Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favorite Songs of 2012

One of the best things about the month of December is the avalanche of year-end best of lists.  I make a list every year, but then debate and deliberate over it until it's already 2013 and everyone's moved on.  Largeheartedboy has been compiling all the lists from around the Internet. The latest is on his site. Here is my addition to the best song pile, finished right before New Years Eve.

Love Don't Leave Me Waiting - Glen Hansard
I've been a big fan Glen Hansard since the movie, Once, and this song is a great example of his ability.  And, the video has some fun dancing in it.

Houdini - Foster the People
The arcade game sounds and almost-falsetto voice of the lead singer are the highlights from this song. Also check out this fun lip sync version.

Ghosts - The Head and the Heart
The jovial piano and boppy doo-doo-doo's underlie the serious subject of growing up and away from home. Isn't it any wonder why we all leave home, people say I knew you when you were 6 years old.

A Simple Song - The Shins
Feels like an "ocean warmed by the sun."  This song is comfortable.

Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men
From the beginning horns and yells of "Hey!," this one prepares you for a fun polka-esque dance party.  The underlying lyrics, however, take you on a creaking boat ride to a ghostly place of lost love.

Some Nights - fun.
I can't be the only one who thinks fun. is a modern day version of Queen. Their best songs are anthems, with marching drums in the background and lyrics that are written to be sung at the top of your lungs. Although the lyrics are a little odd ("my lips could build a castle" ???), the song works.

Eyes Wide Open - Gotye
Although I am a big fan of Somebody I Used to Know, this song made the list.  It was a perfect way-to-work song.  This strange stop-motion video loses out to Somebody, but I guess not all videos can be winners.

Shake It Out - Florence and the Machine
I think every once in a while we all need to shake the devil off our back so we can dance a little easier.

A Love Story - Thomas Dybdahl
This was a free download that I grabbed this year and I hadn't paid a ton of attention to, but it's a great song.  Maybe it's just that I like songs that have weird noises in the background, but this delicate tune about an "endless summer without a fall" that was more temporary than expected is moving and interesting. 

Brothers - Tanlines
Is that opening sound crashing waves?  Sizzling Fajitas?  Fizz from a bottle of tonic?  I'm not sure, but it makes me think of a beach.  The driving beat with the mellow singing puts me in a good place, beach or not.
California - Delta Spirit
More beachy music. Imagine the Beach Boys with an emo sound and throw in some reverb and you might come close to this song.

Change the Sheets - Kathleen Edwards
This song makes me want to go on a road trip.  The opening is pure windows rolled down while speeding down an empty road.

Half Moon - Blind Pilot
If some of the other songs evoke a beach, this one transports me to a lake on a boat. "Don't you forget you came from nothing...That wind is calling my name."

Shuffle - Bombay Bicycle Club
This song is pure fun, so much so, it makes me forgive the harsh and abrupt transition that occurs a minute in that sounds like someone messed up while editing the track.

Jump Into the Fog - The Wombats
The intro takes you to the edge of a foggy cliff that leads to you leaping into a sordid encounter.  Not many songs could successfully weave in the necessity of bringing your own UV light to a charge-by-the-hour hotel.

Put the Gun Down - ZZ Ward
All recent political statements aside, this is a song that grew on me and I like it more each time I hear it.  Powerful voice.

Live and Die - The Avett Brothers
Simple and banjo-istic (or should that be banjoyous or banjovial?). The Avett Brothers can still do no wrong in my book.

It's Nice to Be Alive - Ball Park Music
This song is a little crazy, but guarantees a good mood.  The intro and chorus are my favorite parts:
Boring as bat-s*** you people make me feel so curious... Don't stress, that's dumb
I'm here, and it's nice to be alive. 

Savage - Hacienda
Trippy enjoyment.

Clementine - Sarah Jaffe
Wistful and yearning, with perfect pauses that take you to the verge of uncomfortableness. Jaffe's crackling voice is also a great fit.

Anna Sun - Walk the Moon
Exuberance in melodic format. The video matches the song well, even if I was waiting for an Abercrombie and Fitch product placement to pop up.  

Madness - Muse
I can't help but think of a roller skating rink run by slightly roller derby grils when I hear this one.  I always listen to this one with a satisfied smirk on my face.
Stubborn Love - Lumineers

Yes, this song is full of schmaltzy Hallmart lines like "it's better to feel pain than nothing at all" and "the opposite of love is indifference" as well as ooh-ooh's and aah-aah's, but it's also full of musical goodness.

I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons
Whole lot of strings on this one.  High energy mix of folk, country, and rock.  I hope the band did buy each other mandolins for Christmas (tongue-in-cheek reporting by the Onion).

Tongue Tied - Grouplove
You know that song that comes on in a bar after everyone's had too much to drink and everybody screamy-sings all the words while leaning on each other? That's this song. And that rap about mid-way through? Good stuff.

Honorable mentions:
Change - Churchill 
Home - Philip Phillips 
It's Time - Imagine Dragons
Architects and Engineers - Guster
Which songs made your list this year?

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