2011 Favorites

We have arrived yet again at the annual year-end “Fingertips Favorites” list, and let us recognize right away that this is a list of my favorite free and legal MP3s of the year—not the “best” ones. I have not listened to every single free and legal MP3 that was available this year, and even if I did, I could never assure you which the best ones were. But I can clearly point you to my favorite ones, which is what I am here now to do.

And yet even this isn’t so straightforward. Given that I’m only choosing three songs per week, and they are always three songs I really like, it’s hard to create this smaller list of favorites from the overall 150 or so favorites that I select every year. And it’s additionally hard to make these into a proper list, in a meaningful order. Weird things happen when I attempt this. Sometimes songs that spent time in the upper reaches of the ongoing Fingertips Top 10 get shunted to the bottom of the year-end list. Even more unaccountably, sometimes a song that made it to the Top 10 during the year does not end up as one of my top 20 favorites, while at the same time a song or two that never did make the Top 10 appears as if by magic onto the year-end favorites list. I’m not sure how this happens but this year it’s happened twice.

I once again will present the songs in two lists of 10. Those who want to get right to it, go ahead and hit the top 10 list; if you have a bit more time, the 11-20 list is obviously worth a listen also.

You can hear the songs on the spot by clicking on the play buttons—if you start at the top, it will play them all in order, with just the one click. You can read the original reviews by clicking on the date next to each band name, which is the date of the original Fingertips post.


1. “Love To Get Used” – Matt Pond PA   (April 27)
2. “Serpents” – Sharon Van Etten  (December 1)
3. “Teeo” – Vedoinmessico  (October 12)
4. “Casablanca Nights” – Johan Agebjörn  (May 19)
5. “The Great Pan is Dead” – Cold Cave  (February 10)
6. “Shake” – The Grenadines  (November 17)
7. “Amor Fati” – Washed Out  (August 3)
8. “Queen of Hearts” – The Unthanks  (March 30)
9. “Friends of Friends” – Hospitality  (September 22)
10. “Plath Heart” – Braids  (January 6)


11. “The Fox” – Niki and the Dove  (May 4)
12. “Kick Me Where It Hurts” – The Booze  (February 17)
13. “My Mistakes” – Eleanor Friedberger  (April 27)
14. “Sunset Sunrise” – Grace Jones  (June 9)
15. “Drop Names Not Bombs” – Louise Burns  (September 8)
16. “When You Go Down” – Gross Relations  (September 15)
17. “Seeds We Sow” – Lindsey Buckingham  (September 22)
18. “Civilian” – Wye Oak  (January 18)
19. “Old Friend” – Caveman  (August 11)
20. “Last Dance” – Gabriel Kahane  (July 27)

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