Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 50 Best Songs of 2012: #10-6

#10. "Radio" - Lana Del Rey
Although the self-proclaimed "gangster Nancy Sinatra" released her breakout YouTube singles in the late days of 2011, the long-awaited debut full-length dropped in early 2012 - adding two handfuls of equally sassy and eclectic new age pop to the mix. This particular jazz-infused ditty, with its equally breathy and brave vocals, hip-hop percussion and now famous chorus line ("Now my life's sweet like cinnamon/ Like a f**kin' dream I'm livin' in") is like an edgy and twisted Broadway finale - and this year's indie poster girl is just the ticket to making it sound so heroic.



#9. "Goldie" - A$AP Rocky
After rapper Rakim Meyers' busy year - one that included collaborations with his "dream girl" (see #10), huge festival spots and the release of his own LongLiveA$AP - the young gun has enough street cred to do just about whatever he wants in the new year. On "Goldie", the beat-heavy foundation, distorted chorus and explicit rhyming worked wonders in reviving a classic and grimy rap bounce - not one for the faint-of-heart, but one that reminds us of how fun a menacing chirp fest can sound.

 


#8. "Emmylou" - First Aid Kit
"I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June/ If you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too," the Swedish songbird's harmonies soar on this gorgeously upbeat folk ballad - making it hard to believe the vocally advanced sisters and their knowledge of great musical unions past are something of the 1990s. The fluttering country strings, swaying violin and layers upon layers of soft yodels are exactly what is meant by 'music to the ears.'



#7. "Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
Much to my initial surprise, this romantic folk jig truly ended up stealing the show in 2012. Above a foot stomp and some jangly chords, dreamy Jeremiah Fraite's simple preaching about meeting his soulmate in Chinatown, despite all of life's insecurities, might be the most melodically and lyrically simple concept of 2012. But sure enough, against many odds, the mainstream loved it - and it became just the littlest bit game, and life, changing for all of us.

 


#6. "Swimming Pools (Drank)" - Kendrick Lamar
Aside from a handful of other mind-altering rap tracks this year, Lamar catchily nailed down the ins and outs of drinking on this smash single - rapidly rhyming off the reasons he parties against one of the darkest and hookiest background loops of the year. The thing about Kendrick, is that his clever community and upbringing commentary is woven so slyly into captivating production touches and good beats, you don't realize you're being told something meaningful while two-stepping along.

 


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