Best Songs of 2012

April 25, 2012 1:24 pm

“What are you listening to right now?” The following list is my way of answering. I like to take a quick look back at the best songs released so far. Music comes at us so fast and furious that it can be hard to keep up, but these are the songs I keep returning to.

 

Sigur Rós – Ekki múkk

The new album doesn’t come out until May 28, but the first single was released to Soundcloud in March, and it’s a return to the expansive winter sounds of the Icelandic quartet’s parenthetical album.

 

Titanium – David Guetta FT Sia

I first heard David Guetta when I was 16 years old, on holiday in the South of France. I can safely say I have loved every track he has produced since then, which is rare for me. This song is a ballad which draws from the genres of pop, house and urban-dance. It’s Sia who really steals the show with her amazing vocals. The track was originally offered to Katy Perry and Mary J. Blige but Sia sent in her vocals and David Guetta fell in love with her stunning voice. I think it basically blows the rest of his album out of the water.

 

Domino – Jessie J

“Do it Like a Dude” was a brilliant choice for her first single and it made people really take notice of her. For me, the follow-up tracks didn’t have the same appeal, but as soon as I heard Domino, I knew Jessie J was back. A lot of people have criticized the song for sounding very similar to a Katy Perry track but I think it manages to stand out as an original track. I am still waiting for her to release another track which matches the brilliance of her first single, so we will see what she comes up with during the rest of 2012.

 

Wild Ones – Flo Rida FT Sia

I love Sia’s vocals, so a track with her featured on it has a good chance of being one of my favourite songs. Flo Rida raps about his intoxication, both metaphorically and literally. “I like crazy, foolish, stupid/ Party going wild, fist pumping music/ I might lose it” are the first words he raps, and before too long he mentions how he has “got a hangover like too much vodka”. All that Flo Rida knows is that “somehow, someway” he’s “gotta raise the roof, roof”. He’s pure, unrestrained party id here. Sia, on the other hand, is more reserved in her hedonism, at first. In her odd, Billie Holiday-esque voice, she sings the first two choruses over little more than anthemic Coldplay-esque block piano chords; “Hey, I heard you were a wild one”, she sings, and further comments that “If I took you home, you’d be a home run”. Despite the differences in style, the song really works and is one of the best of the year so far.

 

Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye FT Kimbra

Not only is it Gotye’s first number one, but it’s also his first song to trouble the singles charts at all — surprisingly, considering his seemingly omnipresent 2006 track “Heart’s a mess” (though it does have over a million views on YouTube). For three or four years now, the songs at the top of the charts have been all about the mythical “club” — think LMFAO or “Who’s that girl”. Number one song after number one song has had danceable “four to the floor” disco beat and banal lyrics about mindless hedonism. These songs have a pretty obvious place and purpose – a) the dance floor, and b) making people feel good about their mindless hedonism. ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ hinges on the fallout from a failed relationship. It is a song that is very obviously not about how everyone is going to have a good time tonight. It’s not completely alone in the charts – in the last couple of years, both Mumford & Sons (see above) and Adele (‘Someone Like You’) have had successful charting singles, with morose songs about failed relationships that explicitly acknowledge fault. After all, none of us are perfect. But it doesn’t stop us longing.

 

Next To Me – Emile Sande

Emeli Sande demonstrates a fine example of craftsmanship with this one; her melodies are very catchy and her sentiment is genuine. The song explores her fondness for the man in her life as she positively boasts ‘you’ll find him next to me’, in fact throughout the entire record she sings praises for her one and only with quirky lines such as ‘you won’t find him drinkin’ at tables’ which personally reminds me of the style reminiscent to that of the late Amy Winehouse. “You won’t find him trying to chase the devil/ For money, fame, for power, out of grief,” Sandé consists of her praising her morally righteous right-hand man over head-nodding beats and gospel-choir harmonies. Whether this mysterious entity is a lover, her faith or the music itself is never clarified, but one thing is for certain; if it inspires Sandé to write music of this standard, then her claims of perfection are rightly justified.

 

Starships-Nicki Minaj

Of all the schizophrenic popstars out there, Nicki Minaj easily leads the pack. After heading up the release of her new album Roman Reloaded – which also happens to be the name of her alter ego – with the bizarre but hip-hop crowd-pleasing ‘Stupid Hoe’, she’s now turned attention to her pop-loving audience with the LP’s latest cut.

But while ‘Starships’ is undoubtedly more radio-friendly, thankfully it remains just as demented. Produced by Lady Gaga hitmaker Red One, Minaj spits about sipping on Bud Light, touching the sky and hitting the floor over Euro-inspired synths and a toe-tapping guitar riff. On paper, it sounds hideously generic but it still manages to come across refreshingly different. How? With a mix of her own inimitable quirks and, of course, that bonkers breakdown.

 

Blue Jeans-Lana Del Rey

With her debut album out and the media hype out of the way, Lana del Rey can finally settle into her role as a global superstar. That said, we’re curious as to the decision behind releasing ‘Blue Jeans’ for her latest single. The track was originally listed as the B-side to her first smash ‘Video Games’, and then there was that SNL performance of the song which, truth be told, we never thought was especially bad.

“Love is mean and love hurts/ But I still remember that day we met in December,” she purrs over a hazy guitar strum, while the low-flying strings eventually soar on the chorus as she proclaims: “I will love you till the end of time.” It’s packed with vintage American grandeur as well as Del Rey’s own menacing vocal as she holds out for her once-upon-a-time James Dean-esque lover – though we sincerely hope he hasn’t met a similar end.

 

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