The rules of the list are simple: any song released in 2012, whether released as a single or as part of an album release, is eligible to get into this list. All these singles have merits in their own right. You might want to place in the comments area if you agree of disagree with my choices. I'd gladly reply to your comments if ever
Before we start with any of the actual top 20, I have some honorable mentions.
Thinkin Bout You - Frank Ocean
Usher - Climax
110% - Jessie Ware
Timelines - Motion City Soundtrack
The Veldt - Deadmau5
The Early November - In Currents
I Cry - Flo Rida
Constant Conversations - Passion Pit
Merry Go Round - Kacey Musgraves
Angel Eyes - Love and Theft
20. Oblivion - Grimes (single release: February 20, 2012)
If you haven't heard of Claire Boucher yet, well, now you know. Better known by her stage name Grimes, she's come up with some really interesting electro-pop music bordering on psychedelic. The tune is wonderfully bubblegummy, and add that high pitched girlish, almost infantile voice. But beneath the layers of vanilla and fairy dust lie a song that is about something much more sinister, images of how in the dark, someone could come behind you and break your neck, and you'll never see it coming. "See you in a dark night."
19. Last Day of Summer - Action Item (single release: August 9, 2012)
Every year, tons of pop punk bands and the like release their take of the crucial summer anthem, which over the years I've realized to be a really important pop punk trope. I guess that's one of the reasons why I love the genre. Probably the best among the rest is this little piece by Action Item. I love the escapism that these sort of songs engender. "If we don't go home, the sun won't set." "If you just stay right here inside my heart, then tomorrow morning never comes." It's the perfect summer transition song.
18. Somewhere in Neverland - All Time Low (September 18, 2012)
Another escapist anthem might be this gem by All Time Low. I am quite excited for them to perform this song in Smash Project 2013 next year. And for good reason, this is probably their most interesting release in quite a while. The chorus is catchy, and many people can relate to the narrative of the song. "Wendy, run away with me... I wanna be your lost boy, your last chance, a better reality. Wendy we can get away, I promise if you're with me, say the word and I'll find a way." It's the hopeless romantic's classic pop punk tune. A bit childish, but hey, who wants to grow up anyway right?
17. Anna Sun - Walk the Moon (single release: February 7, 2012)
One of the catchiest tunes to come out from 2012, Anna Sun is Walk the Moon's definitive single that essentially placed them on the map, and even more so, on MTV's Artist to Watch for in 2012. Another cool summer tune, though it was released a bit earlier than summer of 2012. Anna Sun is a song of freedom and of energy, of keeping it together despite the wild ride. "Live my life without / station wagon rides / fumbling 'round the back / not one seatbelt on / wait for summertime / coming up for air /
now it's all awash/ now it's all awash."If this is the direction alternative and synthpop are driving towards to in the future, then the future looks bright. Not one seatbelt on, I might add.
16. Clarity - Zedd ft. Foxes (single release: November 13, 2012)
I first heard of Zedd when he stood as the front act for Gaga's Born This Way Ball here in Manila. And my gosh was I impressed. He was this energetic little dude that lit the whole arena in dazzling spectacle and heartpounding beats. He's described as an up and coming artist in the world of EDM, taken under the wing of none other than Skrillex himself. He puts his skills as a producer and DJ to the test in his inventive album entitled "Clarity," which is a beautiful electro-narrative from the first track to the last. Of the tracks, the single upon which the album gets its name is probably the best. The chilling vocals of featured artist Foxes adds to the already masterful beat that Zedd created. Zedd really went places this year. Being the cutie that he is was just a bonus.
15. Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson (single release: October 15, 2012)
I know I will get some flak for choosing this single over the much more famous and charted song "Stronger," but I actually think this one deserves to be on the top of the charts over "Stronger." Kelly Clarkson as a whole creates empowering music nowadays (and I think all throughout her career). This single is no exception. I found out about this song through the Voice finale. And was I lucky to discover it. I like the pop rock and electronic elements of the song, and the great lyrics are just a plus. There are also amazing notes hit by Kelly all throughout which I just adore. C-c-c-catch my breath, yeah!
14. Over You - Cassadee Pope (single release: November 19, 2012)
This was Cassadee's game changer single, that made her the frontrunner late into the Voice game. This shot into the top of the iTunes charts just a few hours after the live shows. And by top I don't mean just part of the top ten. It went all the way to top 1 baby! It's a wonderful song written by Blake Shelton, Cass' Voice coach, originally sung by Blake's wife Miranda Lambert. Cassadee has a way of really telling a story and connecting to people, and she deserves the Voice win completely. And this single is proof. I'm not over you yet Cass!
13. Too Close - Alex Clare (ad release: March 2012)
To tell you the truth, this song was released in 2011, so it shouldn't be eligible for this year's list, but it gained popularity due to an Internet Explorer ad released on March 2012, which singlehandedly put the song on the map, especially to more mainstream listeners, allowing for its eventual rise in the charts, and in the hearts of many. This song hits painfully close to home, too close if I might add (pun very much intended). The song speaks of someone dealing with being too close in terms of friendship, that in fears of ruining everything, decided that they cannot go further romantically, and choose to remain just friends. It tackles the oft misunderstood side of the friendzoner, who also struggles as well. I love this song to death, seriously. It was even covered by Melanie Martinez on The Voice, which is just a plus.
12. Brokenhearted - Karmin (single release: February 7, 2012)
Sunny with a lot of pep! The Karmin duo has a distinctive sound, and it's definitely exhibited here in their charting song, Brokenhearted. From the very well-sung verses and chorus, to the impressive rap parts (cheerio included, mind you), this song will clung on tightly as an earworm in the summer, and especially come UAAP season, due to the incessant plays of this song during the time outs and breaks of the games. It's simple and sickeningly sugary, but it's the various genre-crossing elements that make this set unique. Kudos to Karmin!
11. Wanted - Hunter Hayes (single release: March 5, 2012)
The song that shot Hunter Hayes to the top of the country music charts in September. What's gripping about the song is the sincerity of the emotions, probably stemming from the fact that it draws from Hunter's real life experience. It's very mature songwriting for someone so young (especially in the world of country). This song deserves to be called the country ballad of the year! This is definitely going to my list of "eventual songs to be sung at my wedding." PS: This song was also covered by Alex Goot and Julia Sheer (and it's a damn good cover that gave justice to the song, mind you.)
10. Wide Awake - Katy Perry
Wide Awake has touches of electronica here and there, but mostly it's a ballad. I find it to be one of Katy's more mature songs. Its bittersweet lyrics are coupled with Katy's lovely and emotional singing that makes for a wonderful combination.
9. Take Care - Drake ft. Rihanna
One of my favorite songs of all time. You have to take a listen to understand. The various elements just work, from Rihanna's verses, to the rap of Drake, featuring all throughout elements of R&B, alternative hip hop, as well as a bit of art pop, the song works on so many levels. Just a bonus that I feel the lyrics to the core.
8. It's Time - Imagine Dragons
I first happened upon this treat of a song from the Perks trailer. And from there on, I was hooked.
7. Beauty and the Beat - Justin Bieber ft. Nicki Minaj
I have to be honest with you, I am not the same belieber as I was a year or two ago. Yes, I do not enjoy Justin's current ventures as much as I did in the past, and while the whole world is praising Justin's growth and supposed maturity in the most recent album release, I just cannot appreciate the same way. Of course, this little piece is the only hinge that keeps me holding on at this point, being what I feel to be the direction that Justin should take in the future. The interesting Nicki Minaj verses just add spice to the mix. Overall, this is probably one of the very few reasons I still belieb.
6. Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men
I usually do not enjoy folksy stuff (thus the lack of Ho Hey anywhere in this list, despite its wonderful performance in charts and all). But I found this little gem of a song from Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men to be an oasis of tranquility in an often times difficult indie wilderness. The side-by-side male and female vocals, coupled with the right hook in the chorus means a knockout win all over for this beauty of a song.
5. Little Things - One Direction
I was weighing whether to place this song in the list versus its direct competition "Live While We're Young," which appears as an innocent summer song, until you realize that its salacious lyrics laced with sexual inuendo. As much as LWWY is the more successful song, chart-wise, I believe Little Things should be the definite direction that 1D should take in the future. From the Ed Sheeran lyrics, to the melodic voices of these five angels, this is what One Direction should be about. And I bet their directioners are thinking the same thing, little things.
4. Payphone - Maroon 5
This song by Maroon 5 really gets the job done. Catchy tune and lyrics, it makes for a wonderful pop anthem. Some people criticize the addition of Wiz Khalifa into the song, but I find the rap to be endearing. There's also that criticism that the payphone hasn't really been used anymore in the last few years of anyone's lives. But hey, I think there's a nostalgic feel to that. Of course, my personal criticism is the disconnect between the payphone and what the rest of the song is all about. Oh well. Still the hooks are great, and lyrics really connect with those hopeless cases out there.
3. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift
There must be a reason why this song is nominated for a grammy. Well, it can be how inventive the tune is and all. But I feel this song does not showcase very well Taylor's vocals, rather depending on the orchestration of producer Max Martin to create what is probably one of 2012's monumentally successful singles. My favorite part is when Taylor mimics the voice of the guy, and she's like "I STILL LOVE YOU" in the most hilarious attempt at a fake deep voice I have ever heard in my life.
2. Some Nights - Fun. (Single release: June 4, 2012)
It's a crazy mix of gospel sounds, afrobeat and showtunes, all wrapped in this little indie pop package. The lyrics are intriguing but not confusing. There's a sense of wonder and majesty to this song. It's a good follow-up to the smashing success of "We Are Young" of the previous year. Ehem. There's a reason why these boys are nominated for the Grammys you know.
1. Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen (Single release: February 22, 2012)
If there is anything that would characterize the nature of this year, it would be this song. If you haven't heard about this song, you've probably been living in a cave this last year. Carly Rae Jepsen invaded the air waves and the music charts with this infectious tune, that started out as a weird discovery, considering how interesting the music video was for this song over on youtube.
If Jesus is the definitive revelation, and the canon is the definitive list of books, Call Me Maybe can be the definitive song of 2012.
And that's a wrap! Thanks for accompanying me on this recap of the year in music. Catch me tomorrow as I continue the traditional year-enders and year-starters. See you!
Daily Dose: Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson