my favourite album of 2011. ‘Bed of Nails’ and ‘Reach a Bit Further’ are also brilliant but this track wins it for the beautiful moment when the bass comes back in at 2:14.
15. ‘Eyes Be Closed’ – Washed Out. Does what it says on the tin.
16. ‘Separator’ – Radiohead. A disappointing album but this closing track showed the best band in the world at their most creative.
17. ‘Need You Now’ – Cut Copy. Unbelievably funky and a way to end the selection as we started – with another synthpop track.
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• Merry Christmas from Left Foot Forward – December 25th 2011
• Look Left – Look back at the year – Shamik Das, December 23rd 2011
• My songs of the year – Will Straw, December 31st 2010