My 14 Favorite Songs of the Year
I usually contribute my top 10 albums of the year list to several sites, listservs, emails, whathaveyou — but this year I thought it over and realized there weren’t a lot of full albums that grabbed me and shook me all night long. I’ve officially returned to the 1950s and singles culture. The world before the Beatles and their damn double LP concept albums.
And so, I give you my 14 favorite tracks of 2012.
1. Alpine “Gasoline”
Found this one in a press email from Beth Martinez at Danger Village. The woman has exceptional taste in music, in my opinion, and I listen to as much of what she sends as I can. This song was my spring into summer jam. One of the most listened of the year. Actually the most listened for me according to last.fm, behind track #3 on this list.
2. Bat For Lashes “Marilyn”
This is possibly the one thing I was in sync with Pitchfork on this year. Best New Track and Best New Album, even though reviews were mixed. This track in particular features guitar as played by Beck. I think the lyrics here really stand out as well.
3. Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe”
An expertly crafted pop song, but also (along with Kelly Clarkson) a sign that pop music in general may be moving away from EDM and back towards guitar based music. The change is welcome in my book.
4. Bobby Womack “Please Forgive My Heart”
As a Chris Brown hater, this is a controversial choice for me. All the reasons I have for insisting the public not forgive Brown can also apply to Womack’s past choices. And this song gets at the public forgiveness that Brown would never seek. It’s an amazing, heartbreaking track. Beautifully produced and deeply poignant.
5. Solange “Losing You”
2012 is the year we discovered the Solange is the new Beyonce. Never forget.
6. Fiona Apple “Werewolf”
Apple’s latest does make my albums of the year list, as one of the few examples this year of a comprehensive album and not simply a series of songs. And she continues hitting her mark with songs that are too close to the way I feel about life. We’ve both gotten older and, if not smarter, more experienced. This is my break up jam.
7. Frank Ocean “Super Rich Kids”
The best song wasn’t the single. “Sweet Life” is nice, but I love the nihilism of youth captured here. It’s like Gatsby for today with a “Real Love” sample and a dash of “Benny & the Jets.”
8. Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio "If I Didn’t Know Better"
Written by the Civil Wars (and performed in 2010 but not recorded), this song was in the first episode of ABC’s Nashville. It shot right to the top of the iTunes sales chart because the world realized it’s amazing. It’s the kind of song that casts a spell on you. T-Bone Burnett’s production is apparent on the sparse arrangement he gives the show version, paired with hesitant vocals.
9. Jessie Ware “Devotion”
Another song of longing. This one is another that would make my albums of the year list and really should have won the Mercury Prize. God I love dark longing with a healthy scoop of R&B influence.
10. Beach House “Other People”
Overall, not a great album but this song is the jam. It’s the one that always stops me in my tracks and makes me want to listen to it again. Still trying to figure out why this wasn’t a single.
11. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Only In My Dreams”
Another album that disappointed, but this song was Pink’s nod to all things pop in the very old school sense. So it makes perfect sense that this would be a favorite single.
12. HAIM “Forever”
I know, I know, I know you’re not the one to play the game.
13. Delta Rae “Bottom of the River”
Some music critics put the Band Perry on their singles list, but this is my murder ballad of choice for 2012. Related: let’s have more female-sung murder ballads.
14. Magic Wands “Aloha Moon”
Magic Wands finally release their long awaited first album and among the songs that have been kicking around since 2010 was this jam. It’s like a delicious mix of outer space and Hawaii, in a very nice way.
Why Do I Like Ke$ha?
The Guardian: You recently said women should be able to sing about the same things as men.
KE$HA: Absolutely. Women can sing about the same things as men but we shouldn’t have to be put through such scrutiny and hellfire. Men sing about strippers, sex and drugs and it’s praised and glorified. When women sing about these things, we’re automatically demonised as sluts and drunks. It’s not true. Women can drink and get laid occasionally and it is equally as badass as if a man is doing it.
It’s a zombie Christmas.
Edgehill Republic Records
Nashville fans: may I just point out that Universal Republic Records is the label that released The Hunger Games soundtrack, which T. Bone Burnett music directed. The soundtrack generated Rayna James and Juliette Barnes on Nashville is also distributed by Big Machine Records, whose backbone/distribution arm is Universal Republic. That soundtrack is also helmed by T. Bone Burnett. And the show is written, based on quite a few real life experiences, by Burnett’s wife.
So…how real is the president of Edgehill Republic Records? What real life person might he be based on? Let’s speculate!
The new Tegan & Sara song has been growing on me. Absolutely love the video.