Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
It was astonishingly ubiquitous (okay, overplayed), but every time I hear this I’m still astonished at how good it is. Adele’s voice finds its perfect showcase, hitting pleading high notes and low, dirty growls. “You’re gonna wish you / Never had met me,” the backup singers chirp ominously, as the kick drum pounds a threat. And through it all “Rolling In The Deep” remains ridiculously catchy, inspiring daily earworms and a million ill-advised sing-alongs (most of which were mine).
Bry Webb, “Rivers Of Gold”
In this love letter to a a carefree moment in time, Webb extols the virtues of living just the way I’d like to: “free of fear and full of love.”
Camp Radio, “The Girl Who Stole My Motorbike”
This fuzzy powerpop charmer is so catchy that it gets stuck in my head every time I so much as see a motorcycle parked on the roadside.
Handsome Furs, “Serve The People”
Though inspired by the oppressive governments of east Asia, this song hits literally and figuratively closer to home since the recent wave of police brutality in response to the Occupy movement. “You kick ‘em in the head and you kick ‘em when they’re down / You don’t serve the people.”
Hawk and Steel, “Telephone Calls”
This beautifully mournful Americana piece swells to a tortured climax with heavy guitars and the rising lament of vocalist Peter Gardner before fading to a last sad whisper: “The telephone’s ringing down the hall / I wonder who you’re with tonight.” “Telephone Calls” finds the pathos at the heart of the traditional country song and presents it without devolving into caricature the way so much modern country does. This is the simple, prosaic sadness of the stranger next to you at the bar, expressed in five minutes of sonic poetry.
See the rest of Brittney’s Second Annual Not-Entirely-Canadian Ten (of the) Best Songs of 2011 (more…)