best of 2012: songs, pt. 1

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Monday, December 10th, 2012

best songs of 2012

best of 2012: songs, pt. 1

i began posting last week—and will continue over the course of this week—my annual best of lists. as a complete list nerd, this is my favorite time of the year here on the ol’ blog. here’s the lists i’ll be posting:

thursday: new music discoveries
friday: cover songs
today: songs 30 – 16
tomorrow: songs 15 – 1
wednesday: albums 30 – 21
thursday: albums 20 – 11
friday: album 10 – 1

this past thursday and friday—with best new music discoveries and cover songs—have been list appetizers. but now we’ve reached the main courses: songs and albums (we’ll get to albums in a couple days). i’ve listened to, um, a few songs this year. and while many were good, there were a select list of great songs.

since there were so many great songs that deserve a little extra attention, i thought i’d split the list into 2 halves. we’ll work through numbers 30 through 16 today and tackle the rest tomorrow.

so, from commercial sensations to obscure internet phenoms, here’s the (first half of the) songs that made 2012 a great year for music:

30. maybe i will: julia nunes
songs: maybe i will julia nunes

youtube-sensation-turned-indie-star always makes for a good story. and this song shows that julia nunes made the most of her big break.

29. blood is blood: adam faucett
songs: adam faucett

every now and then i feel guilty for not paying more attention to local music. this track by little rock-based adam faucett proves that i should.

28. is your love big enough?: lianne la havas
songs: lianna la havas

this song begins with sweet and understated, but quickly erupts into the chorus and makes it nearly impossible to not find yourself singing along.

27. hurricane: ms mr
songs: ms mr

ms mr leveraged tumblr to feed a stream of great tracks throughout the year from their eventual debut ep. none shined brighter than this dark pop song.

26. get free: major lazer (with dirty projectors’ amber coffman)
songs: major lazer

i’ve never been much of a fan of major lazer, but leave it to adding a dirty projector to make this one of the most subtly infectious songs of 2012.

25. pressing on the bruise: derek webb
songs: derek webb

there was a lot to love about derek webb’s ctrl, but pressing on the bruise was the most accessibly pop-oriented track.

24. gun has no trigger: dirty projectors
songs: dirty projectors

i believe this was the first track i heard off of the dirty projectors’ swing lo magellan and it stood the test of time as one of the album’s best.

23. you & me: sara watkins
songs: sara watkins

whereas sara watkins’ previous self-titled effort, by and large, missed the mark, sun midnight sun hit the nail on the head. this track stood out among many greats.

22. hot knife: fiona apple
songs: fiona apple

on the surface, this song could be seen as a gimmick or even cheesy, but it manages to showcase fiona’s signature passion along with a quirky, but sophisticated lyrical concept.

21. flaggin’ a ride: divine fits
songs: divine fits

whenever a supergroup forms, it’s a tossup of what to expect. in this case, spoon frontman britt daniel’s signature vocal style shines through and creates magic.

20. push and shove: no doubt
songs: no doubt

ten years after their last album, no doubt returned. while not great, the album was good and this was, by far, the standout track from their comeback.

19. forest whitaker: bad books
songs: bad books

speaking of supergroups, bad books—comprised of kevin devine and manchester orchestra frontman andy hull—put out another stellar bad books album and they prove again that they only know how to create great songs.

18. who: david byrne & st. vincent
songs: david byrne and st vincent

what do you get when you combine david byrne, st. vincent and a great horn section? you get a great album and a particularly great opening track in who.

17. adorn: miguel
songs: miguel

really great r&b is few and far between these days. fortunately, 2012 had several great contributions to that cause and miguel’s adorn was near the top of the stack.

16. forrest gump: frank ocean
songs: frank ocean

speaking of great r&b, no one did it better than frank ocean in 2012. 4 or 5 tracks from channel orange could’ve made this list and forrest gump is near the top of that list.

what good would a list of songs be if you couldn’t listen to all of them? well, check back tomorrow for the remainder of the list and there will be a download of all 30 tracks.

any guesses of what will make the top 15?