Friday, January 4, 2013

Best Songs of 2012

As mentioned in my best albums of 2012 post, it's been a wonderful year for music, and I found it so difficult to narrow down the best of 2012 songs.  I tried to not make it all Karine Polwart, so I hope you enjoy its fairness.  This is the mix that accurately represents what I feel are the best songs of 2012.  Listen to all the songs after the jump!

1. "Don't Let Me Down"
Solange, True
Solange has been releasing music that far exceeds her sister's in heart.  Beyonce can make a beat and a hit, but Solange can bring the funk!  True beings out some 90s pop-funk and does it well.

2. "The Mother We Share"
CHVRCHES, The Mother We Share
Where have the CHVRCHES been all my life?  The song combines elements of electronic, rock, and indie rock.  But it's presented like folk.  What is going on here?  I just can't get enough of this catchy tune!

3. "Why Am I The One?"
Fun., Some Nights
Fun. is amazing.  I just can't get over Some Nights!  I wanted to choose about four others, but after a while, this song rose to the top of the list due to its catchiness, balance of crescendo and decrescendo, and its relatable lyrics.  While not a single, it's certainly one fo the msot meaningful and beautiful.

4. "Tinsel Show"
Karine Polwart, Traces
Karine Polwart makes it difficult to narrow down her songs to any specific one for any "Best of".  She's a genius, and it shows in her album.  Every song is crafted with meticulous thought and extreme emotion.  "Tinsel Show" makes the list due to its alliterations and changing tempos.

5. "Cut the World"
Antony & the Johnsons, Cut the World
As a feminist, I loved third song without having heard it but only hearing about it.  When I did hear it, though, I fell in love instantly.  It's a beautiful song that cuts deep, in a phrase meant to utilize the song title.

6. "Night Owl"
Little Big Town, Tornado
The album Tornado is a bit disappointing, and LBT is banking on the theme of romanticized, drunken, fun country life.  But "Night Owl" is just beautiful.  The harmonies are incredible, and the melody moves in a slow steadiness.  And the "ooo"s are reminiscent of an owl's hoots.

7. "Bruises"
Train featuring Ashley Monroe, California 37
I never thought I'd have Train on a "Best of" all.  But here we are.  The song about reunited high school friends is relatable to everyone, and it reminds us that our pasts, our mistakes make us who we are and make us interesting.  We don't want to forget that because we may forget who we are and it makes us more interesting!  I just can't get enough of this one, and I can't wait for Monroe's album next year.
Hear it here!

8. "Wreck and Ruin"
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson
This husband and wife duo reprises their first album with Wreck and Ruin, but it lacks the catchiness and diversity of the first album.  However, it;s still amazing and has produced a few stellar songs that car exceed the rest.  "Wreck and Ruin", the title song, is one of them!
Here it here!

9. "I'm a Memory"
Sara Watkins, Sun Midnight Sun
Sara Watkins' sophomore album is an attempt at being more indie rock combined with folk, but it fails at making an impact.  Few songs do anything memorable, and one that does is one of the few uptempo songs "I'm a Memory".

10. "Thou Blind Fool Love"
Various, Shakespeare: The Sonnets
The Elizabethan era instruments used to make pop-rock sounds makes me feel all tingly, and this particular song makes me numb from tapping my foot too hard!  See previous post for more information.

11. "A Million Miles"
Shannon and the Shortcuts, A Million Miles
You must watch the video.  It's incredible and directed by the sexy Eoin Macken, of Merlin fame.  The music is not only a throwback but so is the video and Shannon O'Connor's voice.  She's young, but she sounds like she's from the 50s.

12. "Our Bottle"
The Shee, Murmurations
Scottish gal group The Shee created this song with many elements coming into play.  Form its old timey sound to its contemporary bluegrass-folk sound, The Shee are breaking molds and creating music that only they could play.  This one in particular splits the tune from old-timey gramophone sound to the crystal harmonies of the crisp digital age, reflected by the songs changing message from a hazy, drunken state of dependence to a freedom and realization that these tow lovers don't need each other.

13. "Love Interruption"
Jack White (feat Ruby Amaya), Blunderbuss
The crooning of Jack White is perfectly complemented on this song by Ruby Amaya, whose voice is best showcased in bluesy alt-country folk.  If you know the name, she was on the alst season of The Sing-Off, as part of a Nashville-based a capella group.  Her voice clearly stood out among the group and didn't blend as much.  Clearly her voice is suited more towards duos, as sampled by her duo Sam and Ruby and this song.  The song is essentially a hate letter to Love and taking back Love for your own.  Love will not be tainted.  Take that Soft Cell (and Gloria Jones).

14. "Tokyo Sunrise"
LP, Into the Wild (EP)
Wowzas!  The best thing to happen of evertime just might be LP's rise in the music industry.  Good golly, her vocals are smokin'!  LP's EP has me eagerly awaiting LP's first LP.  I probably think about it every day.  "Tokyo Sunrise" in particular fascinates and enthralls me with its traditional Japanese influence, both in the music and the vocals.  She showcases her musical abilities with crescendos and decrescendos and high vocal range.  It sends shiver sup my spine every time.

15. "Carolina Rua/The Ladies' Pantalettes"
The Chieftains (feat Imelda May), Voice of Ages
It so incredibly difficult to choose which song from Voice of Ages to accurately represent the best of 2012.  There were so many standout tracks that their standoutness just made the entire album stand out.  But I think Imelda May's version of "Caorlina Rua" showcases her wonderful, passionate, lively vocals with the pleasant perfection that is the Chieftains!

16. "Daughter's Lament"
Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond
Borrowing an old folk tune, the Carolina Chocolate Drops' Rhiannon Giddens heartbreakingly sings of Katniss' father's death in the coal mines.  With twisted beat-boxing, heartbeating drumming, the sorrowful cello, and erratic electric guitar strings all playing softly in the background, it creates a slight discomfort for an unnerving lament.

17. "Rise Again"
Brandi Carlile, Bear Creek
Carlile's perfect blend of country, folk, and rock is reflected in "Rise Again."

18. "Old Lady"
Sinead O'Connor, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?
O'Connor's tune about happily growing old with a man who doesn't even know she loves him yet is strikingly bouncy but also longing.  We feel her happiness as she see sit in the future.

19. "I Don't Recall"
Lavender Diamond, Incorruptible Heart
Lavender Diamond's Incorruptible Heart incorporates a few more rock and electronic elements than previous records.  "I Don't Recall" is an example of the slower vocals mixed with a quicker beat, but it creates a beautiful harmony elevated by Becky Stark's innocent and flawless voice.

20. "Venus"
Anais Mitchell, Young Man in America
I want introduced to Anais Mitchell's music due to Karine Polwart's mention of it, but I fell in love with her talent immediately.  Young Man in America is not nearly as catchy as Hadestown, but "Venus" is probably the closest to that, with striking imagery sent form the Muses themselves as Mitchell's main character narrates when he falls in love at first sight.

21. "All the Rowboats"
Regina Spektor, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
This song blew me away at first listen with its unconventional way of thinking about museums as prisons or tombs.  All of these precious artworks, instruments, and other items once flourished and lived as they were meant to in the places they were meant to.  Yet here they are unused.  My favorite lines: "God, I pity the violins/ In glass coffins they keep coughing/ They've forgotten, forgotten how to sing."  Swoon!

22. "Google"
Garfunkel & Oates, Slippery When Wet
G&O know how to write comedic songs.  We all do it...we all google our dates, right?  It's hialrious and relatable!  Go check 'em out now!
Google [Explicit]

What are your favorite songs from 2012?

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