Adventures In 2012: Top 30 Songs [#30-21]

Thursday, December 27, 2012

In all of the four measly years of running this little blog, for the first time, compiling my 30 favorite songs of 2012 became a challenge. I’m talking scarfing down an all-vegetable egg roll without sweet and sour sauce, sitting through Prometheus, crawling up the Aggrocrag on Nickelodeon's GUTS levels of difficulty.

While this year's albums list was tough to compile for completely different reasons (and we’ll be getting to that very soon), to whittle down a list of about 70+ of this year's favorite songs to just a mere 30 was a feat. Oh, and the placing of these 30 songs was also a sport in itself. So for the first time I have to confess to you all that #2-30 are in the right order---today as I type this---but come tomorrow, who knows?

Still, two things are for sure: 1) these are the 30 of my favorite songs of the year, and  2) my #1 song of the year, surely is the supremo #1...but you'll have to wait for that, as right now I'm counting down numbers 30 to 21 after the jump.

30. Shot You Down - Florrie
The shoot-em-up imagery present in "Shot You Down" isn't something that I encourage in light of recent events (keeping in my thoughts and prayers the victims of gun violence this year), but this atomic pop stomper's production is so taunt and demanding, that the lyrics really don't matter. All you need to do is turn up the volume for the full effect and have your six senses blown. Featured on the rising little drummer girl's Late EP, "Shot You Down" proved the showstopper of the lot, picking up where last year's excellent Experiments left off, and giving Florrie another chance to wear that pop princess crown askew. [Stream/View]

29. Locked Out Of Heaven - Bruno Mars
With the recently released Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars still doesn't know if he wants to be the squeaky clean doo-wopper, or an soulful hooligan. As he tries to skip out of the kidz bop zone he keeps being (erroneously) thrust into, he did show he has a knack for writing and performing catchy material by way of "Locked Out Of Heaven", which is probably the best thing he has written since smash, "Just The Way You Are". Sure, it sounds like a complete rip-off of the Reggae-Rock blend The Police perfected so well in the late 70's/early 80's, but Mars is so energetic, so inside the rhythm, that he rocks a mean chorus to where you can hear his influence on his sleeve, and give thanks to him for creating one of the more unabashedly adventurous tracks this year. [Stream/View]

28. Cold Crush - Estelle
Betcha forgot that Estelle released her third album, All Of Me this year? Don't worry, you probably weren't the only one. I said some nice things about the album, but I was one of few, as commercially the album just plopped and sadly, couldn't get hits past the great, "Thank You" and Rick Ross assisted, "Break My Heart". Still, a very glaring missed opportunity for a single happened when the Book & Bronze produced "Cold Crush" flew under the radar. It is (to my ear) the best song on the set as it sparkled its way in on a subtle R&B groove that expertly captured the synth-y vibes of old school acts like Loose Ends and SOS Band[Stream]

27. I Love It - Icona Pop
Rowdy, bratty, and completely pop trashy, the drunken "I Love It" by the Swedish ladies of Icona Pop was the guiltiest of my pleasures this year. Intoxicated pop hasn't sounded so "coherent" since Chumbawamba yelled about getting knocked down, and getting back up again way back when, but Icona Pop drove home that even in the 21st Century --- a cluttered electronic track chanting about a night of boozing can be a gem. The duo has some glimmer of dominating 2013 with their Coyote Ugly persona, so hopefully we're not experiencing a one-night stand, because as thanks to them, 2012 wouldn't be 2012 without me shouting, "You're from the 70's, but I'm a 90's bitch!" at the top of my lungs and loving every second of it. [Stream/View]

26. Your Drums, Your Love - AlunaGeorge
If a song can be skittish and smooth at the same time, then "Your Drums, Your Love" is the prime example of that challenging task. Sounding like an escapee of the late-90's R&B period that just got the chopped and screwed treatment, AlunaGeorge's true breakout single let the secret out of the bag about this duo from London town. While they released other strong alternative soul delights periodically throughout the year, "Your Drums, Your Love" naturally was their pièce de résistance of the year. [Stream/View]

25. Be Kool - All Cows Eat Grass
The mystique of All Cows Eat Grass has me scratching the skull, as they just simply dropped two EP's this year and did it so that it was just a whisper around the inter-webs. They shouldn't have gone so silently, as they hold the big stick called, "Be Kool" which pretty much whacks you up the side of your head with a funky force. Taking on the BIG 80's synth sound in a colossal way, ACEG's "Be Kool" is an sweat-drenched exercise in vivacity, that deserves to bounce off of more ear drums. [Stream]

24. Rich Hipster - Chrisette Michele (feat. Wale)
According to certain criteria I "could" be a hipster --- I'm a Millennial,  I speak in blog, my closet is rife with skinny jeans and beanies, and dammit, from time to time I like moody rich kid blues (aka indie rock). Then again, I hate labels and being boxed in by my interests. I like what I like, and I really like the tongue in-cheek ode to the 21st Century jet setter by Chrisette Michele. From Michele's Audrey Hepburn mixtape, she outlines the extraneous decadence of the youth culture over lush trumpets and shimmering synths, and as a bonus lets that Billie Holiday meets Erykah Badu vocal wiggle around in its groove. My fingers are crossed in hopes that she will include this on her upcoming Better album --- because this song is just too good to be negated to mixtape status. [Stream]

23. Warrior - Kimbra (feat. A-Trak and Mark Foster)
I love it when I'm right. I called it last year that Kimbra was to snatch 2012 with a firm grip. A captive audience she had as this year she re-released and refurnished her stunning debut Vows for American audiences and her inescapable collaboration with Goyte continued to get airplay. While I can't give praise to Vows again as I already did last year (though I really really want to), I will give a nod to Kimbra's further invasion of the red, white, and blue soil by way of her joint track with A-Trak and Foster The People's Mark Foster. Highly energized and infectious, the battle cry of "Warrior" is one that is heard far and wide and was yet another gold nugget for Kimbra to bite into. [Stream/View]

22. Tell Me A Tale - Michael Kiwanuka
With being BBC's honorary Sound of 2012, North London's Michael Kiwanuka had the task to live up to that promise. He alleviated that by releasing his debut album, Home Again, and reestablished the singer/songwriter of yore back to coolness. His attention to intricacies flourishes in "Tell Me A Tale", by far the best thing he has scribed. Sounding like a revival of those mystical psychedelic soul years, Kiwanuka and his homespun "Tale"are placed in a class of their own, and the result is of lush gorgeousness. [Stream/View]

21. Let It Go - Dragonette
2012 proved be another trying time for me in terms of still figuring out if my compass was pointing due North (it isn't --- it's still somewhere screwing around in the wicked West). Still every year I need a song that is just for me to lift my spirits and be my own personal motivation anthem. This is where the zany Canadians named Dragonette come in as they gave me that joyous and carefree theme song to strut around with in "Let It Go". All of what I need is there in this insanely fun surge of synths and it just jostles me out of my stupor, provoking me to stop with the pretension and the worry, and to let it just all blow away because it ain't that deep to begin with. [Stream/View]

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