#20 – Gil Scott-Heron – Your Soul and Mine [mp3]
This is spoken word that throbs with an intensity that only a true veteran of the style can muster  – amazingly dark, dramatic, and moving.  I’m not typically a fan of the genre, but this is just… incredible.

#19 – Mumford & Sons – The Cave [mp3]
Bluegrassy twang, melodic lyrics, harmonics, a driving tempo – you certainly know what you’re getting when you listen to a Mumford & Sons song.  That being said, it really is a fun and distinct sound that the boys from London have been able to create.  A guaranteed cure for toe inertia – those babies will be tapping in no time.

#18 – Zola Jesus – Night [mp3]
Dark, dark dark.  Thumping bass, reverse reverb, and haunting supporting vocals really highlight the beauty of Danilova’s opera-trained vocals.  If you’re looking for a light summery song, stay well away from this one – but if you’re looking for a melodramatic, climactic song that is just dripping with atmosphere, you’ve found it.

#17 – Broken Social Scene – World Sick [mp3]
One of the few true single-worthy songs off of the Canadian supergroup’s “Forgiveness Rock Record”, “World Sick” starts out soft and slow and tricks the mind into treating it as ambient noise before unexpectedly kicking into high gear and surprising listeners with the characteristically BSS-like amalgam of instruments which somehow combine to create something remarkably beautiful.  One of the best crafted songs of the year, with a lot of build-up, build-down and everything in between.

#16 – Phantogram – Mouthful of Diamonds [mp3]
One part soft and sweet vocals, one part synthy sub-melodies, and five parts chill.  “Mouthful of Diamonds” is a relaxing, weightlessness-inducing song.  Tilt your head back, close your eyes, and let the perfect music buzz take hold.