This was a tough list to make. Last year there was no question what my top song would be. When I heard The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games” it was like lightning striking. I spent the rest of 2011 obsessing over that song and everything The Weeknd. But you know what they say about lightning striking. There was no life-changing song for me this year but there were some solid and game-changing tracks that I really dig. Please note, like I said in my “About” section, I love all genres of music including ridiculous pop and dirty hip hop. I’m not pretentious like some blogs (cough cough, Pitchfork, cough cough. I would also like to add that I had my top songs put together before I saw Pitchfork’s list. They actually did ok this year). With all that said, enjoy the list!
1. Grimes – Genesis
This song is my number one because it’s so damn enchanting and I never seem to get sick of it. Come on Pitchfork, everyone knows Genesis > Oblivion.
2. Frank Ocean – Pyramids
This song is so epic and not just because of its length. The second half is where it’s at. It also makes me somewhat like John Mayer.
Here’s the whole song:
And here’s the official video:
3. Chairlift – Wrong Opinion
I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to become sick of this song. A musicologist should study this song to unlock the secret. So good.
4. HAIM – Go Slow
Love at first listen. Wilson Phillips meets classic rock meets Silverlake meets 2012.
5. First Aid Kit – Emmylou
The harmonies in this song are so ridiculously gorgeous but the steel guitar is what puts me over the edge. Perfection. Call it indie, call it folk, I might even call it what country music could have been if it hadn’t been for all the crap they started calling country at some point.
6. Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments
This song is so addicting. I suggest maybe listening and not watching the video because it creeps me out a little bit. But anyway, this song rocks.
7. Rhye – The Fall
This song is a beauty. I actually think the live version is even better. But sometimes I miss the infectious drum machine and strings.
8. A$AP Rocky – Fuckin Problems
This will certainly put a halt to the relative tranquility of the first seven songs on the list. This song is SICK. SICK. Kendrick’s part (2:41) is the best but a close second is when Drake seemingly loses air during his verse at 1:59. It just tickles my fancy. If only everyone’s problems were as simple.
9. Santigold – The Riot’s Gone
Love me some Santigold. I return to this song as my favorite off the album. Great lyrics.
10. St. Lucia – We Got It Wrong
Rounding out the top ten is St. Lucia. Dreamy, tropical, and danceable. What more could you ask for? Don’t watch the video if you have a long hair phobia or a Stretch Armstrong phobia.
11. Sleigh Bells – End Of The Line
Listening to an entire Sleigh Bells album can be headache-inducing but this song is absolutely lovely and difficult for me to get sick of.
12. Tanlines – All Of Me
This song is so chipper and catchy. I get so happy every time the chorus comes in.
13. School Of Seven Bells – The Night
14. Twin Shadow – Five Seconds
Snap your fingers and do your best 80’s move. This song makes me happy sad and that’s an art.
15. Metric – Breathing Underwater
I have often asked myself “Is this my life?” Now Metric is asking the same question. This song is a gorgeous blend of powerful synths and dreamy guitars mixed with Emily Haines’ angelic vocals. More epic than some of Metric’s other songs. Good good stuff.
16. Chairlift – I Belong In Your Arms
Whoa! Another Chairlift song? They took the number one spot on my top albums list this year and they deserve it. There isn’t a bad song on the record.
And because they’re awesome, here’s the Japanese version:
17. Kanye West – To The World
I LOVE this song and not just because R. Kelly is on it and not just because Mitt Romney gets dissed. “Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax, Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax.” (2:32)
18. Rihanna – Diamonds
Dammit Ri Ri you get me every time! Last year it was “We Found Love” and now it’s “Diamonds.” She is such a good songwriter! Just kidding you guys. Actually Sia cowrote this track. Anywhooo, this song is just plain good and the keys sound like something my Casio from childhood would produce.
19. HAIM – Forever
It’s HAIM time again. Try to listen to this song and frown at the same time. Not possible.
20. Purity Ring – Fineshrine
Props to my friend Stephen for making me give Purity Ring a second listen. Their album is awesome but this song is so crazy good. Check out Stephen’s blog. His taste is much more sophisticated than mine.
21. Lana Del Rey – Ride
Calm down LDR haters. I know when no one is looking you celebrate her entire catalog. This song is totally haunting and gorgeous. Accept it.
22. St. Lucia – Closer Than This
St. Lucia round two. This song had me at the opening synths.
23. Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
Any song that opens with the lyric “Jesus Christ girl, what are people gonna think?” is good in my book. But really this song is awesome on all fronts. Jangly guitars are cool.
24. Usher – Climax
Usher Usher Usher! I will always love Usher. This song is pretty genius because there is no Climax. Get it?!
25. Kendrick Lamar – Backseat Freestyle
I would like to point out that Pitchfork listed this song as “Backstreet Freestyle” on their top 100 list. Hehe, dorks. The beat, people, the beat! So awesome. I like to imagine Hit Boy making the beat in a china cabinet. When Kendrick goes on a run at 2:17…yes yes yes.
26. M.I.A. – Bad Girls (Surkin Remix)
The original “Bad Girls” is awesome by itself but this particular remix makes me lose my mind. Good looking out, Justin!
27. Sky Ferreira – Everything Is Embarrasing
This song is another one of the awesome 90’s throwbacks that are rampant these days and it is SO good.
28. Stepdad – Show Me Your Blood
Yes, Stepdad is a little Passion Pit-esq but they’re really good. This is one of my faves. Thanks for the introduction, Danny Blue.
29. Kid Cudi – Just What I Am
Yep yep yep. This is what I expect from Kid Cudi. Awesomeness. Thanks, Scott.
30. Wild Nothing – Paradise
Theme from the John Hughes’ movie of my dreams.
31. Emeli Sande – Heaven
This woman’s voice is KILLER. Add some DnB and I’m in.
32. Milo Greene – Perfectly Aligned
So sweet and gorgeous. Someone put this in a movie or something.
33. Kid Cudi – Creepers
An awesome track off of Kanye’s Cruel Summer album. I was hooked the minute the beat came in. I was fully gone at this lyric: “If I had one wish it’d be to have more wishes, duh, fuck trying to make it rhyme.”
34. Frank Ocean – Super Rich Kids
Sigh…just love Frank. This song is groovy to the max.
35. Hot Chip – Don’t Deny Your Heart
The first little guitar riff is so amazingly late 80’s early 90’s. Don’t deny your heart–dance to this song. Do it.
36. Swizz Beatz – Everyday Birthday
This song is completely out of control. Luda! It makes me dance like a crazy person and I happen to be a white girl so its like they wrote it for me.
37. Chairlift – Ghost Tonight
Chairlift back again check it to wreck it let’s begin. When the song kicks in…so so good.
Here’s their Black Cab Session in case you were doubting their awesomeness:
38. Mykki Blanco – Waavy
Yuuup. This beat is killer. I’m in love with this song.
39. Twin Shadow – I Don’t Care
I think my friend Alexander Supertramp described this song as “dark and brooding” which I find perfect. I’m so into this song I vow to cover it.
40. Metric – Clone
Love love. The instrumental breakdown at 4:03 hurts my heart so good. That’s when I knew this song would be on my list.
41. Lana Del Rey – National Anthem
I’m sure I will be raked across the coals for this pick. But whatever. This song tickles my fancy. The only problem is the fireworks in the song scare my dog.
42. St. Lucia – This Old House Is Gone
Yes, another St. Lucia. They must be good.
43. School Of Seven Bells – Reappear
A lush and gorgeous soundscape. With that description I know you’re intrigued.
44. Passion Pit – I’ll Be Alright
This is what I expect from Passion Pit. Crazy ridiculous percussion and vocal twitches. Muy muy bueno.
45. Santigold – This Isn’t Our Parade
Calypso and magical. Instrumental breakdown at 2:47 two thumbs up. And in case you were wondering, this definitely is NOT our parade.
46. Miguel – The Thrill
This was another love at first listen for me.
47. Usher – Scream
Ridiculous pop song enter scene. I heart this song so much. Ursher baby!
48. Lana Del Rey – American
This song makes me cry. A lot. Not sure why.
49. Best Coast – Up All Night
Ok I have a love-hate relationship with Best Coast. I mostly find them annoying but this song is totally good.
Kathleen Edwards – Soft Place To Land
This is Justin Vernon’s girlfriend (Bon Iver) just in case you wanted in on the indie scene relationship gossip. I saw her live and she was incredible. Her voice was like raspy silk.
51. Tanlines – Nonesuch
OMG people just listen. Incredible. This song could easily have come after Lady In Red on the radio rotation of 1986.
Wild Nothing – Through The Grass
“Sailing” by Christopher Cross anyone?? So good. Same weird nostalgic feeling.
Just for comparison:
Just for fun:
53. Nas – Accident Murderers
Oh how I love this song.
Milo Greene – Don’t You Give Up On Me
Another beauty from Milo Greene.
55. Dave Matthews Band – Sweet
This song actually is the sweetest thing ever. It’s about his son learning to swim which makes it even sweeter.
56. Muse – Madness
So maybe I’ve been living under a rock but when did Muse start to sound EXACTLY like Queen? “Madness” is undeniably good though.
57. Chromatics – Into The Black
Chromatics are so damn good at covers. This Neil Young cover is no exception.
58. Big Boi – CPU
This album just squeaked in under the deadline and I’m so happy it did. A plethora of great tracks but I’m partial to those involving Phantogram and Little Dragon. Pardon the poor YouTube quality.
59. Beach House – Myth
Though I couldn’t completely get into this album like the rest of the world I thought this track was pretty exquisite.
60. Bat For Lashes – Laura
Love love love this song. Beautiful and sad.
61. Porcelain Raft – Backwords
This songs is beautiful, haunting, and generally depressing. Thumbs up.
62. Poolside – Kiss You Forever
Best listened to while driving in this car:
63. Band Of Skulls – Close To Nowhere
Sweet Sour didn’t change my life like Baby Darling Doll Face Honey but this track is super gorgeous.
64. No Doubt – Settle Down
Yeah Gwen! I still love you. Gwenabie for life.
65. Kathleen Edwards – Change The Sheets
Fantastic driving song. So triumphant. You go Mrs. Bon Iver.
66. Frank Ocean – Lost
He’s got a buttercream silk shirt on and it’s Versace.
67. Kendrick Lamar – Poetic Justice
More Kendrick. Janet Jackson sample. I wonder if Janet wanted Kendrick to take an HIV test before he used her sample. (Anyone who gets that reference can have $5).
68. Grimes – Nightmusic
69. Latch – Disclosure
Totally sick song with really stalkerish kidnappy lyrics.
70. Mumford & Sons – Whispers In The Dark.
Banjo breakdowns are one of the greatest things in the world.
71. Bat For Lashes – Marilyn
Marches along and shimmers the whole way.
72. MS MR – Hurricane
Great song brought to my attention by Mr. Robert Betz.
73. Twin Shadow – Be Mine Tonight
This song would be in the rotation with Lady In Red and Nonesuch in ’86.
74. Icona Pop – I Love It
So repetitive and slightly annoying but spectacular and powerful.
75. Asa – Leave The Light On (Stumblein Remix)
This song is super sad and awesome. Oh and it samples Ursher. This unofficial video is rad.
76. Passion Pit – Carried Away
So freakin chipper!
77. Chromatics – Kill For Love
Title track off their album. Very shimmery and lovely.
78. Miike Snow – Paddling Out
Though I wasn’t blown away by the whole album this song is great. And for the last time it’s Mike Snow not Me-kay Snow.
79. Stepdad – Must Land Running
This song makes me believe I could Forrest Gump-it across the US.
80. Bloc Party – Truth
Their album Four was, in my opinion, a giant disappointment but this song is sweet.
80. Tanlines – Brothers
Tanlines’ signature awesome tropical percussion.
82. Solange – Losing You
Beyonce’s sister can sing too ok people?! And she is fierce.
83. Enrique Iglesias – Finally Found You
Yep. I don’t even care. This song makes me soooo happy. Look out for Sammy Adams in 2013.
84. Kanye West – Clique
This one grew on me and now I can’t get enough. Jay’s verse = YES.
85. Azealia Banks – Nathan
She is so badass. 53 seconds in is the magic spot.
86. Fiona Apple – Daredevil
The part at 1:48 when her voice starts turning into an exquisite shriek-growl. Goosebumps every time.
87. Poolside – Give It A Rest
Listen to while driving the same car mentioned above.
88. LP – Into The Wild
Ummmm seriously her voice is CRAZY good.
89. Frankie Rose – Pair of Wings
Like a lovely lullaby.
90. Nikki Minaj – Beez In The Trap
Nikki can still be badass but she should watch out for Azealia.
91. St. Lucia – All Eyes On You
Ok I’m sick of writing about St. Lucia. They’re good.
92. Tallest Man On Earth – 1904
2012 Bob Dylan. This song is amazing.
93. Delta Spirit – Time Bomb
94. Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Drank)
People say this is a drinking game in a song but if you really listen to the lyrics it makes you want to abstain and possibly go to a meeting.
95. Big Boi – Mama Told Me
I love Big Boi. This song is so fun.
96. Savoire Adore – Dreamers
Album was a big disappointment but this song is fantastic.
97. Poolside – Can’t Get You Off My Mind
Perhaps the most simple song of all time. Probably not but almost. Beach Boys-ish goodness. Very pretty.
98. Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
More banjo please.
99. No Doubt – Push And Shove
ND said it was their “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Not quite. But it’s a good song.
100. Bahamas – Lost In The Light
Well now this song is in commercials but it’s still great. Artists gotta eat.