Hey, where’d the year go? As previously, the songs here are presented in no particular order and are selected by referring solely to the digit in the “Plays” column in My iTunes library. Thus, if I played it a lot on my iPod in 2011, it’s here. If I didn’t, it’s not. No ringers, no false aspirations to what I “should” have been listening to. All ice cream, no broccoli. Also, as previously, the song title next to the album cover is a YouTube link to the song.
Best Night / The War On Drugs
The genius of The War On Drugs lies in the rural-urban esthetic of taking an earnest, observant, heartland-evocative vocal (provided by bandleader and Bob Dylan fanboy Adam Granduciel) and harnessing it to a precision-machined motorik synthbeat worthy of Trans-Europe Express. It’s been done before, of course, most notably on Grandaddy’s 2000 opus The Sophtware Slump, but here you really get that wide-open-spaces sensation without the luxury-class travel vibe. “Best Night,” the first track on the record, is the ideal soundtrack for watching the countryside clip by through a bus window, even if the bus is just the shuttle from the Rutgers Athletic Center to High Point Solutions Stadium.
Land Disasters / Blanck Mass
Blanck Mass is the solo side project of Benjamin John Power from Fuck Buttons. This song has been a staple of my evening runs along the Jersey Shore, at Sandy Hook and Island Beach, ever since it appeared in June. Everything on the self-titled debut from Blanck Mass is amazing, but “Land Disasters,” which booms into being at 0:01 in full skyward trajectory and then soars ecstatically upward in vast cathedrals of sound from there, may be the greatest song ever recorded for running along the sea as the sun slips below the horizon.