Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #4: "Losers" -- The Belle Brigade

If you're looking for the underdog song of the year, this is your jam.

The Belle Brigade appeared on the scene this year with their self-titled debut. The duo, consisting of the Gruska siblings Barbara and Ethan, flew under the radar for the most part, but were still acclaimed critically by those that happened to come across their music.

The album itself was a wonderful 2010s take on '60s folk rock tunes -- understandable, given that the band has named Paul Simon's solo work as one of their biggest influences. In particular, "Losers" invokes the harmonizing of Simon & Garfunkel, with an updated folk rock sensibility for the times.

"Losers" is defiant, a harmony-laden song that takes a stand against the social mores of our generation -- or really, any generation... the song is fairly ambiguous when it comes to its timeframe. "There will always be someone better than you," they sing at first, changing later to "There will always be someone worse than you." "Don't care about being a winner," they sing, before laying out the list other things they simply don't care about being.

Possibly the most telling lyric of the song -- "I'm removing myself from the queue," they sing. The song is all about going against society's constructs, even if it means being called a 'loser.' In terms of messages, it's one of the best of the year, and the catchy melodies certainly don't hurt.

It's inspiring and timeless, a song which rises and rises to its inevitable climax, with howling vocals from the Gruska siblings. "Losers" was among the best indie rock had to offer this year, a telling prelude to a duo who will hopefully be around for quite some time.

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