She got legs for days and knows how to use ’em! Oh….and she can sing also…
So we managed to survive just by the skin of our teeth (stupid Mayans) and with the coming of 2013 comes the closing of 2012. And 2012 had plenty of good music in it! My interest in music, while wavering a little bit as I find myself steeped in work, home repair and being a daddy, is still strong and all over the map. One day I’m in a country mood, the next I’m jamming with my kids to “Gangnam Style.” It was truly bizarre in music this year. Too much EDM and not enough good riffs. But with that being said, there was still enough great music out there…I just had to go find it sometimes! So without further adieu…here are my Top 50 Favorite Singles of 2012 and my Top 10 Favorite Albums! Enjoy and just a reminder…these are MY choices. They do not reflect record sales or popularity on any record charts. They are simply the top songs that burned a hole in my ears all year…and I believe they are all equally awesome!
50. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (pop)
I’m just gonna get this out of the way right off the bat. Look…it’s annoying now but back in the early summer? EVERYONE loved this song and it was played and played and overplayed until no one could stand it anymore! However, that being said, whenever I hear this track I will be instantly transported back to the summer, watching my son play baseball and listening to my daughter sing this song at the pool.
49. The Darkness – “Cannonball” (rock)
I dunno why but I still hear Queen whenever I listen to The Darkness but this track, off their album “Hot Cakes”, is more AC/DC than Queen! I love it!
48. Half Moon Run – “Nerve” (alt-pop)
They opened for Metric in St. Louis and I was struck by the multiple layers of this song. Very 80’s sounding and watching this band perform it was mesmerizing.
47. Brad Paisley – “Southern Comfort Zone” (country)
Being from a small town, I remember when I moved to Dayton then Cincinnati and then began traveling for a living for my job. This song captures that wonder of leaving your “comfort zone” and visiting places that you never dreamed you would ever see. That is my life to a tee and this track says everything I would say if I had any songwriting ability whatsoever.
46. Green Day – “F%$# Time” (rock)
A little bit rockabilly that is all about…well…um….sex. As you can imagine, Billie Joe & company blow this one out with thunderous drums and a rocking chorus. If it wasn’t so X-rated it would probably do well on rock radio!
45. Wild Nothing – “Nocturne” (alt-pop)
Light & fluffy, this song could sit on a cloud with no problem. It’s got lots of synthesizer and sort of floats in your ears. I like it!
Whaddaya mean we didn’t make the Top 5?!?!
44. The Raveonettes – “Night Comes Out” (alternative)
Although they aren’t charting in my Top 5 this year like last year, I still consider them to be one of my favorite bands. I just love how dark they are and I would love to see them live someday…
43. Tegan & Sara – “Closer” (alt-pop)
With their new album dropping in early 2013, I’m expecting great things if it’s as good as this first single! This duo has always had my ear but I really like the path they’re taking, going a little more upbeat and less mopey. I’ll take it!
42. Rascal Flatts – “Hot In Here” (country)
This band is always good for a hot summer single and this one SHOULD have been a hit! Nevertheless, it hasn’t been released to country radio but I found it and I LOVE it! Great track from a perennial country pop band!
41. Slightly Stoopid – “Top Of The World” (pop reggae)
Trippy and bouncy. Nothing too heavy but catchy as hell and I played this one through most of the summer. Grab a pina colada and relax…
40. Alex Clare – “Too Close” (pop)
Featured on a commercial last spring, I actually “Shazam”-ed it to find out who it was. Then…a little while later, it blew up and you couldn’t turn the radio dial without hearing it. Did I grow tired of it? Sure. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the “wah wah wah” of this song resonates deep in my chest whenever I crank it up!
39. Greg Laswell feat. Sara Bareilles – “Come Back Down” (alternative)
Laswell has limited vocal range but having Bareilles join him gives this song the lift it needs to take it to another level. Nice pace with a fast beat and high production value makes this a great track for this inspiring artist!
38. The Fixx – “Take A Risk” (alt-rock)
Seriously…a show of hands of those who even knew these guys were still recording??? ‘Cause I didn’t! But here they are and despite the fact that they could be considered an 80’s pop band, they return with a blistering track that speaks of the future and what it holds for generations to come. Possibly one of the best “lyric” songs on my list AND it rocks!
37. He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – “Touch The Lightning”
It just kinda lopes along like a tripping hippy, meandering along with a slow bass line and a tie-dye sort of feel. It takes me back to the Mamas & The Papas in a way and just sorta settles there. I DIG IT MAN!
36. Florence & The Machine – “Breath Of Life” (alternative)
With a thunderous intro, Florence Welsh’s vocals once again soar and this song, which was featured in the end credits of “Snow White & The Huntsman”, strikes a chord of something sinister and yet hopeful. A perfect blend for the movie and for my ears.
35. Cat Power – “Silent Machine” (alternative)
Her album “Sun” got rave reviews and her appearance on “Funny Or Die” was a highlight of this past year. This is one of several quality tracks on the album but I like the throbbing beat and her vocals. It catches my ear and that’s good enough!
34. Neon Trees – “Close To You” (alt-pop)
I’ve been hearing “Everybody Talks” pretty much since early summer but for me? I like this one. It’s dark and exotic, moody and hypnotic. Check it out.
33. Haley Reinhart feat B.o.B. – “Oh My!” (pop)
American Idol Reinhart steals a page out of the Adele pagebook and goes retro with this track. Her vocals soar, the sax gives it a sultry pulse and B.o.B. makes an appearance to make it even more tasty! Great track that shoulda got more airplay! Here’s a clip of her performing it live. Seriously…she can jam.
32. Sleigh Bells – “End Of The Line” (alternative)
This band is noise but IN that noise are some pretty amazing hooks. This song clings & clangs with heavy beats and the breathy singing of Alexis Krauss.
31. DIIV – “Follow” (alternative)
I wish I knew more about this band but the fact of the matter is…I don’t. What I DO know is I totally dig this song. Go check it out and look up the band while you’re at it. Let me know what you find out. Very 90’s sounding and atmospheric rhythms.
30. The Offspring – “I Wanna Secret Family (With You)” (rock)
This band has continually managed to find new life and this song off their latest album called “Days Go By” has a great 80’s hair band hook!
29. Chris Brown – “Stuck On Stupid” (R&B)
He’s released just about everything else off “Fortune” but for whatever reason, this awesome song hasn’t hit the airwaves. It’s one of the best pop songs of the year. I think it’s about time to give this guy some credit. He might be an a$$ but as far as I’m concerned he’s every bit as good as Usher.
28. Lupe Fiasco – “Around My Way” (rap)
Lupe does what Lupe does and this jazz infused jam is right up his alley. With a funky sax and a dope beat this song hops along as Fiasco tells it like it is.
27. Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away” (country)
I originally saw her perform this live on an awards show earlier this year and it “blew me away!” Love the chorus and Underwood hits some sweet notes on this one!
26. Bruno Mars – “When I Was Your Man” (R&B)
For all the pop that this guy puts out, it can’t take away from the fact that at his heart he is a true artist in the same vein as a Michael Jackson. In this one, he scales WAY back and goes simple and beautiful. Nothing but a piano and his vocals and it is excellent.
25. Luke Bryan – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” (country)
This song of a relationship that has fallen apart but still having that wanting is a typical example of good country gone pop. While pop radio cranks out the EDM and rap, country music is still creating quality pop songs about love and love lost. Tis is a good’un.
24. Twin Shadow – “Five Seconds” (synthpop)
Synthesizers made a HUGE comeback this year and this track by George Lewis, Jr. is a prime example at how well it can be done again! Very upbeat and poppy, it reminds me of the best of Duran Duran!
23. The 1975 – “Sex” (alternative)
MORE synthesizers? HELL yeah!!! I love me some good sex…er…synthesizer and this song blows me away! Reminds me of college in a great way!
22. Eels – “New Alphabet” (alternative)
I’ve been listening to this band for an eternity so when this track arrived in mid December I decided to give em the benefit of the doubt and put them in my favorites of the year. It’s not a stretch for them but it’s everything you expect from a band that’s been around since the late 90’s!
21. Frank Ocean – “Lost” (soul)
He’s a critics darling this year and his album Channel ORANGE will be getting all kinds of awards this year so…I woulda had a hard time leaving him off this list! This is my favorite track off the album and it’s very much everything that Ocean is about.
20. No Doubt – “Undercover” (pop)
How nice of them to come back and bring their synth-infused sound back to rejuvenate THIS decade! Let’s face it…NOBODY does this kind of music like Gwen and the boys and having them put out a new album (which is one of my favorites this year) was a pleasant surprised. Now…if I could just get them to go on tour…
19. Miguel – “The Thrill”
A lot of critics are lauding his album “Kaleidoscope Dream” as being the modern version of Prince. I dunno if I would go THAT far but it IS sexed up the way Prince used to be. I will say this though…the guy knows how to catch your ear and this song is smooth as silk.
18. The Constellations – “Hallelujah” (rock)
Hailing from Atlanta, this blues band hit me with one of the best albums of 2012 and this song was a highlight! This is NOT a remake of the Rufus Wainwright classic but still just as good!
17. Gary Clark, Jr. – “Things Are Changin'” (blues)
He’s bringing blues back in a big way and this track is infused with a kiss of blues, a little R&B and a lot of heat. Love it!
16. Rudimental – “Feel The Love” (electronic)
Seriously…if you’re gonna do EDM, go with something that varies it up a little bit. It’s repetitive sure, but the beat, the horns and the change of pace in the middle makes this the best of the bunch!
15. Electric Guest – “This Head I Hold” (R&B)
I told you about this band a LONG time ago and here is the song that caught my ear. It’s everything you want in a pop/soul song. It’s got that 60’s vibe and that makes it worth your time.
14. Jacob Martin – “I Don’t Wanna Be The Only One” (country rock)
Don’t go looking for this one on ITunes because it’s not there yet. I found this band playing in downtown Cincinnati at Toby Keith’s Bar and when they played this song, I was hooked! I chatted it up with the bassist and found out that this track will be released later in 2013. Well…go to their MySpace site and check it out. A LOT of potential here and I love this one!
13. Graffiti6 – “Never Look Back” (pop)
Released WAY back in January, this song grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. The entire album, called “Colours,” is a pleasant reminder of what GOOD pop music can be.
12. Muse – “Madness” (alternative)
Remember what I was saying about synthesizer making a comeback? Yeah…well…these guys started it back in 1994. Taking the reigns from where U2’s “Achtung Baby” left off, this song definitely reminds me of my favorite band and that’s probably why it’s been burning up my IPhone for the past month or so.
11. Metric – “Breathing Underwater” (alternative)
Having seen Emily Haines work her magic on a crowd in St. Louis, I can now say that her voice is not her only asset. She’s thoughtful and approachable and there’s something so freaking sexy about her that I am pretty sure I’d listen to her gargle. Needless to say, she ain’t gargling here and she soars with this song which has one of my favorite lines of the year…“They were right when they said we should never meet our heroes/When they bowed at their feet, in the end it wasn’t me.”
10. The Killers – “Runaways” (alt-rock)
I wouldn’t define this band as alternative or rock, but they definitely have a niche somewhere in the middle. With lyrics that rival Bruce Springsteen and a sound that is borderline U2, this song is up there with anything on “Born In The U.S.A.”
9. Mark Lanegan Band – “Riot In My House” (rock)
Remember the early 90’s when bands such as Smashing Pumpkins and Screaming Trees were stealing airtime from Nirvana? Well…some voices never change and in the case of the Tree’s Mark Lanegan, he’s one of the most recognizable voices from that decade. He returned with his brand of rock with his album, “Blues Funeral,” and this song is the crown jewel of the bunch!
8. Lana Del Rey – “Radio” (alt-pop)
I’m not sure HOW you categorize Del Rey’s sound. It’s somewhere between 60’s pop or a David Lynch film soundtrack. Either way, she roared onto the scene with an appearance on SNL before her album was released (a first for ANY artist) and then was slammed by critics who didn’t understand her schtick. I get it…and I LOVE it! This song is my favorite off her album “Born To Die” but it is probably not the one most would have picked. Either way, it is what it is and THIS track is my pick for best on the disk.
7. Jack White – “Freedom At 21” (rock)
Here’s the thing about me…I keep an eye out for artists I like and I know when they release a new album. In the case of Jack White, I knew he had a new album coming out but I really didn’t listen to it until well after its release. Dunno why but Jack has become a lot of the same old sound for me. This song is reminiscent of the stuff he did with Meg in the mid-90’s with the White Stripes.
6. Animal Kingdom – “White Sparks” (alternative)
Another moody synth song from a critical fav. They appeared on my favorites list in 2009 with “Tin Man” and here they are making a return! This might have been the most romantic song on my list if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a old smoothy who has a thing for romantic love songs which leads me to…
5. Robert Francis – “Perfectly Yours” (alt-pop)
Oh how I love the little love songs and Francis is so good at writing them. My sister turned me on to this artist and his “Strangers In The First Place” has been on repeat on my IPhone for a couple months. This song is silky smooth and perfect in every way and the lyrics are amazing…
4. Morning Parade – “Under The Stars” (alternative)
I’m sorry…but there are just times you connect with a song and there’s nothing to explain really. There’s something about this track that is like that for me. It reminds me of Fuel’s “Shimmer.” It has that slow build and then it kicks in and…pure, pop perfection with this really odd bridge in the middle which makes it even more unique.
3. The Constellations – “Black Cat” (blues rock)
Not gonna lie…this is probably my most listened to song of the year. I love the bluesy feel of it and it has a laid back organ caressing the background that just kicks it for me. Love this one and I hope you do too!
2. Taylor Swift – “State Of Grace” (country pop)
What do you do when you consider yourself a “serious” music lover but find yourself listening to a song by an artist who is stereotyped for teenage girls. Well…that was my situation. But I gotta tell you, as far as I’m concerned, Swift has made a masterpiece with “State Of Grace.” Not only is it an uplifting song, it truly doesn’t sound like a country song to me. This could easily be played on ANY format. Well…except for maybe rock. But it could be classified as pop, country, alternative, easy listening, whatever. Either way, Swift soars on this one and I love the uplifting message. If Paul McCartney is correct and some people DO wanna fill the world with silly love songs, then this one is a great example of how it can be done.
1. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “Roulette” (pop rock)
This song is track 12 on the June release of “The Lion the Beast the Beat” and it is listed on ITunes as a (Bonus Track). What?!?! This song is AWESOME! I’ve worn it out and it STILL gets me every time. Let’s get this straight…I LIKE Ms. Potter and her band. I don’t LOVE them. But for whatever reason, this song has been stuck in my head ever since I heard it and I can’t deny…it is straight up a great pop song. With it’s blistering short guitar solo at the end and Potter’s soaring vocals, this track is right up my alley. Here you go…my favorite song of 2012…