Are these the prettiest songs of the year?

We’re going to take a week off in mid-December to give Megan enough time to prepare for the 2hr Indie-rock Christmas Special that will air on the 21st, so that leaves us with three other shows to program in 2011.  Our last show of the year will be the Best Albums of 2011, so we’re going to use the remaining shows to highlight some of the Rest of the Best of 2011.

And in a previously unthinkable move, this year myboytheriotgirl is going to purposefully drop the focus on albums for a week to hear some of our favourite songs of 2011.  It’s been a very solid year in music,  so we’re going to dedicate an hour this week to the artists and songs that really captured our attention in 2011 and deserve another listen.

So in the spirit of celebrating individual songs, I wonder if these three are the prettiest we heard all year long:

Having worked with some of the best of Montreal’s music scene, including members of Arcade Fire, Stars and Silver Mt. Zion, Laurel Sprengelmeyer is Secretly Canadian (even though she was born in Iowa). The National’s Aaron Dessner contributes on this awfully pretty tune from The Golden Record.

John Maus is simply inscrutable and that’s the way we like it. This reverb-soaked sing-along cover of the Molly Nilsson original is similarly simple, inscrutable, and has slowly became our favourite track off his 2011 disc, We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves.

This lead track of RAA’s Departing is bittersweet, beautiful, and speaks for itself: “And if I ever hold you again/I’ll hold you tight enough to crush your veins.”

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