As we go forth into 2012, and what could possibly the last year of human existence, it has come time to look back and appreciate the songs that got us through a pretty wild 2011. You already got a genre-filled look at the past 12 months from LuKoos, so I'm going to do mine a little differently. For me, the most important songs have always been linked to the time/place/state of mind I hear them in. So, you're gonna get a little run down of where 2011 took me--beginning to end--and the soundtrack that accompanied that journey. If you couldn't care less, just enjoy the music.
1. My 2011 started in an interesting way. I was coming off a semester on the ocean, chasing summer and packing a lifetime of travel into 4 months. But when Jan. 1 rolled around I found myself freezing again, back in Hanover. While a swing like that takes its toll, this track was a constant reminder that things can still be fun as hell. It was on repeat in the basement that winter and is still a crowd-pleaser to this day.
2. Another thing that got me through the winter of '11 was news that my favorite band was dropping a new album. The King of Limbs was released back in February and I can still smell the Arctic winter air of NH whenever this track comes on. Probably listened to it almost every time I trudged my way to class.
3. ULTRA. I will always remember laying eyes on that magical place for the first time--making my way towards the main stage while the sun set behind the Miami skyline with the entire crowd singing this song. The track will forever remind me of one of the best weeks I've ever had. Already got me a ticket for '12.
4. This track was all about Spring for me. Came across BSBD's masterpiece of an album, "Noir," and was immediately sold. Warm and well-produced instrumentals backed by hip-hop beats and perfectly placed samples. This is one of the few records out these days I can listen to from start to finish and never want to hit the next button. This take brings back memories of sunny days, melting snow and the end of seasonal depression.
5. This one might sound familiar since Goodwill, Hook N Sling's "Take You Higher," was a pretty monster track last spring is still picking up steam. This song uses that same vocal sample. Discovered this right as my corporate summer began, and I can't tell you how many long nights it got me through. Never went up on BGB because I was frankly just too busy at the time, but here it is now.
6. FREEDOM. I remember visiting a buddy's apartment the day after my 10 weeks in a suit finally came to a close, and hearing this track for the first time. It came from a video made by a friend that captured some of the best moments of our Ultra experience. The second I heard it I was hooked. This one will always put a smile on my face and give me that late-summer vibe.
7. Another summer jam right here. This one was all over my radar and whenever it comes on it brings me back to Electric Zoo and some dirty NYC heat.
8. Stumbled across this track during one of my first trips back to the library in Fall 2011. The Das Kapital edit of "Skinny Love" was an anthem for the past year and a half, so I was naturally drawn to another Bon Iver mix. This one is still in the regular rotation and is completely linked with autumn in the Northeast for me. Ever seen peak foliage in Hanover?
9. Been real into M83 ever since the first time I saw That's It That's All, and their most recent "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" is probably the best album of the year. This track has been everywhere from Victoria's Secret commercials to Eric Prydz remixes. After catching the band slay the crowd over Thanksgiving break in Brooklyn, and hearing that they will be making an appearance at Ultra 2012, had to throw this one on the big list.
10. This final track is for the here and now, no more memories. Preparing myself for another winter up at the Big Green, and I already know this song will be a part of it. A great chill jam for days that end before 4 pm.
11. Don't think I need to explain this one to anyone between the ages of 16 and 28 who has ears, and is on this site.
12. This track got me through some long study nights in 2011, and has one of the best basslines I've ever heard in an electronic song...not to mention a quality MJ sample.
13. These days it seems like all the music we listen to is made on somebody's laptop. I managed to catch My Morning Jacket earlier this month in front of a packed Madison Square Garden and the experience reminded me that rock and roll might not be dead just yet. The band released Circuital in May, and I recommend it to those of you who still believe in the power of a guitar, bass, drum kit and keyboard.
14. If you've noticed a general lack of hip-hop on this list, it's not because I'm not a fan. I just don't really like much of what's been coming out these days. Odd Future's Tyler is the exception. This is his most recognizable song and for a good reason. First time I heard those opening lyrics, "I'm a fucking walking paradox, no I'm not," I was completely blown away. Have to include the video here because I think its one of the best I've seen in a long, long time. For me it represents everything he is as an artist: it's unique, disturbing, and cool as shit. He'd probably have a problem being lumped in with the rest of the people on this list...but I don't really care.