The 25 Best Songs of 2011

12. The Weeknd "House Of Balloons / Glass Table Girls"

Ethiopia is the cradle of humanity, a place where civilizations are born. The Weeknd's Abel Tesfaye did his Ethiopian ancestry proud when he emerged from Toronto this year to cast a sort of musical spell with a trifecta of avant-gardge R&B mixtapes—House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence—that staked out a whole new sonic terrain. It all starts with this extended two-song suite, a glimpse into a "happy house" where everybody has "fun, fun, fun" until it gets hard to breathe. When that happens, just crack open a window and surrender to the joys of anonymous drugs and recreational sex. (Or was it vice versa?) Either way, oblivion hasn't been this much fun since Oasis dropped that "Champagne Supernova" joint.

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