Monday, December 24, 2012

The Top Best Songs of 2012: #35-31

#35. "Small Town Moon" - Regina Spektor
Rightfully heralded as our generation's Joni Mitchell, Russian-born/Bronx-raised Spektor has grown into one of the wisest and most mesmerizing artists contributing to the contemporary anti-folk scene. Anti-folk, a genre characteristic of Manhattan's villages and known for its near mocking of mainstream trends, is something Spektor's quirky ditties could be classified as - but more so, it becomes (especially on the latest What We Heard from the Cheap Seats in the Back) clear her songwriting style and musical preferences come much more from within than from part of a movement. On "Small Town Moon," her wordy rambles flow in between melodic moments of sincerity ("How can I leave without hurting everyone that made me?", she asks) and instrumental jams - showing that like anything great, her music really does get better with age.


#34. "The Don" - Nas
Home to one of the most addictive beats and the last of the late Heavy D's sought-after production touches, "The Don" made up for what it lost in chart-topping status with critical acclaim and praise. Like the rest of Life is Good, Nas paints a clear look back with honest rhymes following loss, parenthood, divorce and nearly 20 years as a hip-hop mastermind. A crackling monologue accurately introduces the track, stating: "He's the heartbeat of the people/ People from the projects, street people/ Hortical ghetto youth who know what it is to sing about suffering and reality."


#33. "Every Single Night" - Fiona Apple
Definitely one of the most interesting and acclaimed albums of this year, with hands-down the most cumbersome title on the charts (The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do), Apple notably stunned with this fourth release and delayed dip back into the music game after seven years away from the limelight. The peculiar collection of tricky tunes includes everything from eccentric jazz flare to dark folk remnants, but it's her feminine croon heard cooing "I just want to feel everything" on this track that perfectly encapsulates why it shone as the first bizarrely beautiful single.


#32. "Blunderbuss" - Jack White
On his first eclectic solo album, White hops all over the musical map; stopping at grungy, electric anthems, funky Little Willie covers and this swaying, twang-filled country ballad. A slight departure from the angsty thump anthems his unparalleled guitar skills are very good for, the title track of the April release is both candid and a mystery - behind the swelling guitar, shaky vocals and bawling violin, we don't know who or what he's speaking about when he cries: "Doing what two people need is never on the menu." It's better that way, I think.

#31. "Some Nights" - fun.
Formerly of The Format, front man Nate Ruess (re)emerged this year as one of the most exceptional front men on the scene. Equipped with a Freddie Mercury-style, octave-shattering shout and a knack for penning dynamic indie-pop chart toppers, Ruess' latest project is a welcome interruption amidst the formulaic sounds of some of the weekly countdowns we flipped through in 2012. On this title track, a wild journey through the psyche of the modern-day rock star with glitzy Broadway vocal flare and a verse, moment or word that will appeal to just about any listener - fun. hit their second home run of the year, solidifying they were a catchy and unique force to be reckoned with. Specifically, one that doesn't believe in just releasing more noise.

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