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In Videos: Readers’ Poll: The Best Songs of 2011

Selections include tunes by Adele, the Black Keys and Lady Gaga

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone Dec 22, 2011
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Foo Fighters 2011

Rolling Stone recently revealed its 50 best singles of 2011. Since we’ve had our say, we asked you to name your favorite song of the year, and we’ve compiled this list of your 10 favorites. In some cases, our tastes overlapped in a big way ”“ we definitely agreed on the song of the year ”“ but there were some deviations and surprises. Click through to find out what you picked.

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Brendan’s Death Song’

The biggest surprise of your selections is “Brendan’s Death Song,” an album track from the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ latest disc, I’m With You. The song starts off as one of the band’s most tender ballads but progresses into an intense freakout spotlighting the talent of new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0rQyIIS15k[/youtube]

9. Coldplay, ‘Paradise’

Coldplay‘s new album Mylo Xyloto features a number of strong, arena-ready numbers, but your favorite is “Paradise,” a stately ballad that borrows the essence of its “para, para, paradise” hook from Rihanna‘s smash “Umbrella.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM-ejaxt_Xw[/youtube]

8. Jay-Z and Kanye West, ‘Ni**as in Paris’

Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s current hit “Ni**as in Paris” is so beloved by fans that the duo has been performing it multiple times a night on their Watch the Throne tour, sometimes several times in a row. While that may be excessive, it’s easy to understand why performing it would be so fun, what with its plentiful catchphrases and sinister beats.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN-5UnHMUzs[/youtube]

7. Lady Gaga, ‘The Edge of Glory’

Lady Gaga‘s “The Edge of Glory” is a triumph of over-the-top pop, with its stadium-sized chorus, enormous dance beats and Clarence Clemons sax solo. But the secret of its success lies in the simple power of Gaga’s songwriting, which is laid bare in this solo piano rendition from Howard Stern’s radio show earlier this year.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_GMgkcc2KM[/youtube]

6. Foster the People, ‘Pumped Up Kicks’

Foster the People came out of nowhere to give us “Pumped Up Kicks,” one of 2011’s most inescapable and maddeningly catchy hits. The lyrics deal with dark, violent fantasies, but that’s mostly lost in the tune’s barrage of simple, extremely effective hooks.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn2r48o0bs8[/youtube]

5. Lana Del Rey, ‘Video Games’

Lana Del Rey’s debut single, “Video Games,” turns the singer’s frustration with a gamer boyfriend into the stuff of grandiose drama, with her smoky voice lending glamor and intensity to one of the year’s most memorable pop ballads.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu9V3Phfsf8[/youtube]

4. Radiohead, ‘Lotus Flower’

Radiohead‘s The King of Limbs is very much an old-school album, with a set of musical themes that fit together perfectly as an eight-song suite. That said, the disc’s only single, the sexy groover “Lotus Flower,” certainly ranks among the band’s all-time best numbers.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfOa1a8hYP8[/youtube]

3. The Black Keys, ‘Lonely Boy’

The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” has only been out for a little while now, but it’s not a surprise that it almost immediately became so many readers’ song of the year. The Ohio rockers have been on their grind for years, and “Lonely Boy” is their crowning achievement as full-on rock stars ”“ the perfect blend of blues-rock grit and show-biz razzle-dazzle.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_426RiwST8[/youtube]

2. Foo Fighters, ‘Walk’

The Foo Fighters‘ seventh album, Wasting Light, delivered another crop of top-shelf rock singles, including “Walk,” your second-favorite song of 2011. The tune starts off as something of a power ballad, but by its final minute Dave Grohl is literally screaming for his life, in the most powerful musical climax of his career to date.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNT-e8AwmqU[/youtube]

1. Adele, ‘Rolling in the Deep’

In a year in which popular music seemed even more fragmented than ever, Adele’s smash hit “Rolling in the Deep” was the song pretty much everyone could agree on. The song topped our list of the year’s best singles, and you co-signed it, with a majority of readers picking it as their song of the year.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow7zrsfCuyk[/youtube]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ow7zrsfCuyk[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow7zrsfCuyk[/youtube]

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