Top 50 ATL Songs of 2011

Top 50 Songs of 2011

2011 was the year I dove headlong into local music. I listened to just about everything I could get a hold of, scouring through Facebook, Bandcamp and Soundcloud in my attempts to discover as many local artists and as much local music as I possibly could. But even now I feel as if there’s so much out there that I’m missing out on. New bands and artists seem to to be sprouting up every day and the landscape of Atlanta music is constantly in flux, morphing and shifting into something unique and different.

And so while the list that is presented here will forever appear decisive and settled (year-end lists always appear to be so monolithic for some reason, when they’re really anything but), realize that it’s only reflective of my current mode of thinking. I’ve spent a lot of time with these songs and each has deservedly earned their spot, but a week from now I’m not sure that these rankings wouldn’t be considerably different.

If you want to know about my criteria, I only used two rules to guide me. The first is that the song had to be commercially available, even if only as a free download. The second is that—just as on past lists—I have decided to omit Atlanta bred artists that have had major success on the national stage. With apologies to groups like Mastodon and Manchester Orchestra, both of whom, frankly, have been written about and lauded enough, I wanted to focus exclusively on the city’s emerging artists.

Other that that, anything was fair game. You’ll no doubt find a wide variety of genres and musical approaches here. Everything from infectious pop singles to experimental electronic soundscapes, noisy sludge crankers to hip hop bangers to quiet folk ballads. It was a long year filled with a lot of great moments and some truly noteworthy music. So here, without any further ado, are the 50 songs that I felt stood above the rest in 2011.

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