Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2011 (70-41)

70. Silva - "12 de Maio" ♫♫♫
Your inner hipster might initially reject a song like “12 de Maio;” it’s too pretty, to ready-made to be used in some cheesy movie trailer. Well, hopefully you also have a change of heart around the 3-minute mark, because this is a damn near perfect slice of tropical baroque. In a lot of ways, 2011 was Brazil’s breakout year at Club Fonograma, and “12 de Maio” plays along like an anthem of the things to come. - Gillén

69. Selena Gomez & The Scene -
"Middle of Nowhere"

From the very first menacing seconds of its stomping intro, "Middle of Nowhere" crafts a compelling narrative driven by vulnerability, dismay, and resilience that would make Kelly Clarkson proud. The second verse approaches perfection with the extended broken record metaphor in the lyrics accompanied by creaky record scratch effects that manage to reinforce the metaphor without cheapening it, which is an impressive feat. And the crushing chorus is some serious "Dancing On My Own"-style devastation on the dance floor. - Méndez

68. Félix y Los Clavos -
Any pupil or protégée of Daniel Melero deserves our undivided attention. Argentine pop maker Felix Cristiani isn’t new to our radar, but rather, a contender for the year’s most improved indie act. Owning up to its poised title, “Sensacional” is a colossal piece that strikes for pop infinitum. Arousing to the point of desperation, and following the lyrics’ premise of a curse that enlightens the heart, Felix y Los Clavos have surpassed narrative curiosity and climbed all the way up to the melodic skyscraper. - Reyes

67. Los Rakas - "Ta Lista" ♫♫♫
Whatever your definition of a 2011 Alternative Urban hit is, it better sound like "Ta Lista." Panama's Los Rakas sing about family business, panties, and national and circumstantial identity in what they’ve rightfully classified as “El Flow Californiano.” The front single off Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada is a tour-de-force number that's so high caliber, you better believe the duo when they claim to be "dangerous." Its fragmented depths and hinting disco strings work perfectly under the Panabay slang, one in which the Oakland cruisers once again plays ode to its beloved Mexican fanbase. - Reyes

66. Escuela de Trance -
"El vi
aje de la pipi" ♫♫♫
Sure, “El viaje de la pipi” has a charming verse section with a playful acoustic guitar and lyrics that speak of singing Beatles songs and wearing coloured “pull-overs,” but what’s really awesome about it is when you finally reach that batshit chorus that seems to hit some sort of strange sweet spot in pop music that gleefully marries the cute with the catastrophic. It’s terribly catchy, childish, and an emotionally affecting quest in finding the ideal balance between straightforward pop and musical absurdity. - Lestruhaut

65. El Medio -
“Publio Ovidio Nas
ón ♫♫♫
El Medio confirms himself as an outright versatile and offbeat songwriter in his “destacado” EP El fin del sueño... Though with his last track to date, “Publio Ovidio Nasón,” Leonardo Velázquez has seemingly decided to sacrifice his leaning towards melodical naivete, electronic venture, and personal song-writing style, in order to explore pop ingenuity through more traditional musicianship in the form of bossa-inspired guitar, thus remaining a songwriter that never truly stops surprising his own listeners. - Lestruhaut

64. Piñata - "Mexican Machotes" ♫♫♫
Under the hyphenated premise of a garage-tropical sound (like that of Margarita or Kana Kapila), Spain's newcomers Piñata claim to have an affinity for punches in the mouth, sexy moves, and an adoration for counterfeit idols. The unveiling of a tribal-harmonious exposé in “Mexican Machotes,” makes this five-piece band just seem like the real deal. There’s something very special when hearing a band shout “Uno, dos, tres, cuatro!” between the bridge and the climax of their songs; they’re immersing us into their garage rehearsals and, in a way, make us part of the pushing of the pedals. - Reyes

63. Pernett - "La Galáctica" ♫♫♫
Colombian cumbia wizard Pernett talks about star seeds as if these luminous spheres of plasma grew from the soil and were eventually catapulted into the constellations of our Earth's sky nights. Pernett is our generation's AstroTropical god, and "La Galáctica" is his most overwhelming work on asterism. Embalming a composition of drums that (through bite rate) transcode into cosmic dust and howling to his ancestry brigade, Pernett shows he's a sonic maverick and the most intricate gardener. - Reyes

62. Nubes en Mi Casa -
"La Ventana"
"Solo quiero sentirme un poco mejor." Have you ever been so heartbroken that you've lost all desire? Or how about that eternal afternoon you spent looking through a window in hopes of feeling something. Hopefully you haven't hit pavement this hard, but if you have, Nubes En Mi Casa has crafted this year's amendment on hanging by a thread. Beautifully orchestrated in slow-paced melody lines that build up to a soaring finale that finally brings out the luminaries. This isn't a song about a breakup, it's about the brutal letter/email/text you know it's coming your way right before absolute devastation. - Reyes

61. Víctor Hugo - “Así es como se
arruina un verano”
Only seconds into the track, you can almost feel the tension of an old spaghetti western duel building up. The initial heavy pounding beat and steady guitar strumming are joined by an almost frightening backing vocal harmony. Then the track morphs into a stunning series of chord progressions leading us into the inevitable grandiose climax and finale. Víctor Hugo directly embraces the same compositional form and structure of great Morricone climactic tracks like “L’Arena” or “The Ecstasy of Gold,” creating something that emotionally brings us back to the experience of watching films. - Lestruhaut

60. Lucila Inés –
“Todas las letras de tu nombre” ♫♫♫
Argentina’s adorable singer-songwriter Lucila Inés’ first work has yet to be released, but she has already acquired the faith and interest of many publications with her her exquisite and gorgeous craftsmanship. Accompanied mainly by her acoustic guitar, Inés metaphorically explores the possibility of her instrument’s strings becoming birds, flying by their own will, obtaining their own form. Poetically, when personified musically, they grant her the letters of her beloved which she caresses and protects as precious jewels; just like we do, one way or another, when we fall in love. - Coyotzi

59. Maifersoni – “Andina” ♫♫♫
Tracing immersive soundscapes through resonant walls of mind-altering electronic beats and rough abysmal textures, Chilean experimenter Maifersoni has beautifully pushed his creativity to another level with the enveloping “Andina.” Reaching ecstasy, the song violently but playfully swirls to a stirring, sublime climax that by the moment it peaks, its spell won’t let you go. Then everything flows naturally, as it resplendently unravels, perplexing and surprising with stupefying qualities. - Coyotzi

58. Los Migues -
"A vos no te importa nadie"
If you were to search for "virtuously catchy," you'd fine Migue somewhere in there. Unlike "Oso Panda" last year, this song has overcome its novelty phase through its close-to-the-heart warmth; we should’ve expected you love your pets as much as we love ours. “A Vos No Te Importa Nadie” tells the story of a highly energetic dog that has to stay tied up because of his misconduct. This touching story is accompanied by an equally sad composition comprised by lo-fi riffs, claps, and some depressing (but engaging) strings. - Reyes

57. Doble Pletina –
ica para cerrar las discotecas
A lovely, lighthearted anthem that hit our radar during these final weeks of the year, boy-girl duo Doble Pletina’s “Música para cerrar las discotecas” is indie pop renaissance at its finest. Bringing impossibly catchy hooks (think of Family’s Un Soplo en el Corazón) and an indelible melody, both of the singer’s voices function remarkably (like in El Columpio Asesino’s “Toro”). The song raises the question of what’s the ideal tune to end a clubbing night. In an ideal dimension, this would be a perfect one to finalize the party and raise some smiles (“música que acabe con todas las fiestas”). - Coyotzi

56. Mentira Mentira - "My L.S.D." ♫♫♫
"I need something to be happy. To stop sadness. Ecstasy? Marijuana maybe? What I really want the most is my L.S.D!" I bet you never cared to stop and read the lyrics. This is the declaration of a user's psyche and a veneration of the substance. Meaningmore's ultimate highlight plays like that big rushing anthem every band should be entitled to, and yet it also has the characteristics of an anti-single. It’s this raw combination in Gaby Noriega's escalating noise and catchy hooks that might alienate more than a few, in fact, the majority. An individual's relationship with drugs should be this raw and self-indulging. - Reyes

55. Monte - "Imperios" ♫♫♫
Contrary to what Monte's Bandcamp tags might suggest about their sound (krautrock, experimental, noise), their avant hybridity doesn’t necessarily slap its listeners with tireless ignorance. “Imperios” stays within that exercise of turning ambient noise into noise rock for the purpose of laying bridges upon bridges of churning grindstone riffage, eventually telling us that these guys aren’t really making noise via rock songs (as opposed to many bloggable 2010 lo-fi acts), but they’re actually subduing noise to great riffs and better bridges. - Lestruhaut

54. Capullo - "Pretextos" ♫♫♫
It seems that guitar-driven '90s revival acts won’t be the only popular tendency that transports us to that decade this year. Capullo’s new single, “Pretextos,” evokes the kind of dance pop that, mixed with subtle house elements, generated a great number of hits during that period. However, the track goes further into provocatively exploring this aesthetic, introducing us to a sparkling reinvention of that era that resembles acts like Jeans or Paradiso, accurately including parts with disco strings, which work deliciously and also remind us of our recent obsession with them. - Coyotzi

53. Pegasvs -
"La melodía del a
filador" ♫♫♫
When Spanish newcomers Pegasvs broke into our conscious with this song, they immediately disoriented our senses and dislocated every appendage in our appendicular skeleton. “La Melodia del Afilador” is SHARP and it gets you straight to the bone. It carries what we would now call "the new great Spaniard rock flair," a sort of left-field progression of rock and roll, almost satanically conceived by bands like Triangulo de Amor Bizarro and El Columpio Asesino. - Reyes

52. Alex Anwandter -
Como puedes vivir contigo mismo
The nervous percussion of Rebeldes' opener “Como puedes vivir contigo mismo” serves as an undercurrent to the song’s “Luz de Piedra de Luna”-evoking disco strings, like the jittery pulse beneath the rapture of the if-this-is-wrong-I-don’t-want-to-be-right sentiment of “aunque sea pecado yo me siento en el cielo.” The music is layered so meticulously that it’s hard not to get wrapped up in that same sentiment. (If this song is wrong, I don’t want to be right either, Alex.) - Méndez

51. El Sueño de la Casa Propia -
"Pobre Ave" ♫♫♫
Wherein ESDLCP delivers the same glitchy, carefree, electronica as before. And yet the formula still works! It sounds like you mixed equal parts rainbows, gingham wallpaper, and Frosted Flakes, and then shook them all into one sexy Tupperware bowl. "Pobre Ave" doesn't exactly reinvent Jose Manuel Cerda Castro's sound, but dammit if it isn't his most compelling track to date. - Casillas

50. Maluca x The Partysquad -
Self-declared Dominican Princess, Maluca, is finally pulling her claws out publishing her first proper release, Massive Pow Pow EP. In the last couple of years, the Mad Decent sensation has built an enviable reputation as a performer, earning broadcast success with “El Tigeraso,” and now it's time for "Lola." In collaboration with Amsterdam-based duo The Partysquad, the Merengue-electrified rebel has found gold. The track is a club banger with the vehemence of a third world political agenda and a structure as round as Jessy Bulbo’s ever-rolling “Comal.” - Reyes

49. Roman S - "End of Times" ♫♫♫
"End of Times" is one of those songs that makes you wait for it. Slow and steady and reverby at first, the song introduces elements one by one: first staticky distortion, then slightly comical lasers, then the hurried click of a drumstick against the rim of a snare before finally getting to the good part. But perhaps it's the buildup that makes the good part so good. The slow unraveling of the song's exposition is what prepares you mentally and physically to reach that first peak in a state of elevated awareness that allows you to feel like you are part of the song. - Méndez

48. Los Amparito feat. Nubla -
As a collective work, Los Amparito is one of the few musical ideas which utilizes and yet effectively alters its artistic mission. "Dicen" begins like any of his other songs, rendering gentle, earthy, folk samples with a modern sheen that builds and builds to a subtle, beautiful climax. But of course, there's nothing wrong with that, because its gorgeous. In all, this continues one of the greatest under-the-radar winning streaks in modern pop. - Casillas

47. Fauna - "Para Mi" ♫♫♫
Fauna is here to remind us that ZZK records hasn’t completely forgotten their initial purpose of taking us to the dance floor. Before the passing of Federico Rodriguez (aka Catar_sys), Fauna's sophomore record Manshines was already in its post-production phase, and a few months later they were hitting us with the hopping single “Para Mí,” a dance floor banger of ragga-style vocals, dancehall inspired rhythms, and a crazy psychotropic video to go with it. - Lestruhaut

46. Roman S + Mamacita -
"Tu Amor"
In this epic cover of Jamie Principle's "Your Love", Roman S elevates the ceiling and pronounces every single crevice in sight--the synth-bass alone sounds like it's been filtered through six shades of Italo disco concentrate. Mamacita, on the other hand, absolutely kills it, playing up the "Disco Queen for the People" image she's cultivated over the past year into something that bleeds through her vocal chords. - Casillas

45. Fother Muckers -
"Dios está aquí"
A few days before Easter, Chilean cult band Fother Muckers released a one-of-a-kind gospel record while also announcing the news of their breakup. Yes, that was quite a stressful afternoon where we shredded a few tears and did nothing but listen to all their records. Later on that week, we found out they were resurrecting as Los Ases Falsos. We had once again, been victims of the band's witty dramatics (and you know everything's juicier when religion is involved). Whether you choose to embrace "Dios Está Aquí" as a serious piece or an ecclesiastical gimmick, this piece is pure clerical bliss. - Reyes

44. Pedro Piedra -
"Vacaciones en el más allá"
“Vacaciones en el más allá ” is yet another captivating exercise of how Pedro Piedra embraces the traditional approach of the singer-songwriter or “cantautor” style without resigning to show his great skills as a pop song craftsman, always putting together small pieces of separate musical styles in an irrational manner. Pedro Piedra excels at putting his rap roots to the service of great storytelling and rhyming on that out-of-nowhere synth line in “Vacaciones...” which would seem to fit more in a Justice record than in the lead track of a Chilean pop album. - Lestruhaut

43. Anna-Anna - "Cat Eyes" ♫♫♫
Anna-Anna's debut EP, Last Night I Lit the Moon, is the sort of record that’s immediately striking for its outstanding uniqueness and, because of this, it's a record that can be enjoyed both as an easy listening experience and as a wholly immersive one, where her distinctive soundscaping and jaw-dropping lines hit you even harder. Album standout “Cat Eyes” is a fluttering picture that paints French new wave film characters as persons with otherworldly attributes, as she sings, “I’ve got cat eyes, baby. My laser vision will melt your love” to the sound of a throbbing electronic beat and hypnotic keyboard lines. - Lestruhaut

42. Luciana Tagliapietra -
"Las Carreras"
If you need to know, Tagliapietra wrote this song right after visiting Buenos Aires' hippodrome. She sings about her desire to fill a room with gifts and craves for the day her lover will return to supervise her own shipwreck. The song’s topics are aligned with astounding structural fluidity, illustrating a Venn diagram’s intersections of love, desire, pain, and illuminating indiscretions. The ending line in “Las Carreras” imagines a surreal scenario in which a dream about a horse race is both the cause and the liberating factor of love’s misfortunes. - Reyes

41. María y José - "Puerto Alegría" ♫♫♫
Oh, that sweet “Puerto Alegria.” Let’s say it’s like a pupil of “Copacabana” without the murderous enigma of the classic. This really is the answer to Barry Manilow’s main inquiry in the song: “They were young and they had each other, who could ask for more?” This conversational song celebrates true love in the most breezy and platonic ways. We tend to drown our own immediate feelings, but when true love shows up, be prepared for those emotions to arise. Sound-wise, let's say it's an accurate depiction of the heartbeat. Love so intense and so pure, it puts you in marriage-mode the minute you see it, “Casate conmigo aquí en Puerto Alegría.” - Reyes