Top 10 of 2012

On February 10, 2013, in Music, song, by mugen

Last week I posted my “best of 2012” list from Spotify, in no particular order.

Here, then, is my countdown of the top 10 songs of 2012. This was hard to get straight, and rounding out numbers 9 through 11 was a little difficult. It was hard to limit it to 10, but I think I picked a pretty good representation of what I enjoyed and what I listed to. I also tried to work in the artistry at times, as well as the impact on music/pop culture.

First, some runners up:

  • Fun. The album Some Nights has some great songs on it. I only hope the follow-up comes close. This band is pretty impressive and innovative. I can’t tell if the taste for anthems is keeping this band afloat beyond their freshness date, but we’ll see.
  • Rise Against and Skrillex put out some good tunes in 2011 that got popular in 2012, but that didn’t really fit my criteria.
  • If “Locked Out of Heaven” didn’t sound so much like a Police song, I’d have included it, I think.
  • Both Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION put out good albums with lots of good music. The standouts didn’t quite beat what I included here, though.
  • I fuckin’ hated everything I heard by 2 Chains. Just to be clear.
  • Silversun Pickups, Walk the Moon, and Grouplove also put out good stuff. I’m watching for more from all three, and digging back through what’s already been put out.
  • “Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa is a great song, but I’m not a fan of straightforward frontin’ or weed songs. The production value was fantastic. I’m thinking I might want to try remixing this.

The Countdown:

#10 “Fuck U Betta” – Neon Hitch

The bad girl’s answer to “Call Me Maybe.” Totally danceable, amazing vocal quality, attitude in your face. I hope Neon keeps putting out good music. Her collaboration with Gym Class Heroes “Ass Back Home” is another standout.

#9 “Little Talks” – Of Monsters and Men

The Celt in me is drawn to this, even though the band is actually from Iceland. The ghost story elements of the lyrics, the haunted nature of the relationship, the questionable sanity of (at least one of) the voices – all make for a wonderful love story. I’m reminded of White Lady beach hauntings and “Brandy” by Three Dog Night. But the celebratory feel of the music is a nice counter to the deterioration of the relationship.

#8 “I Fink U Freaky” – Die Antwoord

The tempo shift in the middle and the speed of both Ninja’s and Yo-Landi’s raps is powerful and gnarly. The synth stabs preceding the choruses and punctuating the song are perfect. The video’s pretty keen, too, but not really part of my criteria. This tune is danceable and irreverent.

#7 “Burn It Down” – Linkin Park

I’ve never really been a Linkin Park fan. I have had a passing interest in a song or two here or there. But their new album is the first I’ve actually paid to own. Without any expectations about “their real sound,” I can just enjoy where the band is now. I’m digging their new explorations.

#6 “Defribrillator” – Angelspit

Probably the 3rd-best song this band’s ever recorded, after “Juicy” and “Skinny Little Bitch.” They’ve still got it, and their sense of humor remains. I wish I was more in-touch with this scene than the radio, but at least I found this one.

#5 “Gangnam Style” – Psy

Come on. If I didn’t mention this tune, it’d be a lie. This is pop gold, and the fact that it’s Korean is even more impressive. What floored me most was when I found out that this tune was on the juke at the local beer ‘n wings restaurant. Better, in my opinion, though, is the “reply” song by Psy and Hyuna “Oppa is Just My Style” – 오빤 딱 내 스타일

#4 “Heartbeat” – Childish Gambino

This whole album is worth buying. And yeah, it’s Troy from Community. But it’s more than just a comedy rap disc — it’s heartfelt but complex and smart hip hop.

#3 “Madness” – Muse

As successful as Muse has become, they keep pushing their own limits. The bass riff (and the instrumentation that lets them play the song live) is amazingly catchy and adds a surprisingly unique tone to the song. The vocal build near the end shows the range of the band, as well.

#2 “Genesis” – Grimes

I had this song and “Oblivion” both on my big list, and almost put both in the top 10. Grimes hits a weird chord for me (and apparently lots of other reviewers, too) in that her sound is weirdly stripped down but still techno and catchy and appealing, but I’m unsure why. I bought this album on vinyl and am glad I did. Grimes is a sort of throwback/posterchild to DIY alt.pop who will probably become one of the more interesting producers of around 2020 or so.

#1 “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye

Yes, this was played to death once it was picked up on by mainstream radio. But its popularity takes nothing away from the soundsculpture songwriting method, the confessional lyrics, the vocal dynamism of both singers, and the excellent harmonies. I’m a much bigger Grimes fan than Gotye, and still — this is the better song.