Songs That Drove My Neighbors Crazy in 2011

I am of the school of thought that if a song sounds good played once, it sounds even better played ten times in succession. That makes sense, right? Of course it does. I do this with every single song I decide I've fallen in love with, until it is ingrained indelibly on my brain for the rest of my life, and this particular habit of mine is how I still know most of the lyrics to the entire Jon Bon Jovi canon of 1994 to 1995. Hey, I never said it was a useful habit. Although, you know what, get back to me when someone holds a gun to your head and demands a word-for-word recitation of Bed of Roses, because I would ROCK THAT, no pun intended (okay, it was maybe a little bit intended.)

Now that we're winding down to the last few days of 2011, I thought I'd put together a playlist of all the songs I've had on repeat this year, sort of like one of those Now That's What I Call Music! compilations they used to put out every five minutes during my youth, and maybe your youth too. Do you remember those? Do they still make them? Wikipedia tells me this was originally a British thing, which may explain why I had so many. They were called things like "Now That's What I Call Music! 1993", which is funny, because I'm not entirely sure I would call anything in the Ace of Base discography "music," but who knows, maybe they were using the term loosely. 

(By the way, if you have half an afternoon to kill and wish to kill it with wistful nostalgia, pick a year and go read the track listings for the Now That's What I Call Music! albums of that year. If you are not instantly transported back to your teenage self, listening to these songs on your walkman or tank-sized stereo—my own tank-sized stereo was supported by some terribly glamorous shelving I'd made from cement blocks and planks of wood; industrial chic before it was industrial chic!—then I will eat my hat. I will even pick an era-specific 90s-appropriate hat to eat, like a backwards Kangol cap or a grungey beanie.)

Wow, this has been a crazily long-winded introduction to what I originally wanted to post, which was a list of songs I've had on repeat this year, on the offchance that you might be looking for something new to listen to. I use the word "new" fairly loosely, though, because only a few of these songs are actually from 2011, so it's not like I'm claiming to be some magical musical tastemaker who has captured the zeitgeist of the past year or anything, mainly because a) we have established that I am no kind of tastemaker whatsoever, having once been enthralled by Jon Bon Jovi from 1994 to 1995, when this was not a particularly cool time to be enthralled with him, and b) these songs are really only from my past year, not the general past year of the collective public.

But anyway! If you're interested, here are a few great songs I listened to in 2011. And then listened to again and again and again and again.

1. A Million Years, Alexander: I heard this on the radio a few times in the early part of the year and kept thinking for the first few seconds that it was Simon & Garfunkel, before realizing that while it definitely isn't Simon & Garfunkel, it's still rather Simon & Garfunkel-ish. Don't know about you, but that always gets maximum points in my book. 

2. Bleecker Street, Simon & Garfunkel: What do you know, this song actually is by Simon & Garfunkel. It will never take the place of my #1 Simon & Garfunkel song (America) or my #2 Simon & Garfunkel song (Cecilia), or even my #3 Simon & Garfunkel song (The Boxer), but I guess I'll let it settle there in the #4 spot.

3. Video Games, Lana del Rey: I consider it one of life's great injustices that I am not Lana del Rey. Look at her. Look at her! This is a good one for singing soulfully in your car when you're pretty sure you're going fast enough that no-one can see inside. Stop singing when you get to a traffic light.

4. Twenty Years, Deer Tick: This song reminds me of painting (and then repainting) my hallway over two weekends in the middle of the year; when it would end, I'd just go back and hit play again on the computer, so that by the time I was finished, I had just painted and painted and painted to an infinite loop of it for several days straight.

5. Belated Promise Ring, Iron & Wine: I first heard this on an episode of Friday Night Lights—I hope whoever used to choose the music for that show got some kind of raise and/or had a girlfriend who was sufficiently appreciative of the awesome mixtapes I am sure he made her—and then downloaded it immediately to play ad infinitum in my car. It's too bad this would be a pretty crappy karaoke choice, because I sure do know all the words now.

6. Doctor, Atlas Sound: This is a cover of a 1950s song by a doowop band called the Five Discs, and it is really, really, really great for the occasional bout of wacky dancing around your living room you may sometimes get the urge to perform. Oh, that's just me then? Awkward.

7. The Water, Johnny Flynn featuring Laura Marling: This song will get in your head and stick there for a couple of weeks, even if you don't think it's the sort of thing you normally go for (I don't think it's the sort of thing I normally go for.) As a bonus, Laura Marling is only 21, which is kind of just too depressing to think about.

8. Waterfall, the Fresh & Onlys: Welcome to your new favorite workout song! This always makes me go really, really, really fast on the elliptical machine, although the weird video game noises in the background make me think there's something wrong with my iPod every single time.

9. If I Had A Hammer, Peter Paul and Mary: If I could look like anyone in the world, it would be Mary Travers in this video. Did you know she died a few years ago? I only found out a few days ago and it made me kind of sad. This song has some of the best harmonizing I've ever heard. Also some of the best hair-flicking.

10. Welcome Home, Radical Face: This is another song I listened to while painting, then later in the car on the freezing cold nights I'd go and pick Sean up from the shuttle stop after work. I am generally a sucker for songs that talk about "home" and this one is no exception.

11. Half the Time, the Lemonheads: Are you surprised it's taken me this long to put a Lemonheads song on my list? So am I, frankly, because I listened to their entire oeuvre pretty much constantly in the latter part of 2011. This song is from the 1990 album Lovey and I adore the jangly early-90s-ish-ness of it. You have go here to listen to it, since YouTube won't let me embed it, but there's a pretty sweet prize in it for you if you do: that's right, a gangly Evan Dando in some pretty bitchin' denim jorts. Oh, man. You. Are. Welcome.

12. My Heart As an Arrow, Los Halos: This is another song I heard in the background on Friday Night Lights and then hunted for obsessively on the Internet, transcribing lyric after lyric into Google until I found something that might be it. I finally tracked it down here on MySpace, though there doesn't appear to be a video for it, so you'll have to listen to it there. Something about the simplicity and repetitiveness of this song just makes me want to listen to it forever.

So that's my Nothing But Bonfires: Now That's What I Call Music! 2011 compilation for you, which I hope has been at least slightly enjoyable. If you liked any of those songs and think we might have similar taste in music, I'd love to know what you listened to this year, so that I can copy you and download it immediately. Then I will sit back, press the repeat button, and let the song play ten times in a row. It's okay, my neighbors are pretty much expecting it at this point.

Dec 28, 2011

Oooh, I love all of these. I'm also obsessed with Lana Del Rey. SO UNFAIR.

My top songs of the year were the entire The Naked and Famous album, "Shake It Off" by Florence and the Machine, all things Brett Dennen and Ellie Goulding, Lisa Hannigan, and The Weekend's new EP.

Dec 28, 2011

I'm so glad you did this! When you used to post music to your blog you got me addicted to Norman Oak! So I can't wait to get addicted to even more music

Dec 29, 2011

Yep, they still do the Now! albums, we're up to about Now 83.

I loved Ben Howard this year, particularly His song The Wolves from the Every Kingdom album.

Dec 29, 2011

Delurking to tell you that there is now a NTWIC Fitness DVD. You're welcome.

Dec 29, 2011

Delurking to tell you that they now make a NTWIC fitness DVD:

You're welcome.

Dec 29, 2011

i love these songs - particularly anything Laura Marling, Iron & Wine, Deertick, and Alexander. My favorites this year - another shout out for Florence + The Machine, The Head & The Heart, The Civil Wars, Best Coast (especially "Our Deal"). a few local shout outs - Kovacs & The Polar Bear (love Speckled Hen and Sweetheart. I think you'd like Lovers on the Run).

PS - I listen songs into the ground, too. I think most of my brain capacity is taken up with song lyrics.

Dec 29, 2011

The Civil Wars. THE CIVIL WARS. No autotune. Stripped down and simple harmonies. Beautiful music and people. (She is adorable, and He looks like Johnny Depp's long lost brother....)

Dec 29, 2011

i tried to post earlier but it wouldn't let me. :( Second the recommendations for Florence and the Machine, The Civil Wars. I generally love anything Laura Marling or Iron and Wine. Also loved Best Coast this year (song "Our Deal"), Kovacs and the Polar Bear (song "Speckled Hen"), The Head and The Heart. love music posts! :)
happy new year Holly!

Dec 29, 2011

I've never heard that Deer Tick song before, and I love it! I just listed my top 5 from 2011 and Alex Ebert was on there, too. I just love his voice. We played a lot of Edward Sharpe songs during our wedding ceremony/reception, too.

Dec 29, 2011

Another from the FNL soundtrack that's gorgeous is "If It's the Beaches" by the Avett Brothers. They really did such an amazing job with....oooh...EVERYTHING on that show. Still tears me up a little that there's never going to be a new episode to look forward to. Although, if they do go ahead and make the movie of it I'll be all kinds of lined-up-seven-days-in-advance with my Dillon Panthers sweatshirt.
Anyway, I digress. FNL will tend to do that to a person. Well, if you're me.

Dec 29, 2011

I'm still living in the past - Bon Jovi's Cross Road album is in my car CD player as we speak. I'm not cool enough for your "new" music.

Dec 29, 2011

I'm obsessed with this song by Gotye-"Somebody That I Used to Know" feat. Kimbra.

Any of Kimbra's stuff is great as well, especially the song, "Settle Down".

A great dance/workout tune that I've had on constant repeat for the last 4 months or so is, "Bounce" by Calvin Harris feat Kelis.

I know there's a ton more but I had to wipe my computer mid-summer so I lost pretty much all my songs. I'm so glad to see all these recommendations!!

Dec 29, 2011

Now 80 is out... Eh, now. I used to buy these compilation CDs I my early teens along with Smash Hits and Top of the Pops magazines!

Dec 29, 2011

Oh no - now MY neighbors are going to be driven crazy! I totally have that Lana Del Rey song on repeat now. Great stuff! I haven't even made it through the rest of the list because I like that one so much. Looking forward to the rest.

What I've been obsessed with for the past year: The Head and the Heart. They're so great. I don't even like concerts and I saw them, like, three times. They're so good and so fun in concert! They seem like they're just having so much fun up on stage and with each other. And I couldn't stop listening to a Very She & Him Christmas, though that's sort of awkward now. I'm gonna move on to the rest of their stuff.

And your boyfriend Jay-Z of course. Because: always.

Dec 29, 2011

Another shout out for Florence she was my favourite this year. And if you like her I would also recommend Feist and Metric.

Dec 30, 2011

I think you would love Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People.
I also have not been able to stop listening to the entire album by The Vaccines.

For the holidays, it's been the new Smith and Burrows album.

Dec 30, 2011

Ps. I also like The A Team by Ed Sheeran but that's possibly because it was played on a non stop loop on every station this summer.

Dec 30, 2011

Another vote for bringing back regular music picks to your blog! Most of your songs I've never heard before, but nearly all of them line up with my own tastes, like, fact, I'm still listening to Elvis Perkins, thanks to you! Hopefully I can return the favor with my picks from this year:

- I was listening to lots and lots of Adron (free EP here: She's about 23 and hatefully talented, and she plays around my hometown of Atlanta all the time, usually for around six bucks.

- I've also been loving Dark Dark Dark (particularly Celebrate, Daydreaming, Make Time, and Wild Goose Chase).

- And the Modern Skirts (who can be mixed, truthfully, but Astronauts and Tape Deck both got heavy play this year).

- And finally, my latest obsession is Communist Daughter (I heard Speed of Sound on the college radio station and bought the entire album immediately. Northern Lights is also particularly excellent).

Dec 30, 2011

My new favorite song (and group) is "Little Words" by Of Monsters and Men.

It's been on repeat all week in my office. My co-workers love me.

Dec 30, 2011

Oops! Make that "Little Talks"! I can't believe I got it wrong.

Anyway, I think you'll like it :)

Dec 30, 2011

I LOVE Radical Face... "Ghost" was definitely the soundtrack for my 2011. Check out Au Revoir Simone...just discovered them this year. It's electronica with soul!

Dec 30, 2011

Seconding (and probably thirding and fourthing) Gotye, Florence + the Machine, and The Civil Wars. I also loved "Fire at the Pageant" by the Felice Brothers, and "Little Lion Man" by Mumford and Sons. Actually, just listen to all of Mumford and Sons' work. They're pretty much amazing.

Dec 30, 2011

Absolutely agree with Gotye "Somebody That I Used To Know" - the best song I've heard in ages. And happy to say an Australian artist (although born in Belgium) but an Aussie nonetheless.

Dec 31, 2011

WHAT?!??! No Dan Mangan??! I immediately bought his album, based on your recommendation, and proceeded to (and continue to) irritate everyone within hearing range by playing it near-constantly since. If the songs above make the list over Dan, well then ... I sense a brief respite of relief for those around me, followed by more irritation and requests to change the song.

I have been alternating Mangan with Mumford & Sons and Adele. I am not a musical person so completely depend on recommendations and the Grammy committee, apparently, for my next musical "discovery."

And I can't turn my volume on now, but is the Gotye STIUTK a cover of the Elliott Smith of the same name? Because Elliott Smith is always splendid.

Dec 31, 2011

The only song on your list that I know is #9. Which means I have a lot of work ahead of me next year. 8-)

Jan 01, 2012

a few to add to those already mentioned:

'Slumber' by NEEDTOBREATHE (my fave band, their latest album is especially great):

'Own Side Now' by Caitlin Rose (the video is way too hipster for my taste but, hey, we were all young once.):

'Catch the Wind' by Donovan:

enjoyed the post!

Jan 02, 2012

I love your playlist! Isn't Welcome Home so beautiful?

This year I loved Joshua James "Coal War" and their version of 'no milk today' is so sad.

Boy and Bear are beautiful, their cover of Fall at your feet is incredible, but their original songs are also amazing:

Another cover I loved was Angus & Julia Stone, Say it right:

In fact I am addicted to Australia's Triple J 'Like a version' compilations each year, where the above come from. Well worth checking them out on youtube!

Grouploves 'Itchin on a photograph' got stuck in my head for months!

And finally Sparkadia 'China" was extremely catchy!

As did Owl Eyes 'Raiders'

Jan 02, 2012

Laura Marling opened for Florence & the Machine, at a holiday show in Chicago...amazing and adorable. She had her best friend with her on a little mini-tour in the US, and it was just the two of them traveling around.

Jan 02, 2012

Do you know Bookends by S&G? Love that song!

Lana Del Rey, can those lips possibly be real? I guess it doesn't matter now does it?

Jan 03, 2012

One of my new fave songs I discovered in 2011 (although I think it's a pre-2010 song) is "Murder in the City" by the Avett Brothers. Also love November Blue by them. And here I will continue to show how behind I am in music, but I am quite fond of Be My Thrill and Be My Honeypie and I Was Made for Sunny Days by the Weepies. Thanks for sharing your tunes.

Jan 04, 2012

I saw Laura Marling live this year and while she's amazing, I took some solace that she is clearly uncomfortable making small talk between songs.

One of my favorite bands this year is Bedouin Soundclash, their album Light the Horizon came out in 2010 but it's great. ( A great new band is Milo Greene who I saw open for The Civil Wars (

Jan 06, 2012

Ooo, thanks! I just made multiple transactions with amazon. I have the same listening approach! My friend calls it Single Song Addiction Disorder (SSAD).

A few of mine:
Andy Zipf, The Reach is Wide (). I saw this tall beautiful red-headed man in DC recently. I love the entire Jealous Hands album. Gentle, sweet, surprisingly pitched.

Elbow, Grounds for Divorce (). New to me but they've been around a long time. (Perhaps old news to you since they're British.) Amazing live shows if you ever get the chance! I also recommend The Bones of You and One Day Like This, all from The Seldom Seen Kid album.

Any room in your heart for bluegrass?
Chatham County Line, Crop Comes In ().

Jan 06, 2012

Ooh, I've never heard of some of these bands and am excited to try them!

I think you might like Avalanche City, hokey, but so very sweet:

Love Love Love
(my favourite part: "and on our hands, our wrinkles understand we never really wanted more... I heard your heart say love, love, love...")

Ends in the Ocean:

Happy New Year :)

Jan 10, 2012

I have been obsessed with the video of First Aid Kit performing Emmylou. I think I've listened to it 85 times today.

I hope you fall in love like I did!

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