If we’re heading toward the end of the year, it must mean it’s time for another list!
Last Friday I asked you to tell me what your favorite songs were for 2012. The responses were scattershot, from Frank Ocean’s “Lost” to Josh Groban’s “Brave” to Green Day’s “Let Yourself Go.” Even Paul McCartney’s “My Valentine” got a mention.
My rundown could have also included The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pool (Drank),” The Wanted’s “Glad You Came,” Ocean’s “Thinkin’ Bout You,” and The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” – but that would start an out-of-control list, so here is my self-imposed limit of 10.
If you didn’t get a chance to weigh in then, now is your chance to share your picks of the year.
10. Matchbox Twenty, “She’s So Mean”: Mock if you will, but this comeback song from the ‘90s hitmakers highlighted Rob Thomas’ knack for crafting goofy-fun lyrics wrapped in a cotton candy melody. Pat Monahan, take note.
9. B.o.B., “So Good”: The first single from the Atlanta rapper’s sophomore album is filled with joyful expressions of wanting to treat a lady right complemented by a chorus that goes airborne.
8. Adele, “Skyfall”: Not only is it the sleekest James Bond theme in years, with a haunting moodiness that adeptly encapsulates the melancholy that drives the film, but it gives us another taste of Adele as torch singer. More in 2013, please.
7. Gotye featuring Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used to Know”: This Sting-meets-Peter-Gabriel homage starts as a whiny boy lament until Kimbra shows up to set him straight. Summer’s second most inescapable song (see No. 4) also contains one of the most graceful lyrics of the year in the line, “You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness.” But no-go on that hideous dance remix.
6. Grouplove, “Tongue Tied”: Maybe you heard it in an Apple commercial. Maybe you sought it out because you learned that the son of Yes’ Trevor Rabin is in the band. Whatever made you seek out this zig-zagging slice of disco pop (technically released in 2011, but it didn’t scale the charts until this summer), it surely made you smile the first time you heard it.
5. Taylor Swift, “I Knew You Were Trouble”: Say what you want about her fickle love life, but the girl knows how to write a solid pop song. Most of her gazillion-selling “Red” album lands on a new level of musical maturity for Swift, but this current hit, with its hints of dubstep and savvy lyrics, is irresistible.
4. Carly Rae Jepson, “Call Me Maybe”: Admit it. You loved it. And c’mon, at least this Ultimate Summer Song had strings and clever wording.
3. Fun. “We Are Young” (featuring Janelle Monae): You know it’s a good year when your band has two songs worthy of most year-end Top 10 lists, but the nod goes to this breakthrough (over “Some Nights”) mostly for its message of friendship – sort of a “Closing Time” for this generation — off-kilter timing and a chorus so anthemic, it already belongs in football stadiums.
2. Butch Walker, “Synthesizers”: One of these days the world will catch up with the musical brilliance of the Georgia-born Walker. This cheeky pop song throws more than a nod to Dexys Midnight Runners’ “Come On, Eileen” with its slick use of banjo, plus namechecks Duran Duran and Sacajawea and offers some of the best advice of the year: “For once (once) in your life, won’t you do what feels right instead of waiting for the next big compromise.”
1. Imagine Dragons, “It’s Time”: Everything about this song is memorable, from its quirky syncopations and sparse guitar to its call for individualism. A soaring chorus and handclaps mask a lot of raw emotions that are delivered with an ache — yet tinged with hopefulness — by frontman Dan Reynolds.
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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene