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wonders never cease Wednesday, December 28, 2011

a year’s end play list.

Culled from various reputable online music authorities, we've gathered 9 of the top songs of 2011 for your listening pleasure. Perhaps to be played while preparing for your New Year's Eve evening? {Or throw on the DJ Earworm mash up above for party tunes.} And speaking of New Year's, one of our resolutions is to bring you a brand new play list for each and every week in 2012. Want to join in on the fun? Send us your theme requests, and we'll post a play list in your honor! But back to the music:

1. "Pumped Up Kicks" - Foster the People
Ranked #19 on Billboard Music's top 100 songs of 2012, you couldn't listen to the radio for more than 30 minutes this year without hearing this infectious tune. {The acoustic version is pretty great, too.}
2. "Beth/Rest" - Bon Iver
Bon Iver's Justin Vernon took the Eighties synth fetish farther than anyone – he cuts his Kaj with Christopher Cross chord changes, a keyboard intro from late REO Speedwagon, and filtered vocals evoking Toto in their "wild dogs cry out in the night" phase. I love this song so much, I spent months wondering if I actually hated it. But I can't fight this feelin' anymore, and I've forgotten what I started fightin' for. {Rob Sheffield, of Rolling Stone}
3. "Annabel Lee" - Stevie Nicks
The gypsy queen comes back to tell the world who the eff she is, with a lyric by one of her hot dead rock & roll boyfriends, Edgar Allen Poe. {Rob Sheffield, of Rolling Stone}
4. "Alma Adentro" - Miguel Zenón
The dragonfly speed and lightness of Mr. ZenZenón’s alto saxophone playing is reason enough to love this meditation on the music of his homeland. {Nate Chinen, of The New York Times}
5. "Rolling in the Deep" - Adele
Another ubiquitous song, but this time from a ridiculously talented Brit {and ranked #41 in Billboard Music}.
6. "Hell on Heels" - Pistol Annies
The country singer Miranda Lambert’s side project with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley turned out to be loose, wise, tough, well written, well sung and more in tune with the debt-stricken American moment than her own record this year. {Ben Ratcliff, of The New York Times}
7. "Undun" - The Roots
The grooves insinuate rather than chug; the words disarm any concept-album pretensions. Even the instrumental coda hits its mark. {Nate Chinen, of The New York Times}
8. "Strange Mercy" - St. Vincent
Her lyrics are cryptic, but their effect is immediate, and often as intoxicating as the warmly synthetic sound she gets out of an electric guitar. {Nate Chinen, of The New York Times}
9. "The Way It Will Be" - Gillian Welch
A contemplative way to end the list {and the year}.

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