Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Dec 14th 2011 5:00PM by Spinner
The opening track from 'Zonoscope,' the Aussie dance-rock outfit's Grammy-nominated third LP, immediately made good on frontman Dan Whitford's promise to deliver a more "hypnotic" new album, reassuring fans that the record would be every bit as disco-celestial as they hoped. Beginning somewhat cautiously, the driving synths and anthemic chorus build to a typically triumphant finish. -- Theo Bark (Editor, AOL Music)
39. Lykke Li, 'Sadness Is a Blessing'
While the drums cry 'Be My Baby,' Lykke Li is past the point of pleading. Here, she accepts the heartbreak that's starting to feel familiar, celebrating loneliness like an emo Ronette. -- K.P.
38. SBTRKT feat. Drake and Little Dragon, 'Wildfire (Remix)'
Take one Canadian commercial rap star, add a post-dubstep U.K. underground producer and a Swedish-Japanese indie singer, shake, then pour over a wobbly bass line. This international cocktail is pretty much exactly what we dreamed the future of music would sound like. -- J.O.
37. The Raveonettes, 'Forget That You're Young'
The Danish duo have always made cinematic music, but even by their striking standards, this dreamy, '80s-tinged guitar ballad is hard to hear without a slow-motion montage of your own romantic collapses playing out in front of your eyes. It's music for the young at (broken) heart. -- J.O.
36. Tyler, the Creator, 'Yonkers'
Love him or hate him, Tyler's breakout track is the hip-hop head-bobber of the year. This maniacal cut has serious bite, with Tyler's steady flow of F-bombs and nasty NSFW rhymes. Who knew rapping about "threesomes with a f---ing triceratops" could earn someone so much success? -- J.C.
35. The Lonely Island, 'Jack Sparrow'
Only Andy Samberg and co. could squeak Michael Bolton onto our year-end list. This appropriately epic single is a brilliant send-up of hip-hop hooks that have nothing to do with the verses as the boys drop club-thumping tough-guy rhymes while "total cinephile" Bolton croons about the islands of Tortuga and Tony Montoya's mountains of cocaine. -- J.O.
34. Braids, 'Lemonade'
These Canadian art-rockers came out of nowhere (aka the prairies) to land their dreamy debut album, 'Native Speakers,' on the Polaris Prize shortlist. Any doubter need only listen to this mesmerizing psychedelic single that's as beautiful and challenging as making love underwater. -- J.O.
33. Deadmau5, 'Sofi Needs a Ladder'
Deadmau5's single dropped in late 2010, but damn if it didn't dominate dancefloors and earbuds all year long -- not to mention popping up in video games, 'Entourage' and 'The Hangover II.' Titular singer Sofi eschews the usual saccharine club crooning for a dirtied-up vocal that matches Deadmau5's grimy electro instrumental. -- J.O.
32. Handsome Furs, 'Cheap Music'
Handsome Furs fly high with Eastern Bloc-era electro for this frantic party-starter. We always knew this married duo was wild but, seriously, the raging tempos propelling 'Cheap Music' should come with a warning. Get a clean bill of health before you spike your adrenaline to this steamy standout from 'Sound Kapital.' -- J.C.
31. PAPA, 'I Am the Lion King'
Simba never had nearly this much swagger. The Los Angeles outfit combines explosive riffs and bravado grooves in this modern tale of young lust that hits you like a brass-knuckled gut punch -- and has you shuffling your feet at the same time. -- T.S.
30. TV on the Radio, 'Will Do'
For years, these Brooklyn art-pop titans were moving in a more soulful, accessible direction, but was anyone really expecting an R&B slow jam? The song we didn't know we wanted is now one we're thrilled to have. -- K.P.
29. The Strokes, 'Taken for a Fool'
After a lengthy hiatus, the Strokes returned with 'Angles,' which, despite a host of shortcomings, offered several notable tracks. 'Taken for a Fool' is the best of the batch, showcasing the band's apt deconstruction of their iconic sound during the verses and hammering it home with a chorus that recalls the boys' best work. -- T.S.
28. Smith Westerns, 'Weekend'
Marc Bolan would have doffed his top hat to the spangled, searing guitar lines this upstart Chicago trio conjures up on the debut single from 'Dye It Blonde.' Glam-infused, six-string wizardry aside, there's an endearing early-20s sentiment here that makes us yearn for our college days. -- R.S.
27. Beastie Boys, 'Make Some Noise'
Given all they've been through lately, the Beasties probably needed this feel-good group hug of an old-school banger as much as we did. "Make some noise if you're with me," the three MCs holler at the chorus, as if anyone could be against them. -- K.P.
26. Frank Ocean, 'Novacane'
Odd Future's resident crooner followed up his 'Watch the Throne' appearances with this emo-R&B drug ballad about meeting a girl at Coachella ("I went to see Jigga, She went to see Z-Trip") and succumbing to her vices ("Cocaine for breakfast, Yikes"). The fact that it hit the pop charts is as mind-blowing as the narcotic-soaked lyrics. -- J.O.
25. Zola Jesus, 'Skin'
The standout track from 'Conatus' might as well be the Goth cousin to Adele's 'Someone Like You.' No grand statements or crescendo here: Just pure, pretty pain. -- D.R.
24. Feist, 'How Come You Never Go There'
Fans expecting the pop concision of '1234' were no doubt surprised by the dark moodiness of 'Metals,' but 'How Come You Never Go There' is an undeniable gem. From Leslie Feist's signature smokey vocals to the muddy Neil Young-style guitar work, this slow burner is one to remember. -- T.S.
23. Death Cab for Cutie, 'You Are a Tourist'
This song speaks to anyone who's felt "too big for this small town" -- or at the very least misunderstood by the people around them. The main reason this catchy tune made our list is because it's easy to bob your head to while nursing a beer at a bar in any small town -- or big city, for that matter. -- S.C.
22. Tom Waits, 'New Year's Eve'
His throat might still be filled with gravel, but old Tom can certainly turn in a beautiful song. If you need something to soundtrack an evening of weeping and whiskey, the Spanish-tinged closing track of Waits' excellent 'Bad as Me' LP is the perfect song for you. -- D.R.
21. Cage the Elephant, 'Shake Me Down'
Need a little pick-me-up? Crank this track from the Kentucky rockers' second album, 'Thank You Happy Birthday,' and start air-drumming like crazy. If that doesn't make you smile, seek help. -- D.R.