Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Songs of 2012

It's almost 2013! Seriously, I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. As quickly as it has gone, we've had some incredible music come out this year. At the risk of sounding cheeky, can I say it may have been one of alternative music's best years? Granted, the crap on the radio was still crap ("Whistle", anyone?) but I think the alternative scene is improving and spreading into popular culture, maybe even just a little bit. I think fun. wins the award for best out-of-nowhere hit single and follow-up single with "We Are Young" and "Some Nights." I love seeing bands getting some validation, even it means I have to put up with obnoxious 12 year olds tweeting "OMG!!!! We R Young!" Yes, you are. You're 12.
Anyways, my intent was to do a 12 best songs of 2012 list, but there's just too many good ones, so I'm doing 15 best songs; I couldn't narrow it down!
Here is my list of the 15 Best Songs of 2012:

15."Relax My Beloved" by Alex Clare
14. "All Alone" by fun.
13. "Little Black Submarines" by The Black Keys
12. "Empty Party Rooms" by Minus the Bear
11. "Run Boy Run" by Woodkid
10."No Diggity" by Chet Faker
9."Body Electric" by Lana Del Rey
8. "Speak Up" by POP ETC.
7."Before the Dive" by St. Lucia
6."Holiday" by Electric Guest
5."Because I Know That I Can" by Andy Burrows
4."Demons" by Imagine Dragons
3."American Daydream" by Electric Guest
2."Handshake" by Two Door Cinema Club
1. "This Head I Hold" by Electric Guest

15. "Relax My Beloved" by Alex Clare. Alex Clare gained notoriety for his song "Too Close," which blended blues and dub step seamlessly. However, I think it's safe to say that "Relax My Beloved" is a million times better. It combines his soulful vocals with that Sonny Moore-influenced sound in the background and sounds absolutely beautiful and almost raw in a strange way. The lyrics have captured my heart with such lines as "then maybe again/ we will weep like we've done a thousand time before," and many others. Great song.

14. "All Alone" by fun. I reviewed fun.'s album a while back, and I still am in love with "All Alone." Between the gentle instrumental intro, that ridiculously creative percussion line, one of the best lines of the year: "how do you cry/ with inanimate eyes," and Nate's powerful vocals, this remains one of the best songs off their album and another reason why I am proud to support these guys! They're awesome! :)

13. "Little Black Submarines" by the Black Keys. Ah, the Black Keys. I was angry with them at first for not putting their newest album on Spotify, but after actually listening to it; I understand why. It's too good to put on Spotify. I realize how pretentious that sounds, but seriously, listen to it and you'll see why. The Black Keys specialize in polished blues/ R&B and that perfectly describes track 13 on my list. "Little Black Submarines" showcases their dirty guitar licks, gravely vocals, and their talent of reviving music of the past (and doing an excellent job, if I say so myself).

12. "Empty Party Rooms" by Minus The Bear. I first listened to this band a few years ago when their label, Dangerbird, offered a free sampler off The song was amazing and I keep coming back for more. And this band never disappoints. "Empty Party Rooms" has a very mellow tinge to it. Certainly, it is more laid-back than most of their usual stuff and I like it for that very reason. Critics tend to criticize (hence their title "critic") bands for experimenting and trying new stuff. I call bull. This song belongs on the album as much as the others and I love the chill sound. Still, it is a very complex song with beautiful guitar lines, heavenly background vocals, and Jake's capable voice carrying the song.

11. "Run Boy Run" by Woodkid. Woodkid is the musical alias of Yoann Lemoine, a French director. This is definitely a different track; I like different. :)  I like the strong lyrics, beautiful vocals, manic percussion, and the string section.

10. "No Diggity" by Chet Faker. "No Diggity" was super big back in the 1990's and Chet Faker put a really cool, grungy, emotional spin on it. Where the original feels sexy and all like "make it rain," this rendition is more vulnerable and honestly, more convincing. I believe him when he says he likes the way I "work it." Whatever that means. Additionally, his raspy, convincing vocals have won me over.

9. "Body Electric" by Lana Del Rey. I realize Lana is a slightly controversial choice, considering she is somewhat mainstream, but I think she is still holding onto her indie roots. This song is too intricate to get played on the radio and the lyrics area sickeningly deep, which means the song would get pushed aside so Lil Wayne and every other pop princess can sing about how much they like butts and sex. Mini rant aside, this song builds and climaxes perfectly, and Lana Del Rey's vocals are absolutely electric.

8. "Speak Up" by POP ETC. Formerly known as the Morning Benders, POP ETC is what would result if The Ready Set and Panic! At the Disco had a lovechild together. And a beautiful lovechild it is. I love the dreamy string section, slightly distorted vocals, and floating sensation of the verses that directly contrasts with the steadier bridge into the chorus. Very cool song.

7. "Before the Dive" by St Lucia. I remember highlighting this song about a month ago and I've yet to get it out of my head. Which, in my book, is the mark of a good song. St. Lucia's incredible talent really shines through the track, boasting a stunning orchestral section, a dangerously catchy intro, and poetic lyrics. Love it.

6."Holiday" by Electric Guest. The introduction of the song alone warrants getting placed on the list, but because of the creative guitars in the background and the line "she's a painted face," they earned spot number six. :)

5."Because I Know That I Can" by Andy Burrows- I love Andy Burrows.Based on how often I've reviewed him, I suppose that's fairly obvious. :) He has a convincing voice and is a talented songwriter. This song has a very "Condor El Pasa" by Simon and Garfunkel vibe and paired with Andy's voice it has won me over.

4."Demons" by Imagine Dragons. This song begins slowly and about 45 seconds into it, it just all goes "KAPOOOF!" I don't think that's a word. Regardless, the track is a beautiful concoction of forbidden love and the best use of a bass drum I've heard for quite some time.

3 ."American Daydream" by Electric Guest. I know this is the second song by the same band, but it's so good I felt like I had to highlight this one as well. The percussion gives the song a sort of monotonous feeling which enforces the lyrics "we keep going/don't stop running" and the distortion on Asas vocals also increases the dragging feeling. Still, I think it's one of the best songs on the album, simply because they dared to be different.

2."Handshake" by Two Door Cinema Club. I love these British bands. They bring something interesting to the music scene, not that American/European bands don't. Don't get me wrong. But, like a lot of other British bands, TDCC fits into their own little genre. They're not quite solid Alt rock, nor are they pop, but a strangely delicious blend of the two. As well, TDCC writes some of the best lyrics: "She said the devil will want you back/ And you'll never find love in an open hand/ Shut your eyes, so you see I'm there/ And know you'll always have this if you stay this mad." So good.

1. "This Head I Hold" by Electric Guest- Yes, another Electric Guest song. They are one of my favorite bands and their album Mondo maybe one of the best debut albums ever. This song earns the number one spot for five reasons 1) Asa's falsetto is incredible the way it soars and makes the song really distinct, 2) That drum line at the beginning...that's the kind of stuff that made Darren King, the drummer of MuteMath, a legend, 3) the keyboard the complements the other instrumentation,4) the infectious melody, and 5) The lyrics! The lyrics make the song. A truly fantastic track.

Thank you for reading this and every other post. You guys rock and I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Until then,

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