Apologies for the lateness, once again. Here are my favorite songs of the year – you can listen to the top 30 here, and check out the whole Top 100 on Spotify. Despite their claims, however, Spotify does not actually provide “pretty much all of the world’s recorded music”, so this playlist is missing a few great contributions from artists like RiFF RAFF, Action Bronson, Black Bananas, Staygold, Azealia Banks, and Flatbush ZOMBiES.
1. Grimes – Genesis
My introduction to Grimes was watching the above video on Gorilla vs Bear. I fell in love instantly. Grimes released one of the most original records of the year, heralding an exciting new movement in indie music of young women deconstructing their favorite pop songs from childhood and reimagining them in modern, personal frameworks. No one has come close to doing it like Claire Boucher, though.
2. Disclosure ft. Sam Smith – Latch[youtube http://youtu.be/93ASUImTedo]
Hard deciding between this and “Flow” for my Disclosure track on the list. I’m so excited to see what these guys do in 2013. So exciting to hear something this fresh in the realm of British house.
3. La Sera – Love That’s Gone[youtube http://youtu.be/d9U5IL6fRXI]
What a beautiful album Katy Goodman a.k.a. Kickball Katy a.k.a. La Sera snuck under our noses this year. Nostalgic, heart-melting chords.
4. TNGHT – Higher Ground[youtube http://youtu.be/6HzyUHxmkg0]
There should be more than two guys making records like this. Unstoppably hard.
5. Foxygen – Shuggie[youtube http://youtu.be/QPmAO4xpQcE]
Standout track from my new favorite band. Foxygen’s 70s rock hodge-podge style succeeds the most at its subtlest, and “Shuggie” doesn’t hit you over the head. A pretty melody over a funky groove, that meanders towards a climactic, uplifting chorus of “If you believe in yourself, you can free your soul.”
6. Kendrick Lamar ft. Dr. Dre – The Recipe[youtube http://youtu.be/RJc0M4CjmNg]
Amazing Twin Sister sample… got to hand it to Dr. Dre. He’s a goddamn genius, and unsurprisingly, he’s the one to make the perfect beat for his protege Lamar. And even though we know they’re all written by Lamar, we also get to hear Dre spit some of his best bars in years.
7. Crystal Castles – Plague
People who see me listening to this song on the train probably think I’m seriously disturbed.
8. Hospitality – Eighth Avenue
About 17 seconds in.
9. Nelly Furtado – Parking Lot
Nelly Furtado released an album this year that was mostly forgettable but included two amazing songs – “Parking Lot” and “Big Hoops (The Bigger The Better)”. I wish I could rank them both. Either song could be in the #9 spot, but “Parking Lot” edges out.
10. Elle Varner ft. J. Cole – Only Wanna Give It To You
Crazy catchy song. Varner is charming as hell.
11. Chairlift – Sidewalk Safari
I wasn’t crazy about Charlift’s debut, Does You Inspire You, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this year’s Something – but I certainly didn’t expect it to open with the eerie alien synth and the threatening, homicidal lyrics of “Sidewalk Safari”. These guys really have something original, super underrated.
12. Dirty Projectors – About to Die[youtube http://youtu.be/vlvKLNghq6Y]
Dirty Projectors were the best live show I saw all year – nothing like it. Ridiculous talent.
13. Sleigh Bells – Crush
Reign of Terror was a little underrated, I think. It took me a few listens before I really fell in love with it as a whole. “Crush” was my first favorite on the album. Perfect Sleigh Bells song.
14. Fiona Apple – Anything We Want
Hard to pick a favorite off of The Idler Wheel…, but if I had to (and I did), I’d have to pick “Anything We Want”. Maybe because it’s a break from the heartbreak, and all of a sudden Apple singing about being happy is the most uplifting, powerful sound you’ve ever heard.
15. Kindness – That’s Alright
World, You Need A Change Of Mind is a pretty cool album overall, but amongst the hazy electro pop, this little funky number basically comes out of nowhere.
16. AlunaGeorge – Your Drums, Your Love
Infectious beat. Aluna’s got a beautiful voice.
17. Opossom – Getaway Tonight[youtube http://youtu.be/vKd-KJ0mdQw]
18. Doe Paoro – I’ll Go Blind
A funky Rhodes will get you onto this list every time.
19. Usher – Climax[youtube http://youtu.be/nNTyfVh3nmU]
This is just a beautiful pop song. Brilliantly produced. One of Usher’s best songs to date. Diplo beat. Not the last time you’ll see his name on this list. He had a pretty great year.
20. Joker ft. Buggsy and Otis Brown – Lost
An unexpected favorite this year. Somewhat thoughtful grime/dubstep is typically a genre I would avoid at all costs, but this was one of my most listened to tracks of the year.
21. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
God, I hate this song. I ranked as many songs above it as I could, I swear.
22. Diplo ft. Lazerdisk Party Sex – Set It Off
Runner-up best music video of 2012. Total banger.
23. Preditah – Circles[youtube http://youtu.be/BvsJ5EuSQ04]
Preditah makes me go crazy.
24. Cloud Nothings – No Future/No Past[youtube http://youtu.be/RVO5OYoZQHc]
Long, deliberate build-up song made massively effective by vocalist Dylan Baldi’s growling crescendos. This song is more raw than anything else that came out this year.
25. Schoolboy Q ft. Ab Soul – Druggys Wit Hoes Again[youtube http://youtu.be/4oYwf5y9DFg]
Stupid beat, tight flow. Schoolboy Q going in.
26. Rick Ross ft. Elijah Blake – Presidential[youtube http://youtu.be/XOP9akjXWhA]
I don’t think God Forgives, I Don’t has made the same splash as Teflon Don, but this was the year Rick Ross proved himself in my opinion. The guy’s number one now, so he can pick whatever talent he wants to have around him, in terms of producers, engineers, collaborators – and he picks well. This beat is unbelievable.
27. No Doubt – Heaven
The No Doubt comeback was a little underwhelming, but this was a gem.
28. Freddie Gibbs ft. Curren$y – Tell a Friend
Naturally, the Curren$y feature was going to be the standout track on Freddie Gibbs Baby Face Killa. You put the two most formidable names in weed rap on a track together and you get one of the year’s hottest tracks.
29. Killer Mike – Reagan[youtube http://youtu.be/6lIqNjC1RKU]
You tell em, Mike! Nice to hear a “radical” political voice in music achieve some mainstream recognition.
30. Grizzly Bear – Speak In Rounds
In my mind, this was the hit on Shields. The album was a little underwhelming in my opinion, a lot of soft songs that tread slowly, heavily relying on the listener’s patience (of which I, personally, have very little). “Speak In Rounds” was just what I was looking forward to, though. Like most great Grizzly Bear songs, a masterful balance of tension and release.
View the rest below, and listen to them all on Spotify.
31. Frank Ocean – Thinkin Bout You
32. Melody’s Echo Chamber – Quand Vas Tu Rentrer
33. King Tuff – Alone & Stoned
34. Tennis – Petition
35. How To Dress Well – & It Was U
36. Brandy ft. Chris Brown – Put It Down
37. Chad Valley ft. Twin Shadow – I Owe You This
38. Marina and The Diamonds – Primadonna
39. Elton John vs Pnau – Phoenix
40. Etc! Etc! x Brillz x Diplo ft. Chuck Inglish – Bueller
41. Poolside – Why You Wanna
42. Nas ft. Amy Winehouse – Cherry Wine
43. Rusko – Whistle Crew
44. Ice Choir – Bounding
45. Rye Rye ft. M.I.A. – Better Than You
46. Allah-Las – Catalina
47. Steve Aoki ft. Angger Dimas & Iggy Azalea – Beat Down
48. RiFF RAFF – Rap Game King Tut
49. Shintaro Sakamoto – In a Phantom Mood
50. Solange – Don’t Let Me Down
51. Action Bronson – 9-24-11
52. Mac Demarco – Robson Girl
53. Black Bananas – Rad Times
54. Big Boi ft. T.I. and Ludacris – In The A
55. The Babies – Alligator
56. Frankie Rose – Know Me
57. Ceremony – Hysteria
58. Ty Segall Band – I Bought My Eyes
59. Tame Impala – Mind Mischief
60. Ski Beatz ft. Rugz D. Bewler & Nicole Wray – Thank God
61. Staygold ft. Damian Adore & Lady Chann – Swimsuit
62. Paws – Pony.
63. Alabama Shakes – Be Mine
64. Azealia Banks – Esta Noche
65. The Fresh & Onlys – Dream Girls
66. Iamamiwhoami – Good Worker
67. Flatbush ZOMBiES – Face-Off
68. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Baby
69. Kanye West ft. Jay-Z & Big Sean – Clique
70. Odd Future – Oldie
71. Animal Collective – Today’s Supernatural
72. 2 Chainz ft. Kanye West – Birthday Song
73. Nicki Minaj ft. 2 Chainz – Beez In The Trap
74. Slugabed – Unicorn Suplex
75. Wu-Tang Clan – Six Directions of Boxing
76. Passion Pit – Constant Conversations
77. Justin Bieber ft. Drake – Right Here
78. Delicate Steve – Tallest Heights
79. Beach House – Troublemaker
80. Rihanna – No Love Allowed
81. Trinidad James – One More Molly
82. The Memories – Higher
83. Vitalic – Stamina
84. A-Trak & Dillon Francis – Money Makin’
85. Royal-T – Don’t Call Me Baby
86. Strip Steve – Stomp
87. POP ETC – Live It Up
88. TS7 – Grade A
89. Earl Sweatshirt – Chum
90. Scissor Sisters – San Luis Obispo
91. Kreayshawn – Blase Blase
92. Die Antwoord – Fatty Boom Boom
93. Dr. Dog – Lonesome
94. A$AP Rocky – Goldie
95. Eternal Summers – Girls in the City
96. Young Magic – Slip Time
97. Santigold – Look At These Hoes
98. Maroon 5 – One More Night
99. The Soft Pack – Saratoga
100. Husky – Tidal Wave