Friday, December 21, 2012

Top 50 Best Songs of 2012: #50-46

Here we go! With the end of the year just a short ten days away (irrelevant - considering the world is supposedly ending today), it's the perfect chance to count down some of the most interesting, newsworthy, revolutionary and beautiful songs of 2012. This year will inevitably close out with an overwhelming amount of "best of" lists, all which are worth taking a peak at, but if you've visited In The Round before and heard even a taste or millisecond of something that caught your ear or tickled your musical fancy, I highly encourage you to stop back in over the course of the next ten days - I can promise there will be something from this music-packed, incredibly creative year that will appeal to everybody.

Last year, I looked into the best 2011 albums - but this year, I figured we'd specify some of the tracks and tunes that really brought the new releases into fruition, ignited the masses, received too much airtime or not enough. Since the beginning of radio and music mania, it's been proven that it can only take one song to grow a new album, or a new superstar. So let's deep dive into what, and who, some of those are.

50: "Kill for Love" - Chromatics
The sparkling but lonely new age title track from the synth-savvy Chromatics was the cherry on top of their continued climb to dreamy dance floor fame; after having their music cast alongside Ryan Gosling in Drive and releasing a sonically stunning sophomore album in March. The song's crystallized keyboards and breathy vocals throw back to the days of New Order, but are only a few of the many elements that help mold the band's own spin on rock noir. 


49. "Higher Ground" - TNGHT (Lunice x Hudson Mowhawke)
It's hard for me think coherently about a song when it's giving me a kiniption. Based out of Montreal (Lunice) and Glasgow (HudMo's Ross Birchard), these two have created a beautiful hybrid of chaotic hip-hop and ruthless beats on this EP, mashing it with a Diplo style of attention-deficit EDM effects and a nasty street edge. Whatever it is, it's music for the people - rousing movement in the stiffest of listeners and leading to questions of what kind of mayhem an LP will hold.

48. "Blank Maps" - Cold Specks
Straight from our very own Etobicoke, Ontario, Al Spyx is now a London-based, Polaris Prize-nominated singer songwriter with a soulfulness that stands out from any global residency. The gospel croon and innovative composition heard on the debut I Predict A Graceful Expulsion and this particularly deep track is all-too impressive - but still not enough for the young artist to depart from behind her pseudonym, which was created to thwart a devout and unsupportive family. Amidst her hardships and rise to notoriety, once you hear her assuredly howl "I am a goddamn believer" on "Blank Maps" - you'll find you are as well.

47. "& It Was U" - How To Dress Well
Tom Krell, experimental producer - or better known lately as the brilliantly R&B-infused white guy - came out of nowhere. Looking like your typical hipster, the educated Colorado-based newbie blew critics away on his second release upon first listen to his effortlessly falsetto verses, layered Blackstreet-style harmonies and early-90s two stepping beats ready for a shouldered-boombox. Lesson learned: don't judge a skinny white guy by his first album and his dark-rimmed glasses. Or a book by its cover.

46. "For A Fool" - The Shins
As part of a collection of new songs that emerged from James Mercer's veteran rock collective after over 11 years together, this one had a particularly wistful and Shins-y (most definitely a musical descriptive word) feel to it, rubbed with a refreshingly mature perspective. The first time I heard this soft-rock ballad off Port of Morrow, I remarked at how the indie-rock godfather's have really grown up; still magical, still quirky (as heard on the characteristic single "Simple Song"), but possessing a beautiful kind of calmness I look forward to hearing more of on album number five.




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