Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
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So, rather than rehash all that, we'll just get to the chase. Here are our picks for the Best Songs of 2011. Have a listen to each one of them below, and let us know why we're awesome or how our taste is so horrible. (Click here for the full list, and listen to the playlist on Spotify.)
60. My Morning Jacket, 'Holdin on to Black Metal'
Actually, what Jim James is holding on to is the funky experimentalism he first tried on 2005's 'Z' and fully embraced -- with mixed results -- on 2008's 'Evil Urges.' Here, he gets it right, as horns and female singers help him offer a tongue-in-cheek rebuke of satanic Scandinavian rock. -- Kenneth Partridge (Editor, AOL Music)
59. The Naked and Famous, 'Punching in a Dream'
The lyrics don't make clear whether this is a song about overcoming fears or succumbing to them, but the stadium synths leave little doubt. This electro-pop anthem makes you feel invincible, if only for 3:58. -- K.P.
58. The Civil Wars, 'Barton Hollow'
A sense of guilt-ridden foreboding pervades this fried-to-perfection southern yarn, its murderous narrators trudging across the lines of the song to a deliciously heavy-strummed acoustic beat. It's hard not to imagine this alt-Americana thumper landing squarely on a Coen Brothers soundtrack. -- Rob Smy (Editor in Chief, AOL Music)
57. Sleeper Agent, 'That's My Baby'
The Kentucky kids slow it down in this retro ballad, which harkens back to the tuneful melodicism of '60s girl groups via early-millennial garage-revival crunch. Throw this song on, grab your baby and slow dance to your heart's content. -- Theo Spielberg (Writer/Reporter, Spinner/AOL Music/Huffington Post)
56. Iceage, 'New Brigade'
These Danish punks are waging war on mediocrity, and they're looking for new recruits. "Pointlessness in surroundings/Cannot ruin things," sings 19-year-old Elias Bender Ronnenfelt as shrapnel-sharp Wire riffs whip by at hardcore velocity. Where do we enlist? -- K.P.
55. Lights, 'Everybody Breaks a Glass'
The title-appropriate broken-glass beatscape, courtesy of Toronto electronic experimentalists Holy F---, proves the Canadian electro-pop star's crystalline vocals just needed sharper edges to play with -- and maybe a fierce verse from compatriot Shad. "Somewhere perfection lies/But not for you and I," she sings, summing up her evolution. -- Joshua Ostroff (Senior Editor, Spinner Canada)
54. Diarrhea Planet, 'Warm Ridin''
Inspired by an elderly woman crossing the street in the middle of Nashville's rush hour, 'Warm Ridin'' rolls on with the authority of a nearsighted ancient sage. Their name references an unpleasant condition, but Diarrhea Planet and their four-guitar attack (!) reign supreme as a bowel-shaking punk band. -- Cameron Matthews (Associate Editor, Spinner/AOL Music)
53. The Kills, 'Future Starts Slow'
With a menacing drumbeat and jagged guitar riff, this 'Blood Pressures' track turns into an alluringly aggressive love letter, thanks to the dual vocals of Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart. Never has a temper tantrum sounded so hot. -- Dan Reilly (Editor, Spinner)
52. Theophilus London, 'Girls, Girls $'
Brooklyn hipster-hopper Theophilus London drops a straight-up party jam, albeit one mocking party girls. The lyrics are self-consciously crass -- mean-spirited, even -- but its claustrophobically busy beat, monster guitar riffs and space-disco synths are guaranteed to fill dance floors, even as it makes you hate the person dancing beside you. -- J.O.
51. Wilco, 'Art of Almost'
This is the type of epic kick-the-doors-down opener Wilco needed to shake things up on their eighth LP. From the throbbing bass line to the squall of white noise and Jeff Tweedy's talk of "other ways to hurt myself," this dark tune singlehandedly proves Wilco is far from delivering their swan song. -- Jenny Charlesworth (Deputy Editor, Spinner Canada)
50. Pujol, 'Mayday'
Daniel Pujol stands tall amid Nashville's current domination of seedy, scuzzy rock. 'Mayday,' the standout track from his 'Nasty, Brutish, and Short' EP, features a vocal knife fight and driving distortion that will get your body shaking and your brain swimming in discount American lager. -- C.M.
49. Givers, 'Up Up Up'
This appropriately titled bouncer is the perfect introduction to the ebullient quintet from Lafayette, La. Landing somewhere between Dirty Projectors and Vampire Weekend, this song never fails to put a smile on our face. -- T.S.
48. Kreyashawn, 'Gucci Gucci'
Who gives a damn about Kreayshawn's White Girl Mob street cred or her ridiculous Rick Ross beef? 'Gucci Gucci' earned its spot here on the strength alone of that skittery neo-Dre swamp beat and her insta-classic post-feminist quotable: "I got the swag and its pumping out my ovaries." -- J.O.
47. Neon Indian, 'Polish Girl'
Alan Palomo -- the man credited with inventing the chillwave microgenre that has been all the (chill)rage -- debuted a refined and streamlined sound with his sophomore album's lead single, 'Polish Girl.' Half icy austerity and half '80s hit, the synth-laden jam boasts the lonely introspection of shoegaze and the toe-tapping danceability of pop music. -- T.S.
46. Steve Earle, 'Waitin' on the Sky'
In a year plagued by natural disasters, revolutions, more economic meltdowns and the beatings of Occupy protesters around the world, we wouldn't be surprised if the sky fell too, tomorrow. As always, the Hardcore Troubador turns in a great country-rock anthem. -- D.R.
45. Foo Fighters, 'Rope'
Once again, Dave Grohl and co. prove why they've earned the title of rock's reigning statesmen. 'Rope' starts with a guitar reverb that hooks you right away, and the rest of the song, well, it's pure Foo Fighters, complete with Grohl's signature guitar thrashing and Taylor Hawkins' vicious drum accompaniment. -- Sarah Chazan (Editor, AOL Music Blog)
44. Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi Feat. Jack White, 'Two Against One'
Michael Bolton isn't the only cinephile on our list. Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi recorded an entire album inspired by spaghetti westerns. Then they invited the always-up-for-it Jack White to add his inimitable vocals into the mix for this song about a man dueling with himself. -- J.O.
43. Lindstrøm, 'De Javu'
The Norwegian beatsmith's largely indecipherable (but occasionally gospel-fired) vocals don't even drop until a couple minutes into the sprawling track. By then they're simply adding another element to the barrage of burbling bass, clattering drums, ominous horns and nu-disco groove that's gleefully welcoming us back to the retro-future. -- J.O.
42. Cymbals Eat Guitars, 'Keep Me Waiting'
Unexpected chord changes and howling guitars ring out from the speakers of frontman Joseph D'Agostino and crew. With this track, the band crafts a hazy memory of Jersey's shoreline that makes you feel like you were there, picking beer out of the Styrofoam cooler. -- C.M.
41. Lana Del Rey, 'Video Games'
We never expected a song about a lover being glued to his Xbox to make us swoon, but breakout pop sensation Lana Del Rey tugs at our heartstrings with her dreamy retro-romp about "kissing in the blue dark/playing pool and wild darts." -- J.C.