Pitchfork's Top 100 Tracks Of 2011

Add another feather to the year-end cap for M83, whose “Midnight City” heads up another list of the year’s best tracks, this time Pitchfork’s well-balanced Top 100 Tracks Of 2011. Check out the full list below; I’m happy that “Zan With That Lean” is getting the credit it deserves.

100. Thundercat – “For Love (I Come Your Friend)
99. Ill Blu – “Meltdown”
98. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Ffunny Ffrends”
97. Fever Ray – “The Wolf”
96. Peaking Lights – “All The Sun That Shines”
95. Kendrick Lamar – “A.D.H.D.
94. Sepalcure – “Pencil Pimp”
93. Wild Flag – “Romance”
92. Jacques Greene – “Another Girl”
91. The Oh Sees – “The Dream”
90. Grimes – “Vanessa”
89. SBTRKT – “Wildfire” (Feat . Little Dragon)
88. Cities Aviv – “Coastin’”
87. Zoo Kid – “Out Getting Ribs”
86. Blawan – “Getting Me Down”
85. Junior Boys – “Banana Ripple”
84. Iceage – “You’re Blessed”
83. Tiger & Woods – “Gin Nation”
82. John Maus – “Believer”
81. Yuck – “Get Away”
80. Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
79. Kelly Rowland – “Motivation” (Feat. Lil Wayne)
78. Sandro Perri – “Changes”
77. Cults – “Abducted”
76. Julianna Barwick – “Prizewinning”
75. Washed Out – “Amor Fati”
74. Dum Dum Girls – “Wrong Feels Right”
73. tUnE-yArDs – “Powa”
72. Britney Spears – “Till The World Ends (The Femme Fatale Remix)” (Feat. Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha)
71. The Men – “Bataille”
70. Holy Ghost! – “Jam For Jerry”
69. Neon Indian – “Polish Girl”
68. The Joy Formidable – “Whirring”
67. Rihanna – “We Found Love” (Feat. Calvin Harris)
66. DJ Quik – “Killer Dope”
65. Fleet Foxes – “Grown Ocean”
64. Toro Y Moi – “New Beat”
63. Bon Iver – “Perth”
62. Liturgy – “Generation”
61. Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”
60. Adele – “Someone Like You”
59. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – “The Last Huzzah! (Remix)” (Feat. Despot, Das Racist, Danny Brown & El-P)
58. PJ Harvey – “The Words That Maketh Murder”
57. The Weeknd – “House Of Balloons”
56. M83 – “Intro” (Feat. Zola Jesus)
55. Destroyer – “Chinatown”
54. Jamie xx/Gil Scott-Heron – “I’ll Take Care Of U”
53. Real Estate – “Green Aisles”
52. Action Bronson – “Larry Csonka”
51. Todd Terje – “Snooze 4 Love”
50. Atlas Sound – “Mona Lisa”
49. Katy B – “Broken Record”
48. Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci”
47. Battles – “Ice Cream” (Feat. Matias Aguayo)
46. Ty Segall – “Goodbye Bread”
45. Drake – “Headlines”
44. Nicolas Jaar – “Space Is Only Noise If You Can See”
43. Panda Bear – “Last Night At The Jetty”
42. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Otis”
41. Frank Ocean – “Novacane”
40. Burial – “Street Halo”
39. Shabazz Palaces – “Swerve… the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)”
38. Purity Ring – “Ungirthed”
37. ASAP Rocky – “Peso”
36. Jamie xx – “Far Nearer”
35. Charli XCX – “Stay Away”
34. Cut Copy – “Need You Now”
33. AraabMuzik – “Streetz Tonight”
32. Cold Cave – “The Great Pan Is Dead”
31. The Field – “Then It’s White”
30. Clams Casino – “Motivation”
29. Jai Paul – “BTSTU”
28. Danny Brown – “Monopoly”
27. The Rapture – “How Deep Is Your Love?”
26. Beyoncé – “1+1”
25. Soulja Boy – “Zan With That Lean”
24. Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
23. Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
22. Bill Callahan – “Riding For The Feeling”
21. Drake – “Marvins Room”
20. Gang Gang Dance – “Glass Jar”
19. Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”
18. St. Vincent – “Cruel”
17. Oneohtrix Point Never – “Replica”
16. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”
15. The Weeknd – “The Morning”
14. Girls – “Vomit”
13. tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”
12. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Niggas In Paris”
11. James Blake – “The Wilhelm Scream”
10. DJ Khaled – “I’m On One” (Feat. Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne)
09. Azealia Banks – “212”
08. Cass McCombs – “County Line”
07. Beyoncé – “Countdown”
06. Destroyer – “Kaputt”
05. Real Estate – “It’s Real”
04. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
03. EMA – “California”
02. Bon Iver – “Holocene”
01. M83 – “Midnight City”

As Chris Burlingame points out on Twitter, Adam from Madison, you know what to do.

Comments (110)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • For their bit about the Britney Spears song, they parenthetically wrote: “Fact: In 2011, pretty much any song in the world could be made infinitely better by the addition of a Nicki Minaj verse.”


  3. If I spend this week reading about and listening to every one of these tracks does that make me an informed and committed listener or a sad little lemming?

    • I don’t think anyone needs to apologize for figuring out what music they like by listening to tracks on a list like this. It’s fun and most people don’t have time to discover music on their own by hanging out at record stores or going to shows several times a week.

      PS- I never heard Super Bass until today and it isn’t that good.

      • I could not agree enough. I like the idea that Stereogum posts top album and top songs of 2011 allows people to discover songs/albums they may have missed during the year. To be honest, I did not check out Fucked Up’s David Comes to Life until I noticed it was on multiple Top 50 list. I think the best way to go about this is to listen to albums that other’s recommend (whether it is friends, a blog, or news outlet), while not limiting by not checking out albums they do not like.

    • A committed lemming

  4. anyone have a zip? adam from madison, where are you?

  5. and pitchfork begins to distance themselves from tyler, the creator

    • …by putting him at 16?

      • The placement is kind of deceptive. The write-up basically said, “This song is really good, and everything else he’s done is annoying.” I don’t totally disagree, but after all the support they gave Odd Future earlier in the year, it seemed odd (future).

  6. the bloody diarrhea shit kendrick lamar took this morning is better than zan wit the lean children’s theme lazy motherfucker garbage. come on son.

  7. It’s distressing that the only song by Fleet Foxes that is on this list is Grown Ocean at 65. Helplessness Blues is absolutely one of the best tracks of the year and it’s exclusion from the list is sad.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • A lot of top ranked albums this year (not specifically this list) were repeats of their former albums. Although Kaputt was solid, it does sound like every other Destroyer album. The same goes for El Camino, and even one of my favorites, Days by Real Estate.

        To be honest, I was disappointed that Radiohead did not make the list. Although KoL is not their best album, although (IMHO) it is better than In Rainbows, their were some pretty key tracks.

        • Please ignore my horrible grammar and lack of spelling. I am currently at work and am writing these comments out without editing them.

          The last paragraph should really say:
          To be honest, I was disappointed that Radiohead did not make the list. Although KoL is not their best album, (IMHO) it is better than In Rainbows, and there were some pretty key tracks that should have made the above list..

      • I was wondering how long it would take for my comment would get the old “Hidden due to low comment rating” treatment. I’m not trolling, I’m just genuinely perturbed that this stuff is as feverishly praised as it is. I would complain about the disconcerting lack of grit in modern indie, but I think Fucked Up simply took everyone else’s mojo.

    • I have to disagree with you here about Helplessness Blues. Honestly the first line about snowflakes is just way too mushy for me. Instant turnoff. Grown Ocean is my favorite song off that album for sure.

  8. I for one thought the top 10 was pretty damn solid. “Midnight City” was easily my #1, “Superbass”, “Countdown”, and “I’m On One” were definitely 3 of the years best ubiquitous radio singles (I was actually super psyched to see “I’m One One” get up that high), and “Kaputt” was my favorite track from one of the year’s most distinctive indie records. Also, Azealia Banks is mad cool. Way to go P4K, for my money, you done good.

    • After doing a CTRL+F for “Cass McCombs”, I see that no one has yet made mention of how high “County Line” is. #8! That didn’t sit well with me. It’s a good song, but more a less “You Saved My Life, pt 2″ (which only placed at #25 in ’09.) Meanwhile, only one Fucked Up track made the cut (and rather low) and Trash Talks BNM-making “Awake” got snubbed entirely.

      I think P4k is shifting toward underground hip-hop / R&B more so these days rather than indie rock. Just looking at the bottom half of their best albums so far announced, Fucked Up’s David Comes to Life got shafted big time.

      • Yeah, if there was one album on their list that got dicked big time it was David Comes to Life – I think it’s a greater sign that indie rock has lost its edge. It’s why metal keeps picking up more castoffs from the hipster set.

        • I agree and think the golden revival of indie rock is tapering off. I don’t doubt that there will still be mass success for the more universally sounding artists such as Bon Iver or Arcade Fire, but the direction that influential tastemaking sites like Pitchfork seem to be going in appears to favorably embrace R&B, hip-hop, dance, electronic and pop more and more. I believe a lot of indie rock’s resurgence in the past decade was fueled by trendiness as well. Take a look around you — The word “hipster” has become a pop culture punchline with negative connotations, and thus it’s become not so trendy to align yourself with that image. The rave-y dubstep scene blew up this year, which is where I think a lot of trendy music fans are gravitating right now while — as you said — metal (and I’ll insert hardcore) are where the rest of the castoffs that still want indie with edge are finding comfort.

          • Yeah, this was definitely the year I got really invested in metal and I think a big part of that is that there just weren’t that many big indie records that I really liked (Past Life Martyred Saints, David Comes to Life, The Year of Hibernation, New Brigade, Kaputt, and Cloud Nothings were some notable exceptions) whereas a lot of the big indie stuff that people seemed to really like didn’t do anything for me (Days, Within and Without, Era Extrana, Underneath the Pine to name a few).

      • I thought County Line was well placed. Probably my favorite track this year, and to say it was “You Saved My Life, pt 2″ seems a bit off. Both are beautiful songs but You Saved My Life is cotton candy compared to the glumness of County Line.

        Other remarks on the list: It’s Real over Green Isles or Out of Tune?

        • I’ll go ahead and defend “Days” because it reminds me of the Feelies and Yo La Tengo (and not just because they’re all from Jersey).

          As for P4K, they’ve embraced mainstream pop for quite a while so I don’t see why anyone gets so butthurt about Super Bass being in the top 10 (listened to it… meh?). Arguing with a list is as pointless as arguing with a wall.

          My biggest concern is this: Where do we who seek noisy punk-derived “indie” go?

          • The noisy punk-derived “indie” will always be there, but just not looked at as “cool” in the eyes of some of our easily influenced peers. STAY STRONG.

      • Which is funny because on Spin’s list, David Comes to Life took home top honors.

  9. at least they got #1 right…..no lotus flower :(

    • I feel like if anyone else wrote KoL, it would easily be considered one of the best albums of the year. Although on the surface the album seems simple with basic beats, if you listen closely, you will notice how detailed it really is. All in all, I wish more people gave the album credit, since I believe it is their best since Amnesiac.

  10. Here is all the evidence anyone needs that ranking art is stupid:

    48. Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci”

    55. Destroyer – “Chinatown”

    • WOW. so no Touch by Holy Other. to each his own

    • 6. Destroyer — “Kaputt”

      Problem Solved. “Chinatown” is one of my least favorite off Kaputt and it’s my album of the year. Go figure.

      Also I watched that “Gucci Gucci” video for the first time last night… and I won’t even tell you what I really think.

      • I think even the worst Destroyer song is not worse than Kreayshawn. Compare the write-ups – The one on Chinatown explains about the actual music content, and the one on Kreayshawn essentially says “well it was a controversial song that is pretty garbage. OR IS IT INFECTIOUS POP DIY?!!” no it’s garbage.

        • Yeah…. I completely disagree. Destroyers album was in my top 5 of the year. but I still think Gucci is a better song than Chinatown. In fact its my favorite rap song of the year. Now if they had put Demo For Kara Walker at 55 and Kreashawn at 48, I would have had a problem with that. Thats’ probably the best song of the year.

      • Its actually a little frustrating how Pitchfork subscribes to the “it can be consumed ironically so it is relevant” which is like…okay then, so Hammer’s U Can’t Touch this was actually a top 50 song of 1990? Come on, pitchfork. and then this gem:

        But memes matter, so whether you’re scoffing or grinning, there’s no denying that “Gucci Gucci” and its ensuing mayhem (27 million YouTube views, a record deal said to be worth a million dollars, unending streams of thinkpieces and GIF-based fan Tumblrs) is one of the least boring things that happened in music all year. And for that, even the most stalwart naysayers owe Kreayshawn a little love. –Carrie Battan

        -why do memes matter? (they don’t)
        -if a lot of people are scoffing, why is that? (because it is a garbage song)
        -27 million youtube views and a million dollar deal? Oh so we’re rewarding having mass appeal? I guess we should have given FRED a track of the year too?

        -Least boring?? Good lord, the reason the song is hilarious and terrible at all is BECAUSE IT IS SO BORING AND TERRIBLE
        - Why would a “Naysayer” owe the thing they are naysaying anything? Especially love?

        Carrie Battan…you are wrong about every word you wrote about this awful thing.

        • I agree with everything you said except about how memes don’t matter.


          Memes shape the artistic and cultural landscape constantly and in very big ways. Written language itself is a meme. For being so harsh on people for misusing “pretentious” in other threads, don’t misuse words/meanings and expect no consequences.

          • I didn’t misuse the word though. That write up on Kreayshawn barely has a word dedicated to the actual music in the song. So saying “Memes matter” is kind of like saying “this song is culturally important because it’s culturally important.” I think that’s pretty lame.

            I also still don’t think that a meme matters. If you want me to be more specific I’ll say “Memes shouldn’t matter in the context of making a list of your favourite songs of the year.” It’s a cop out. If Memes matter, why wasn’t Rebecca Black #1? Surely that was the a far more widespread and important song of 2011.

    • Not sure if anyone covered this already but why does Pitchfork not have a comments section? The Kreayshawn mention is a travesty. Are they worried about their tween relevancy? Better than Fleet Foxes, Tune-yards, Joy Formidable, Iceage.. no.

  11. Lack of Phantogram- Don’t Move and I Break Horses- Winter Beats= bullshit.

  12. There was a LOT of disposable pop and dumb memes on this list. In a few years, I don’t think this one will hold up as well as some of the previous Pitchfork lists have.

  13. Also, it seems that they limited themselves to two tracks per artist.

  14. This list needs 100% more Art of Almost

  15. Anyone have the classic link to download, its been around here since 2007. Hope someone share soon


  16. I’m surprised by the absence of “Under Cover of Darkness.” I mean, yeah, that album kind of sucked, but remember how exciting it was hearing that insanely catchy riff before the album dropped?

  17. Of Junior Boys, “Banana Ripple”, I only like the The Field remix. The Field is present too, but with “And Then It’s White” (which is a free download on the web, if you look around) which is a rather unconvincing track. No, I much prefer “Burned Out”, and that is not on this list. What a joke.

    Gang Gang Dance is there with the non convincing “Glass Jar”, but “Mind Killer” is not on the list. And Washed Out is listed with “Amor Fati”? Where is “Eyes Be Closed”?

    Thank you, I’ve seen enough.

    • Hey bartl! We have similar taste in music.

      First on the J. Boys vs. The Field remix, weren’t you disappointed that The Field’s remix was actually SHORTER than the J. Boys original? As a huge Field fan one of the things I come to expect is long songs, so the last thing I wanted from “Banana Ripple” was LESS Banana Ripple, na’mean? “Banana Ripple” is honestly one of the better songs of 2011, should even be higher. J. Boys did something really pristine and magical and it IS their longest song to date. A notable accomplishment in its own right.

      I hear you on preferring “Burned Out”. When you hear “Burned Out” does it make you think that The Field did Washed Out better than Washed Out? Maybe it’s the similarity in the song title, but I feel The Field has been doing that chilled out repetition much longer that W.O. At the end of the day, “It’s Up There” is the winner from Looping State of Mind.

      Glad we had this talk. Field fans are hard to come by.

  18. Glad to see “The Morning” charting in the Top 20.

    I’ve saved a lot of money on milk ever since I switched to Alizé and ditched the Cocoa Puffs for breakfast.

  19. What about Hell Broke Luce? Guess it was missing a Nicki Minaj verse…

  20. No Lonely Boy?

  21. See, there’s an art to being an Indie-Blog List Author. You have to be “inclusive” enough to rate catchy pop songs that were popular during the year, UNLESS those songs were by indie-ish bands. Because then, they were uncool “sell-out” songs, see?

    So, some of the most popular songs of this year (Pumped Up Kicks, Lost In My Mind) are ignored and mediocre RnB and very bad hip-hop songs take their place.

    Similarly, here are some relatively popular “indie” songs (XM-rotation kind of stuff) that were certainly better than Beyonce, Kreayshawn, and Kelly Rowland:

    Strokes “Under Cover”
    Vaccines “If You Wanna”
    Lykke Li “Get Some”
    Generationals “Greenleaf”
    Tapes n Tapes “Badaboom”
    Smith Westerns “Weekend”
    Decemberists “Down By The Water”
    Elbow “Open Arms”

    • I say those songs are “certainly better,” but I shouldn’t. It’s all opinion, of course.

      • Not disagreeing with your logic, but “Weekend” was on their list last year at number 50 or so, from what I remember.

      • Yes, it’s all opinion: for instance, I dislike The Vaccines very much. Well, I’m not one of the “indie-blog list authors” you mentioned but a regular follower of those. And, I guess, my taste of music is open-minded enough to enjoy both an Elbow song (“The Night Will Always Win”) and a “mediocre RnB” Beyoncé song (where’s “Run the World (Girls)” on the Pitchfork list, by the way?).

    • “Under Cover” was great, I’ll give you. I’ll also say I’m not huge on Kelly Rowland. But I’ll take a great Beyonce anthem over pretty much anything on your list any day (especially the Deshitberists). Also, as goofy as that song is, Kreayshawn is a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. Also, “Weekend” (which I’ll also say is pretty awesome) was on their last year. Also, “Pumped Up Kicks” feels like Real Estate-lite or something like that. I wouldn’t call it any more than a mediocre sorta-indie track whereas I’d say “Countdown” “I’m One One” “Superbass” “Gucci Gucci” “1+1″ and “Paris” are all fantastic pop anthems (I’d personally also put “Edge of Glory” in there too).


  23. i was surprised that locked by four tet wasn’t on here

  24. Props for for putting Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – “The Last Huzzah! (Remix)” on the list.

  25. Why did they chose THAT Dum Dum Girls song? ‘Coming Down’ was definitely the best Off of theirs… Uh, why isn’t the Rapture on this? Or Pete Yorn, for that matter. They could have rid themselves of a lot of tracks that are, quite frankly, trash- Britney spears and Rihanna? Come on- and replaced than with some really under appreciated ones. For example, City And Colour- Fragile Bird; Slown Club- Two Cousins ; and HELLO.. Grouplove- Colours- or Slow..winter one would do.. DON’T. Even get me started on the fact that their is not any Danger Mouse and Daniele Lupi or Broken Bells..Smh and, seriously people, how many times can we put ‘Midnight City’ as number one? I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear it on the radio soon. Double Smh.

  26. interesting song choice from kurt vile’s record. “baby’s arms” and “society is my friend” seem more like list material to me.

  27. You can say what you like about Pitchfork (oh, you already did) but I’ve discovered a shitload of new music from that site in the last few years, so as mad as it makes me sometimes, I’ll carry on checking in there and here pretty much every day, and I love working through these lists every year.

  28. Yup, any zip file would be great!

  29. Well, they got #1 right.

  30. The thing is… they gave BNM to three other songs from Parallax and they put ‘Mona Lisa’ instead? I don’t know what criteria they used to create this list.

  31. Not putting Phantogram’s “Don’t Move” on that list is one of the single greatest injustices to ears EVER. I swear they forget about have of their own shit. No “Crystalline”. No “Shake It Out”. NO RADIOHEAD. They are dead to me forever.

    Some other songs I think deserve WAY more love:
    “Desire” by Anna Calvi (DEAR GOD THAT WOMAN)
    “Civilian” by Wye Oak
    “Baby Says” by The Kills (most underrated song of the year, IMO)
    “Lofticries” by Purity Ring (I like it considerably more than “Ungirthed”)
    “Marathon” by Tennis
    “Kimmi in a Ricefield” by Twin Sister
    “Lose It” and “The Beat and the Pulse” by Austra
    “We Added It Up” by My Brightest Diamond
    “My House” by Hercules and Love Affair (house PERFECTION. period.)
    “Written on the Forehead” by PJ Harvey (favorite song from favorite album of the year)
    “Wash.” by Bon Iver (I know “Holocene” is a great song. But I still hate it. It’s like a sad musical fart I wish would just dissipate already. I’m ready to receive the hate for that. But first just let me repeat it: “HOLOCENE” BY BON IVER IS THE SADDEST MUSICAL FART THAT I WISH WOULD JUST DISSIPATE FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING PURE AND GOOD ON THIS EARTH).

    • They pretty much hated Biophilia though. It wasn’t her best effort but it got way too much shit, and at the very least Crystalline and Mutual Core are ridiculously fun and maybe even great songs. The lack of Radiohead but people’s expectations for TKOL were kind of all over the place, so I’m not awfully surprised.

    • farts are funny

  32. How did they forget “Grown [frickin'] Ocean”??

  33. amidst all this, I think it’s safe to conclude that Nicki Minaj’s Superbass was more of a controversial decision if anything. It’s probably in the top ten worst things I’ve heard all year. I sincerely believe this as an act of trolling everyone who’s been upset about this above me.

  34. Was anyone else rather surprised to how much Neon Indian was seemingly dogged by P4K? I dunno, personally I loved Era Extrana and found it to be just as enjoyable (if not even more than) Psychic Chasms and that album didn’t even crack their top 50?! Personally I also thought “Polish Girl” was one of the top 10 songs of the year.

  35. Kreayshawn! I think you need a Google map!

  36. Pitchfork annually has one good feature, and that is the best of the guest lists. This is where you find out what the more interesting musicians of the year are listening to, which is a far more valuable resource and much more interesting than what music writers or even the fans think.

  37. I don’t understand how you all can be a part of a counter-culture, yet be just as robotic and sheep-like as the square members of conventional society that you try so desperately not to be like. Get real. People are allowed to have opinions and to think that this list sucks. The naivety and arrogance of youth is pathetic sometimes.

  38. Dirty Beaches
    ‘True Blue’
    ‘Lord Knows Best’
    ‘A Hundred Highways’
    ‘Speedway KIng’

    Makeout Videotape
    ‘Only You’

  39. I just listened to Gucci Gucci and it was kind of WTF.

    Super Bass at #4 was a surprise but that song is so fucking infectious, so no complaint from me.

  40. my top two favorite tracks of the year are “glass bubbles” by all tiny creatures, which is such an emotional bubble waiting to burst, and “thankless thing” by wild beasts, which certainly must be the apex of their career.


  41. Hidden due to low comment rating.

  42. try my top 500 track list for 2011.. you’ll have to wait on top 55..http://marcusrimondini.blogspot.com/

  43. Terrible list. Typical of Pitchfork, just riding out the current trends. Ultimately 85 percent of this is entirely forgettable and simplistic music. Newsflash…hip-hop is not music, just noisy poetry, and not good poetry by any stretch of the imagination. You can like it all you want, just don’t equate hip-hop musicians to real musicians who, brace yourselves, read music and/or play instruments. Pitchfork = the Urban Outfitters of the music criticism world. That is not a compliment.

  44. Elyse Howdershell  |   Posted on Mar 9th, 2012 0

    I have some predictions for 2012…I’m sensing some Neon Indian, Beach House, Washed Out,&St. Lucia.
    Check out St. Lucia’s “We Got It Wrong” vid:)


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