This long coming post was heavily delayed due to a lot of late-in-the-year sonic discoveries and so I had to scrap my original list and make a whole new one! Well, as they say, it's better late than never so here is a year end countdown review of my favourite songs of the year.
Unlike my last year's list, Songs O' 2011, this year's list is not dominated by one artist having a stellar year (Adele, how are you STILL the top selling artist of the year).
10. "Goon Squad" by DEFTONES (LISTEN)
The best song on their new Koi No Yokan album, the Deftones do it again by creating a heavy but atmospheric song, of course. The song starts off slow (actually due to the song before it on the album) but then it explodes into a killer riff, one of the best I've ever heard.
Check out my updated Top Ten Deftones Songs which now includes this gem.
9. "Pop That" by FRENCH MONTANA feat Rick Ross, Drake, Lil' Wayne (LISTEN)
I think Rick Ross, Drake, and French Montana were the second best rap crew of 2012 as they came together to make some hot songs this year. Even though Rick Ross' song "Stay Schemin'" was good, the obnoxious keys and unrelenting high hats of "Pop That" makes the song just so incredibly fun. Another bonus is the video is so hilariously stereotypical. I also think Drake spits his best verse ever on this track.
8. "m.A.A.d City" by KENDRICK LAMAR feat MC Eiht (LISTEN)
Compton, U.S.A. made "Me an Angel on Angel Dust"
An undeniably West Coast sounding beat drives the first half of the song as Kendrick masterfully paints a picture of the undeniably thug life one experiences in his home town of Compton. At the 2:35 mark the song changes to another hardcore West Coast beat that transforms your dancing to deep head bobbing. Kendrick's rap style changes as well, becoming more frantic and laboured like he is even more emotionally broken at this point in the song. MC Eiht drops a gangster third verse to the song. The two really paint a terribly beautiful picture of the environment that transforms good kids into bad people.
7. "Bonfire" by KNIFE PARTY (LISTEN)
Wow this is a fun song! I can't tell you how long I've had this song on repeat for, getting me through the work day. The way the break beat drums builds up the tension before that inevitable bass drop makes the transition so satisfying. The almost walking beat that carries the song's "verses" peppered with synthetic horns just goes so well together. It also helps that this song was featured on my favourite show on TV right now: Breaking Bad.
6. "Mercy" by KANYE WEST feat Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz (LISTEN)
Kanye's new found fascination with Trap beats has created a killer in the club. The best posse track for the best rap group of the year, "Mercy" starts off strong with a hot and memorable verse from Big Sean who gets playful with the word ass. The rest of G.O.O.D. crew does well with their verses and although I like Kanye's lyrics, I really don't care for the beat change during his verse. The strongest part of the song by far is Kanye's impeccable sampling choices to create an awesome hook ("Lamborghini Mercy") and bridge ("it is a weeping...") combo that just works so well with the slow tempo and heavy beat. Get ready to hear this song in the club for years to come.
5. "The Sticks" by MOTHER MOTHER (LISTEN)
The second song and title track of their latest record, Mother Mother takes the iconic drums from Led Zeppelin's classic "When The Levee Breaks" but then they turn it on its head by adding a super fuzzy bass. A few seconds later an unsettling piano joins in and this all combines together for a very dark, sinister and almost foggy feeling in the airwaves. The sound and feeling they accomplish go perfectly with the song's subject matter about abandoning traditional society and escaping to isolated place.
4. "Bastard / Lemonade" by BADBADNOTGOOD (LISTEN)
This Toronto jazz trio united over their love of hip hop music and together they have a penchant to reinterpret those tracks into modern jazz. Over their recent releases they have covered a lot of hip hop songs beautifully but I think their combination of Tyler The Creator's "Bastard" and Gucci Mane's "Lemonade" is their best. They start with the simple piano riffs that drive the two songs but then they go all jazzy and break it down to wonderful noise. The drums here are key as Alexander Sowinski goes absolutely nutso showing that jazz drummers are the true monsters of the any genre.
3. "Hold On" by ALABAMA SHAKES (LISTEN)
This song is the opposite to the #4 pick! Everything about this song is so simple it is plain amazing to hear it come together so well. The chorus is very memorable that begs you to belt out alongside it ("hooooooooold on"). This was my anthem song for the summer of 2012.
2. "House That Heaven Built" by JAPANDROIDS (LISTEN)
My favourite rock song of the year. From the feedback of intro the song grabs your attention and takes you on a high octane journey for the 4:49 of songs entirety. The drums just don't stop in this song and they seemingly reach a climax during the song's breakdown with the switching between rapid high hats to machine gun sounding snare - just plain awesome. Celebration Rock was hands down my favourite album of the year and this was the LP's crown jewel.
1. "Feel So Close" by CALVIN HARRIS
The reason why I chose this to be the number one song of 2012 is the accessibly of the song. The singing is memorable and pleasant and the beat is perfect for getting people to dance. From weddings to clubs, from EDM to adult contemporary radio stations, everyone can play this song and will play this song for the rest of time - a true classic.
Good year for Canadians:
"Baby's Got It" by Maylee Todd (LISTEN)
"Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jespen (LISTEN)
"Road Sick" by Cancer Bats (LISTEN)
"Wet Blanket" by METZ (LISTEN)
Just missed it:
"45" by The Gaslight Anthem
"Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" by P!nk
"Bugg'n" by TNGHT
"Demons" by Sleigh Bells
"Desolation" by Lamb of God
"Gangam Style" by PSY
"I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
"Kyoto" by Skrillex
"Madness" by Muse
"Stay Schemin'" by Rick Ross feat Drake, French Montana
"System Blower" by Death Grips
"Thinking' About You" by Frank Ocean