5. Elbow -- Lippy Kids
Youth, friendship, longing and just a hint of regret made up Elbow's stunning tale of wistful nostalgia, and when frontman Guy Garvey asked about kids, "Do they know those days are golden? Build a rocket, boys!" it brought a knowing smile to your face and warmed your heart.
4. Wye Oak -- Civilian
It started off simply enough, with a little guitar, a droning drum-line and Jenn Wasner's haunting vocals -- but as the song began its build to a ferocious, near-biblical crescendo, it grabbed you by the throat and would not let go.
3. Adele -- Someone Like You
There's just no denying the force of nature that is Adele -- and her ode to resignation in the aftermath of a painful break-up was the most emotionally devastating song of the year. We've all been there.
2. Manchester Orchestra -- Simple Math
The linchpin of a concept album about a young man questioning everything in his life, Simple Math as a single perfectly encapsulated the epic scope of what singer-songwriter Andy Hull was going for across ten songs. It was powerful, it was passionate, it was heartbreaking, and when Hull desperately belted out, "Believe me, everything is brilliant," you knew it was that too.
1. Bon Iver -- Holocene
Plaintive, lovely and moving in ways that can't be properly described in mere words -- at least ones not set to music -- the second single from Bon Iver's miraculous self-titled 2011 album was something more than special. It was a song you felt from start to finish, and the year's best musical creation.