The Can You Hear This Countdown: Single of the Year

At Christmas we get two of the greatest things in life: End-of-year lists and snowglobes. Now, we wanted to focus on one of these things and thought it would probably be easiest to feature the former. Behold, the first of the Can You Hear This Countdown (catchy, I know). We’ve compiled a list of our favourite singles, albums and artists of the year for our readers’ pleasure. First up, which singles we loved this year. Check back this week for the next two additions. Disclaimer: no end-of-year list is definitive. That is to say, none of us at Can You Hear This has listened to every single second of music that has been released via a record label, YouTube or Myspace. These are our personal choices, chosen from what we actually have listened to, that we feel will define 2011 for us. And even then, I use ‘define’ briefly. No three minutes of music is going to describe an entire year in anyone’s life. So there you go. I’m setting out with the knowledge that this project is going to fail but that doesn’t really matter, embrace the uncertainty. Someone’s been reading their Beckett.


Henry: Ghost – Ingrid Michaelson

I’ve been a huge fan of Ingrid Michaelson and her organic approach to music-making for a while now and this was an amazing end-of-year surprise. One of my favourite facts about Michaelson is that she wrote Parachute, deemed it too poppy and gave it to Cheryl Cole. I always knew that that was my favourite of Cole’s songs. Ghost is anything but ‘poppy,’ touching on themes of destruction, reduction and heartbreak. It’s pretty heavy stuff but as ever, Michaelson’s songwriting (this will be a theme in my choices) make it seem effortless. When people talking about music taking you on a journey, (I think) they mean Michaelson’s genuine heartfelt narratives that sink you into a few minutes of security and make you feel a little less alone in the world. 

Michael:  Ghosts – B I G S L E E P

The band of many names, Drive Like I Do aka Big Sleep aka The Slowdown now aka Talk House, are so good that I can forgive their irritating name changes. There is an odd conflict for the band. They are so desperate to remain anonymous but the quality of their music makes that impossible. Ghosts was the comeback single for Drive Like I Do with a new name (at that time it was only their second!?) and oh boy did it rock! The perfect song for any and all occasions and a jewel in 2011’s singles.

For Michael’s previous post on B I G S L E E P, check out this link

Jonah: You And I – Washed Out

Chillwave is a legitimate genre right? Of course it is. This haunting and far-out song off of Washed Out‘s highly anticipated debut encapsulates everything that this innovative artist is about. Mainly beautiful harmonies, echoing synthesisers, and constant drum beats. This guy is going to be huge in my opinion. In this song, he has fused so many different elements and just concocted an absolute masterpiece. Look out for his name in the future, but for now, he gets my coveted Single of the Year award.

Bal: Adult Goth – Gang Gang Dance
The first rising synth notes say it all: Adult Goth is an unstoppable force of a song that shows how mature Gang Gang Dance have become. The track itself manages to maintain an air of mystery while still asking questions such as whether the vocals should be interpreted as anguished or elated. As Brian DeGraw, of the band, definitively puts it: “This [album] felt wide-eyed, as if we were just staring at the listener.”
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