It brings me great pleasure to welcome you to Faronheit’s Listmas 2011! For a couple weeks in December, the forward progress goes on hold to take a step backwards and examine the past year in music. Specifically speaking, this week marks the Top 50 Songs of 2011 countdown, and next week will be the Top 50 Albums of 2011. In the earliest Listmas editions dating all the way back to 2008, I’d also break down my favorite EPs, TV shows, movies, music videos and worst albums into lists, but most of that just doesn’t quite jive with the content you’d find on the site regularly, so those elements have been cut. If you want more information on those, email me and I’ll be more than happy to send those lists your way. I’ve got a couple special things planned beyond the two main lists I’ll be counting down as well, so keep an eye out for those when they emerge. In the meantime, we’ve got some hefty (but fun) business at hand. Coming up with a list of 50 and only 50 songs out of any given year is a monstrous task, particularly when you think about all the albums, EPs and 7″ singles that get unleashed week after week. After digging through pile after pile and sifting out only the songs that really stuck with me, I very well could have extended this list to 100 or more. Instead we’re left with only 50, and I’d like to think that makes them the best of the best.
There’s a reason why this list uses the word “song” and not “single”, and that’s because while commercially released singles are often the most pleasing to the ear, they’re not necessarily the best song on any given album or EP or sometimes even 7″ single (a b-side could hypothetically be better than the a-side single). If I start throwing around the word “single” when talking about this list, that limits it to what the commercial market dictates and not necessarily what quality does. Granted, many of the songs you’ll see here are also singles and have places where you can stream them or watch music videos made for them. If an mp3, audio stream or video is available for any of the songs on this list, I will do my best to link to it for your downloading/streaming/viewing pleasure. If you haven’t heard some of these songs before, naturally I encourage you to check them out in whatever way you can. It’s also worth noting that while some albums/EPs/7″ singles have a wealth of great material on them, I’m only allowing one song per artist on this list. The hope is to diversify as much as possible while also giving a little bit of credit to some of those “one hit wonders” that may have wowed with one song and then sucked with the rest. By that same token, some artists have crafted such perfection in terms of an entire record that choosing a single song from it feels a little criminal and distracting from the rest of it. Some albums are meant to be heard as one whole rather than broken down into three minute chunks. If we get to the end of this Top 50 Songs list and the artist responsible for your favorite album of 2011 doesn’t show up for some reason, I assure you I probably didn’t forget but instead couldn’t pick a single song because they were all so great. As a twist on that though, sometimes even the best albums have a song or two that jumps out at you just a touch more than the rest. You will get at least a touch of insight into some things that will appear on my Top 50 Albums list next week though. Try not to read too much into that, you may wind up deceived when this is all over. Okay, enough talking, let’s get right into the list. At a rate of 10 songs per day, here are numbers 50-41 on my list of the Top 50 Songs of 2011.