My friend Ryan did this and I loved it so now I am going to do it. Hopefully I choose songs that represent the entire year and not just things I've found in the last few months, though I can't promise it. It must be noted that not all of these songs came out in 2011, but I found them in 2011, so that's what's important. And like Ryan, I'm going to choose one song per artist, lest all the songs be by Noah And The Whale or Dawes.
1. L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. by Noah And The Whale.
My lovely missionary in Scotland recommended I listen to this song way back in, I think, February after he heard it in some record shop. I'd listened to some NatW before but never this one. I instantly fell in love. This song really started me off on my NatW kick and I'm still on it today. L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. / What you don't have now will come back again.
2. When My Time Comes by Dawes.
I'll later mention a man by the name of Greg Holden, and I know I've mentioned him before because one of my saved tags is "Greg Holden is what hope sounds like." So Dawes is incredible. I've heard they're fantastic live but that will have to wait. This was a late in the year find; I made a playlist for them on Spotify on November 10th. And now the only piece of advice that continues to help/ Is anyone that's making anything new only breaks something else. The guitar at the beginning of this song gets me every time. I can't help but sing along. It's just pure goodness, all of it.
3. The Cave by Mumford and Sons.
I somehow stumbled upon to this song's music video on YouTube. I'd heard of the group but never listened to them. I started watching due to pure curiosity. I kept watching because of the banjo. I love me some good banjo. And I'll find strength in pain/ And I will change my ways/ I'll know my name as it's called again. Other songs by Mumford and Sons aren't always that great to me, sometimes I feel like they're missing something, but this one has always seemed perfect. I think they were a late summer find but I can't be certain. It would make sense though.
4. Rivers and Roads by The Head And The Heart.
This song is perhaps the greatest of the list. My friend Lindsey recommended a bunch of bands to me just after school had ended in May. I didn't listen to any of the songs/artists for a long time, but when I did I was sorry I hadn't listened sooner. (The list included others like the Avett Brothers, The Decemberists, and Nickel Creek.) The words of this song really began to resonate this past month. Been talking bout the way things change / And my family lives in a different state / And if you don't know what to make of this then we will not relate. The rest of the song doesn't always fit together with how I feel but these few lines do. (Don't get me wrong, it's not that I want to move back home after college but let's face it: Utah will never be home and I don't think I could ever be with someone who isn't going to leave it.) Also, I miss your face like hell. I absolutely love the phrase "I miss your face" so to hear it in a song was magnificent.
5. I'll Be Your Man by James Blunt.
So many people refuse to give him a second chance after Beautiful but with Shay Carl's own daughter being the album art, I couldn't help but at least listen to some of the songs. It turns out James Blunt is really good. It was a tough choice between this one and "Stay The Night." I just kind of picked one. He doesn't always have particularly great lyrics, though at time he does, there's something about all of his songs that made doing homework really easy.
6. Permafrost by Laurena Segura.
The girl who wrote/performs this song is, like, 16? Maybe even younger. She's Canadian too. Geez, she is talented. Everything about this song is wonderful. Yeah, it's a little more melancholy but that's what makes it so wonderful. That and the banjo. The very idea of being permafrost is the articulation of a feeling I know I've felt but have never been able to explain. I can't even choose a few lines to share because they are all fantastic. She's an amazing lyricist. Please, if you watch no other video but one, watch this one.
7. And Run by He Is We.
My friend Mikaela introduced me to He Is We the summer after our freshman year. This CD came out, I think, in 2010, but I didn't buy this song until summer of 2011. I fell in love with it in 2011 too. I really like running to it actually. There's something great about songs that use the word "run." It makes me want to run. Filling my head with words to encourage me / Gotta get my act so straight so I can truly believe / That what I’m waiting for is really worth the wait/ Stop bringing myself down / I gotta know what makes me great. It always makes me feel like a fresh start. I like that. A lot. I've linked to the acoustic version but it's equally lovely.
8. Masquerade by Lelia Broussard.
I present to you the girliest song of them all. Usually I don't like songs like this one. But it's really catchy, and not in that annoying way that songs like Womanizer are. So yeah, it's girly. So girly. But Lelia Broussard is really cool. I think she almost won that Rolling Stone contest to be on the front cover or whatever. Her voice is just awesome.
9. It's Time by Imagine Dragons.
This is a band I've been listening to pretty passively for a few years now but their latest album was pretty neat. Hank loves Imagine Dragons so I got a little more into them in the last few months. (Hank and I have a weird relationship over music. There's only a few bands we both really enjoy. Imagine Dragons is one of them.) Their sound is just . . . something else. I can't quite explain what it is that I love exactly but it's something.
10. Following Footsteps by Greg Holden.
Greg Holden is what hope sounds like. His music has always been a comfort to me and his new album has only confirmed that. He's one of the artists I find a hard time describing. I encourage you to just listen to the man.
11. It's Real For Us by Lauren Fairweather.
There's no way I could get through a list without at least one Harry Potter specific song and here it is. Lauren is an incredible songwriter and I love basically all of her work, both Harry Potter related and not. I love all the double meanings in this song. (Lauren made an entire album dedicated to "The Prince's Tale" chapter of Deathly Hallows.) This is easily my favorite song of them all. And would you listen to that, it's got more banjo!
12. Time To Be by Charlotte.
I've no idea what this girl's last name is, nor do I think I ever will. I subscribed to her on YouTube long ago. She's since moved on from that and posts songs on a separate web site. She is to die for, though.
13. Song For The Painfully Indie by Tom Milsom.
This song is actually quite old, and I'd definitely listened to it before 2011. I mean, my blog has had this name for at least 2 years now. But I really learned to love this song in this year. It's just a nice little ironic song making fun of indie things all the while Tom is kind of indie himself. Kind of like with When My Time Comes by Dawes, the guitar at the beginning just gets me every time.
14. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall by Coldplay.
Coldplay can never do wrong in my book. I remember hearing this song, the first single from their new album, and I just stopped. I know people who cannot stand Coldplay, who claim they sound just like Snow Patrol and The Fray and all these other bands. Yeah, their sounds can be similar but Coldplay is just above and beyond anything those bands do. Coldplay is just . . . Coldplay. Maybe the street's alight / Maybe the trees are gone / But I feel my heart start beating to my favorite song. Yep. I love Coldplay. I remember writing to Jordan asking if he'd heard this song at all, just maybe out in a store or something. Well, first I remember writing to ask him his opinion of Coldplay; I was quite worried we wouldn't be on the same page. Now that I think back on it, I don't know how I ever doubted him.
15. Working Day by Ben Folds.
The first time I heard this song was the a'capella version I've linked to. The album it's from, Lonely Avenue, was made w/ author Nick Hornby, and came out in 2010. One thing I love about this song is the fact that all the parts were made up from concerts throughout the Midwest, including Madison and Milwaukee. Ben is just a little piano genius and his love for a'capella is refreshing.
16. Not Over You by Gavin DeGraw.
I considered adding a bonus piece at the end including songs that were more so guilty pleasures and this song was originally going to go there, but then I realized how much I legitimately love Gavin DeGraw. I've been listening to him since I was, I think, 13. This new song of his is just really good to me. I think it's the piano. If you ask me how I'm doing / I would say I'm doing just fine / I would lie and say that you're not on my mind. No fancy words with Gavin, but that's why I love him. I know I called the Lelia Broussard song the girliest one on the list but this might actually be it.
17. Strange Charm by Hank Green.
You have to indulge me with this one. I was addicted to this song all semester long. It's not for everyone but for what Hank lacks in singing ability he makes up for in awesome scientific nerdiness. You cannot listen to this song and not hum along. It's also super educational. I've used lyrics of this song to answer the question, "What is a quark?" It's the kind of song I listen to when I just want to act completely and ridiculously nerdy.
18. July by Ryan Seiler.
As part of the great band Ministry of Magic, Ryan has contributed a lot to my happiness already. But this year he released his first solo album. And it is such a treat. Ryan writes wonderful songs. It was a perfect summer song and it helps to keep summer alive even in the winter. It's the perfect relaxation song to me. Ryan plays a mean acoustic guitar and this song really shows that. The song screams sunshine and niceness. There is no such thing as sadness when it comes to July.
19. Body In A Box by City and Colour.
A song that starts out with a harmonica just cannot be bad. It's not possible. I got this song from my friend Margaret, who I often call Margo, as part of a birthday CD compilation. (I think.) She and I often exchange musical interests. There's people searching for a better way / To live their lives. When you really listen to it, it's a very interesting song about death, but not in a weird or morbid way. It's actually nice.
20. Married Life by Michael Giacchino.
My roommates will attest to the fact that I did a lot of studying to Pixar soundtracks this past semester. And this song sure got a lot of playing time. How could it not?! The movie Up is terribly wonderful. All of its songs are wonderful as well. So much is said in the period of time this song is first introduced in the film with no words at all. I love when it keeps coming back in other parts of the movie as well, such as during the song Stuff We Did. Man, if you want to cry wonderful, wonderful tears, listen to Stuff We Did. I don't even know the number of times I almost impulse bought either this soundtrack or the movie itself throughout the semester. It was a lot, though.
21. Down River by The Temper Trap.
This is the band who does the song "Sweet Disposition" on the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack. A friend had given me this song a while back but I didn't listen to it for quite some time. I found that I really like running to this song, the few times I ever do go these days. I guess I would say The Temper Trap is similar to The Head And The Heart and The Decemberists, if you're looking for a comparision.
22. Beautiful Girl by William Fitzsimmons.
If I remember correctly, I got this song as an iTunes free download one week. It's the perfect song to fall asleep to if that was the kind of thing I did. I just love how chill it is. Beautiful girl / May the weight of world resign/ You will get better.
23. Dog Problems by The Format.
This was one of my running songs in the summer. For a stretch of time, I went running every Saturday. That lasted about a month and then I went back to Utah and I didn't run again until December. Whoops. Though The Format is not together anymore, their songs are clearly still awesome. The reason this particular song caught my attention is because they use the word "trampoline."
24. Time by Wade Johnston & The Navigators.
I have always loved Wade Johnston and this summer I finally purchased one of his songs instead of just listening to him on YouTube. In the YouTube version, he uses finger cymbals. How awesome is that? He's also one of the guys that made me want to get a ukulele, so he'll always have a special place in my heart. He also harmonizes and it's just lovely. The song goes through a whole progression if you really listen to the words and that is super neat. Nowhere to go / But to get away from it all / And I just want to say / How much I miss you here in my life / And I just want you to understand / I need time.
25. Class Can't Handle Me by Divine Comedy.
I wasn't going to include this at all but then I listened to it again and realized how necessary it is. I actually know 2 of the girls in this group and watching it having met/talked with them, I love it even more. The number of times I've listened to this while studying for encouragement: innumerable. It's the right dose of dancey and nerdy. It's ten thousand times better than the song it's a parody of.
These obviously aren't all the songs I loved in 2011, but I suppose it's kind of a "best of the best" listing. Some artists really deserve to be on here two, three, four, even five times. So check them out. As you'll already have seen, I've linked to each of the songs so you can experience them in some way.
Well, I hope you've all been having a fantastic week. It's almost Thursday which means new Office, Parks and Rec, and 30 Rock. I know I'm stoked. Look forward to a The Fault In Our Stars review this coming weekend. No worries, it will be spoiler free. (I think.)
Last YouTube video I watched: The List