<p>Nicki Minaj in &quot;Super Bass&quot;</p>

Nicki Minaj in "Super Bass"

2011's Year In Music: Top 10 Songs

Make that a Top 50: Listen to Adele, Tom Waits, Kanye and Jay-Z, M83, Colin Stetson, Rihanna...

We are back to that time-honored tradition of compressing more than 300 days of good music into handy lists, this particular chronicle summarizing songs that moves us, make us move, or make us stop. And by us, I mean just me.

I liked that the discovery process this year was aided, in part, by Spotify, in an avoidance of the clunky CPU vampire that is MySpace or taking up bits of hard drive space for full mp3 downloads. My friends were posting what turned them on more and more on Facebook (sometimes unintentionally). Other people's Top 10s were showing up as early as mid-November. I'm not going to pretend I haven't seen some.

Since the delineation between songs and singles is becoming hazier, made squishy by terms like "leak," "preview," "premiere," "teaser," "alternative edits" and other language, I've tried to keep this list equally loose, sometimes going with songs that weren't official radio drops, tracks that arrived in 2010 (but came into their own in 2011) artists that aren't singles artists and songs that I wouldn't even say are representative of the artists that perform them.

They're just songs, folks. I liked them, and I hope there's some you like.

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<p>The Dirty Three</p>

The Dirty Three

Dirty Three releasing first new album in six years; Grinderman finished

What's Nick Cave going to do, and will D3 tour?

Grinderman have apparently called it quits, but all the better, to free up the hands of Warren Ellis: his other, epic band The Dirty Three are releasing their first album since 2005 next year.

"Toward the Low Sun" is dropping via Drag City on Feb. 21, and in March in the U.K. on Bella Union. The trio -- consisting of Nick Cave/Grinderman mainstay Ellis, one of my top five favorite drummers of all time Jim White and Mick Turner -- last released "Cinder" in 2005 on Touch & Go (may it rest in peace).

And speaking of proper RIPs, Bella Union head Simon Raymond used that exact expression as he wrote about Grinderman, in lieu of the new D3 set. Cave himself called the whole thing off.

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<p>Lana Del Rey in &quot;Born to Die&quot;</p>

Lana Del Rey in "Born to Die"

Credit: Interscope

Watch: Lana Del Rey is friends with tigers in the 'Born to Die' music video

Your ex-boyfriend is still a jerk, you can just tell

Lana Del Rey has released an opulent new music video for single "Born to Die," starring your a**hole ex-boyfriend.

The newly minted Interscope signee furthers her propensity for femme fatality in this chilly clip. Del Rey stars along a tattooed dude who obviously is no good for her, because -- according to the vid, helmed by Del Rey and musician/director Woodkid -- she is royalty and has the tigers to prove it.

Like "Video Games," I dig the production on the track, and its soft edges. She just sounds bored, and bored is boring.

There's been plenty of buzz and anti-buzz around Del Rey, partly due to the unconcealed plastic surgery on her career branding, from singer/songwriter Lizzy Grant to what's still-manifesting today. Interscope has obviously learned some lessons about coloring in a blank (albeit, dark) slate and willing talent, as they did with Lady Gaga. But then there's the attempt to capitalize on the internet echo-chamber, as it failed with Die Antwoord earlier this fall.

Anyway. "Born to Die" debuted earlier this month and will get an official retail drop on Jan. 23 and the album of the same name is out on Jan. 30.

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<p>Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx in &quot;Rock of Ages&quot;</p>

Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx in "Rock of Ages"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: 5 things we learned from the 'Rock of Ages' trailer

How's Tom Cruise, who are the new enemies and where the hell is Bryan Cranston?

The first trailer for the Hollywood makeover of Broadway musical and '80s metal music driver "Rock of Ages" has arrived. Adam Shankman -- who brought "Hairspray" to the big-screen in 2007 -- is at the helm, and has revealed plot points and actual hairspray in this early glimpse.

Below are five things we've gleaned from the preview of "Rock of Ages," due June 1 next year:

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<p>The Magnetic Fields' &quot;Love at the Bottom of the Sea&quot;</p>

The Magnetic Fields' "Love at the Bottom of the Sea"

Credit: Merge

Magnetic Fields announce new 'Love' album for Merge, plus tour dates

Stephin Merritt is back with songs that don't play for longer than three minutes

Just as we surmised when it was announced Stephin Merritt and Co. were playing South By Southwest: Magnetic Fields has prepared the way for a new album, "Love at the Bottom of the Sea," due on March 6.

It will be their first album for Merge records in 13 years, their last for the indie label having been another "Love" set: they issued three-parter "69 Love Songs" in 1999, and then put their last three albums out via Nonesuch (former home to Wilco).

"Love at the Bottom of the Sea" -- a title that sounds  equal parts desperate, slow-moving, fatalistic and romantic -- is Magnetic Fields' 10th album, it utilizes a stable of Merritt's usual collaborators, including Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol, John Woo, Shirley Simms, Johny Blood and Daniel Handle. Merritt sticks to his signature brevity, too, on the 15 tracks, with no song exceeding three minutes in length.

Pre-orders are up now with extra goodies for the first 100 folks who sign up, and early vinyl purchasers will have dibs on eggshell colored records. Lovely.

Magnetic Fields will be supporting the release with its SXSW showcase, plus a slew of tour dates, below.

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<p>Rooney Mara in &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo&quot;</p>

Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Watch: 'Dragon Tattoo' combines Trent Reznor Karen O for 'Immigrant Song' film opener

Opening credit sequence to David Fincher's new adaptation is pretty-fluid

It's no new news that Trent Reznor had Karen O's help in re-creating Led Zeppelin's classic "Immigrant Song" for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." What's fresh is the way David Fincher introduces it in the opening credit sequence to his adaptation.

Check out the very liquid, very dark animated video clip to the much-anticipated film.

I already have some feelings about the Nine Inch Nails' frontman's contributions overall, and those are to come. But the lo-rez version of this opening clip has nothing on the reality on the big-screen version. It's visually abstract and then sensually sick as it rolls on, much like the movie itself. See it in the theater if you can.

The approach to "Immigrant Song" is especially poignant, a woman singing Robert Plant's part, the lyrics literally about over-lording and imperialism. It's a very masculine song, from it's infamous riff and it's rallying cry. Vikings, too, are also ironically associated with that good old-fashioned rote "raping and pillaging."

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<p>Radiohead's &quot;The Daily Mail&quot; b/w &quot;Staircase&quot;</p>

Radiohead's "The Daily Mail" b/w "Staircase"

Radiohead officially releasing 'Daily Mail' and 'Staircase' tracks

'From the Basement' DVD/Blu-Ray release imminent; more tour dates TBA

Despite not having been on "The King of Limbs" album, Radiohead's "The Daily Mail" and "Staircase" have made the rounds enough this year to be considered part of that album.

Never the less, the British band has decided to finally, formally release those two songs, recorded during TKoL sessions, as MP3s and WAVs starting on Dec. 19. The two must be purchased together, and are available now for pre-order through the band's website.

Dec. 19 is also the date which fans can purchase Nigel Godrich's "The King of Limbs - From the Basement" DVD of the group performing TKoL in full, plus the two tracks above and the song "Supercollider." (The latter was released as a 12" single b/w "The Butcher" earlier this year.) Any order also includes a free download of the intimate concert performance.

These arrive in time for the holidays, but also ahead of Radiohead's North American tour. Check out all announced dates here; a press releases promises "more live dates to be announced soon."

Radiohead didn't tour or play many shows at all this summer and fall (with a few stops in New York), and spent some of it milking expanding on TKoL with their remix releases. That's a whole lot of merch at the table this spring.

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<p>Robyn on &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Robyn on "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Watch: Robyn hits 'Saturday Night Live' for the first time

Katy Perry introduces the dancing Swede, who performs 'Call Your Girlfriend' and 'Dancing'

Robyn opened for Katy Perry during the pop star's California Dreams tour, so it seemed only natural the two paired up again for "Saturday Night Live."

Robyn, my girl-crush, was the musical guest on "SNL" this past weekend, with Perry hosting. And while I actually love both of those women's voices (Perry's is its own little study in "vocal fry"), the Swede brought a bag of her moves.

At times, she was out-of-breath for "Dancing on My Own," but she brought the same campy, desperate energy in her face and on the chorus. "Call Your Girlfriend" was much steadier, and she whirled through the same dance interlude from the music video, including that stellar stumble move.

Just thought you'd like this. She and Perry need a fashion face-off. That is all.

Read a full recap of Saturday's show.

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<p>Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams</p>

Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams

Pharrell joins Hans Zimmer as Oscars consultant; Underworld scores Olympics

In with the old, in with the new

Two longstanding institutions have added new -- or "newer" -- music-makers into their fold. Pharrell Williams has been tapped as a music consultant to the Oscars, as has Hans Zimmer; and the duo best known as Underworld has been appointed music director of the London-hosted 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.

Zimmer's addition is little surprise, considering he's an Academy Award winner (and nine-time nominee, jeez). In addition, his hands may be a little free at the moment: as HitFix's In Contention blog pointed out, the "Rango" composer kept himself off the ballot for the year. Dude wants to relax, OK? Zimmer helped inform "Tron" composers and international dance superstars Daft Punk on their electric adventure, so may he with Neptunes production wunderkind Williams.

Pharrell headed up the villainous and buoyant soundtrack to 2010's "Despicable Me," which at least thwarted the pitfalls of cloying cuteness and gooshy sentimentality that sometimes plagues animated features. The Grammy winner's insight may add an contemporary upbeat feel to the Oscars, while Zimmer will obviously have the timing down.

The 84th annual Academy Awards take place on Feb. 26.

Meanwhile, Underworld have warned of "unexpected" results for their ceremony score, but they're paired with a predictable partner. The three-hour event is headed by director Danny Boyle -- who featured their song "Born Slippy" in his film "Trainspotting," collaborated with the duo for his stage adaptation of "Frankenstein" last year and tapped them for work on movies like "The Beach" and "Sunshine."

The Olympics gig "is very slightly bigger than anything we've ever done," Underworld's Karl Hyde told Billboard. "We knew that, with 'Frankenstein,' we'd been locked down for several months living at the theater and developing that project, and with something like this would equally require us to be focused 100 percent on it. But when Danny asks, we will say yes, because he takes us on an amazing journey."

The Summer Games opening ceremony is on July 27.

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<p>From Foster the People's &quot;Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)&quot;</p>

From Foster the People's "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)"

Watch: Foster the People go on a ride with Gabourey Sidibe in 'Don't Stop'

Video-making duo Daniels goes on another epic journey, post-Battles

Filmmaking duo Daniels made an epic journey of a man falling down an escalator, so undoubtedly they can take you on a ride when given access to an entire crash course.

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert were behind Foster the People's newest video "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)," featuring members of the band and Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe. A driver's exam goes terribly awry, then awesomely awry, then romantically awry, as police try to nab a thief who has a little help getting away.

The song that has launched a thousand car commercials now is successful in wrecking a couple vehicles in its wake. Pretty entertaining.

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