That said... there's always at least a handful of songs that capture my attention and will forever remind me of the year they either a) became popular or b) entered my consciousness. So here are the songs that will always be associated with 2011 for me.
Lana Del Rey - Video Games
Lana Del Rey has been ubiquitous in the world of the internet this year, but I've got to say I don't really care about the controversy surrounding the question of whether she's 'fake' and 'manufactured'. While it's something that probably would have sent me into spasms of outrage in the past, I just don't care how calculated a piece of marketing Video Games might be, I just absolutely LOVE this song. I know people who really hate it and find her voice dreary but personally, I fail to see how anyone could listen to this and not be moved. My friend Lee said on Twitter that Del Rey has 'a voice to fall in love to' and I have to agree. I've listened to Video Games about a million times and I'm still not sick of it; no matter where her career goes next, this is a timeless song.
The Veils - Jesus for the Jugular
I first heard this on the soundtrack to The Devil's Double but, in all honesty, didn't give it much attention since said soundtrack was mostly dominated by trashy 80s pop classics. I only downloaded it in the interest of owning all the songs from the soundtrack, and thereafter found myself completely transfixed by it. There's such a weird, sinister, portentous feel to it that I can't really account for or explain. It's no surprise it ended up being used in a film as it's so atmospheric - I'm still not sure what it's actually about, but I feel like something important should be happening to me every time I listen to it. I definitely need to get round to listening to more from this band (who I hadn't heard of before discovering this song).
Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry (Original Version)
This is a track from the posthumous Amy Winehouse collection Lioness: Hidden Treasures. I'm planning to write a whole other blog post about the album, so I won't go into it too much here. But this is by far my favourite song on the compilation: a beautiful, heartbreaking demo of Tears Dry On Their Own in its original form - as a ballad rather than the upbeat song it later became. It's haunting, a wonderful paean to love and regret, and has truly changed the way I listen to the album version.
Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus
This is obviously a really old song, but I only really got into it this year, and once again it was via the soundtrack to The Devil's Double. Not much more to say here other than I found it completely infectious and it wins the prize for song most played loud in my car during 2011.
Dev - Booty Bounce
So yeah, this is a bit embarrassing, but this song HAS to be included because if at any point in 2011 I was getting ready to go out or driving somewhere at high speed, I was probably listening to this. As with a lot of pop songs I got REALLY fed up of it after so many listens, but while the obsession lasted I couldn't get enough of it. The same might as well be said of quite a few of her songs - see also this, this and even this (who am I kidding, especially that).
Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars
I'd almost completely forgotten about this - I think I overplayed it earlier in the year and kind of wore it out. But it's still a great, great song and I will never get over how fantastic the massive guitar-crashing climax at 2:04 sounds.
Katy B - Louder
I had a bit of a Katy B moment earlier this year and it was hard to decide whether I included this or Easy Please Me in my list - the lyrics of the latter are far more relevant to my life, but I went with Louder because I just really love the way it sounds. I have no clue about dubstep (if that's what it is, tbh I have no idea what that even MEANS) but I know I like this. I also love the video - even though it's so simple it makes me feel inexplicably positive and nostalgic for the early days of summer.