My Favorite Songs of 2012

In 1999, I made a mix tape of my favorite songs of the year using the local radio stations and a double cassette deck. Starting in 2003, with the emergence of Rhapsody playlists, blogs and a CD burner on my computer, I started compiling lists of favorites in order and making CDs. Year-round, I keep a notebook full of candidates and text myself names of artists and songs. (often while driving…so watch out! If I go young, that’s high on the potential reasons list, after ‘works in a warehouse’ and ‘eats hot dogs at the gas station’).

My taste in music is mostly off the beaten path. I have SiriusXM to thank for this mostly, but even before that, I leaned toward the alternative. I recall all my co-workers wishing the hard rock station would get back to the Korn and the Alice in Chains, while I was saying “OMGZ who is this?” to things like The Strokes and White Stripes. I may be an almost-middle aged, slightly overweight schlub, but my inner heart beats hipster. When someone left a comment on one of my previous lists that they had never heard of any of the songs, I laughed. While I am humming something at work, I often smile to myself and think, “I am the only one in this whole building who knows this song.” I don’t pretend to know why human beings have this need to feel like they’re in a secret club or that if too many people like something, it must be terrible, but I satiate those feelings in the world of music. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I AM TOTALLY COOLER THAN YOU BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW THIS BAND I HEARD BUT I’M GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEM BECAUSE I KNOW THINGS BEFORE YOU!!!!!

Of course, the world is shrinking thanks to technology and people have more access to discover things and be discovered. (Just think about the biggest songs of the year on the pop chart and you’ll see Canada, England, Australia and even Korea). The music industry has changed forever thanks to the incredible, edible internet. The next big thing used to be preordained by the major record labels who could seemingly polish up anyone, run their voice through a hit-making robot sound machine and get them played on the radio 25 times a day. That still happens, but now for every Britney Spears or Katy Perry, there’s a Kings of Leon or Foster the People or Mumford & Sons next up in the local station’s queue.

My point is that it’s getting more and more difficult to achieve that feeling of musical superiority when “your little secret band” could be the next one to strike it big. I have to accept the fact that a song I was humming to myself in January & thinking, “haha no one knows this but me!” may get some play somewhere, catch on and become the biggest mainstream hit of the year by the summer. But in the end, it’s all about the music (,man!). I can’t ignore a song that I couldn’t get enough just because everyone and their grandmother has stepped into my house and turned it into a song I totally can get enough of these days. It’s the world we live in now. *sigh* My favorite song of the year (and probably yours too) is “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye (feat. Kimbra). May God have mercy on my hipster soul.

The Best of 2012:

60. This Head I Hold- Electric Guest
59. Betty Wang- Hospitality
58. Make Up Your Mind- Here We Go Magic
57. Serpents- Sharon Van Etten
56. Adult- Ceremony
55. Warrior- Kimbra (feat. Mark Foster & A-Trak)
54. Mallrats (La La La)- The Orwells
53. Losing You- Solange
52. Open Your Heart- The Men
51. Best Friend- Dent May
50. Easy Way Out- Gotye
49. Shapeless & Gone- Porcelain Raft
48. Comeback Kid- Sleigh Bells
47. Hold On- Alabama Shakes
46. Heart- Oberhofer
45. Disparate Youth- Santigold
44. The Look- Metronomy
43. Octopus- Bloc Party
42. Werewolf- Fiona Apple
41. Take a Walk- Passion Pit
40. Heavy Metal- White Rabbits
39. Sappho-Tribes
38. Elegant Design- Pond
37. Time to Run- Lord Huron
36. Glorified High- Sarah Jaffe
35. Friends of Friends- Hospitality
34. True Romance- Citizens!
33. Let’s Go- Matt & Kim
32. Shadow- Wild Nothing
31. Savage- Hacienda
30. At Home- Crystal Fighters
29. Longevity- Yeasayer
28. From Nowhere- Dan Croll
27. Change- Churchill
26. Get Free- Major Lazer
25. Wild- Royal Teeth
24. Work Around It- Them Swoops
23. Away Frm U- Oberhofer
22. Hollywood Cemetery Forever Sings- Father John Misty
21. Cut it Out- Kitten
20. Shuggie- Foxygen
19. Keep You- Wild Belle
18. Simple Song- The Shins
17. Ho Hey- The Lumineers
16. Oblivion- Grimes
15. Killing Time- Ducky
14. No Sleep to Dream- Zella Day
13. Forever- Haim
12. Safe and Sound- Capital Cities
11. Where the Kids Are- Blondfire
10. The Mother We Share- CHVRCHES
9. Angels- The XX
8. Babes- Icky Blossoms
7. My Love is Real- Divine Fits
6. I Love it- Icona Pop
5. Brothers- Tanlines
4. Come Home- Chappo
3. Default- Django Django
2. All of Me- Tanlines
1. Somebody That I Used to Know- Gotye (feat. Kinbra)

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