We are in the era of the single and 2012 was a great year for the single. Five years ago I still bought albums, but it’s a different world today. 2012 wasn’t lacking for great singles. I was addicted to Maroon 5’s “One More Night” as well as anything that Adele released. I loved the attention that was given to more alternative or indie artists like Goyteand fun., which was rightfully earned. As I compiled my list of favorite songs it was incredibly difficult. I wanted to have a range that represented my varied tastes, but ultimately I just decided to let the numbers do the talking. Here are my three most played songs of 2012.
Best Songs of 2012
Cough Syrup by Young the Giant – I first heard this song through the wall of my classroom after school. I couldn’t get the tune out of my head and I finally abandoned my work to find out who the artist was. Young the Giant is an Indie rock group from Southern California. Cough Syrup is one of two songs they released on their debut album. Although their debut was released in 2010, I am still adding this single to my list for 2012 because that is when I was introduced to them. The lead vocals are by Sameer Gadhia and he has an honest and earnest vocal style. According to Wikipedia, Cough Syrup was written long before the band had a record deal and is about breaking free from “common symptoms of suburbia like boredom, normality and homogeneity”. The lyrics are moving and I think the idea behind the message is fitting for any kind of oppression or struggle.
Home by Phillip Phillips – I was in China during the 2012 Summer Olympics and I missed that this song became the official anthem of the American gymnastics team. It wasn’t until I returned home in August that I heard it repeatedly on the radio and I was an instant fan. I love the folksy feel of the song. Phillip has a gorgeous voice full of warmth and soul. Plus who doesn’t love a song that is about finding shelter and belonging. This song was written as a coronation single for the finalists on American Idol. Typically I have hated each and every one of those songs. I didn’t watch the 2012 season of Idol and missed that this was Phillips crowing glory. It is a song that I think will last for a very long time. Even though Phillips didn’t write it he embedded it with his spirit and soul and I think it fits well on his debut album alongside his own original material.
Domino by Jessie J – Domino is the perfect pop tune, catchy, fun and it has a great chorus to sing-a-long with. Jessie J was already on my radar with her first U.S. hit Price Tag, but Domino just kicks everything up a notch. Whereas Price Tag has a more heartfelt message, Domino is just about having a good time. What I like about Jessie is that her style is a fusion of sounds. You get some pop, soul, hip-hop, disco etc. that creates this amazing vibe. I hope Jessie keeps writing hits like this and she will have a fan for life.
Most Overplayed Single
Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen – First, I will say that I don’t hate the song, I just think it has been overplayed and I could go another five years without ever hearing it again. There is no denying the charm that is Carly Rae. This beautiful young woman with has an infectious voice and happy demeanor. This is the type of song that burrows into your head and has you singing it all day long, which can be fun—but when you have done that five days in a row it is a tad annoying. Of course with a hit this big, it also led to the parodies and YouTube recreations of the video. I will say that I did not indulge in the fandom of the song and I have not seen the music video or any of the parodies. I will also say that I hope that Carly Rae doesn’t let this be her one big shot at stardom in the U.S., but can parlay this into a much longer career. She is talented and I look forward to more depth in her future work.
You Didn’t Hear It (But You Should Have)
Comfortable Swagg by Jon B. – My favorite genre is R&B and Jon B. is that traditional smooth voiced R&B artist. I have been a fan of his since his first album Bonafide that was released in 1995. He set the stage for Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke as a pioneer for white guys to embrace their soulful sides. I was thrilled when he released Comfortable Swagg in 2012. The title track is my favorite, funky, and smooth. I love a track that has an easy groove that I can jam too. My second favorite track is Only You, a traditional R&B ballad that allows Jon to show off his vocal ability. Jon is releasing a B-Sides album on the 25th and I am excited to see even more work from him.
Hello My Name Is…Brigit Mendler – You might be familiar with Brigit due to her single Ready or Not that was a top 50 hit this past year. If you were a fan of that single I would highly recommend purchasing her full album. On a whim I decided to purchase the album and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked each and every song. This almost never happens to me. Sure some of the songs are better than others, but as a whole there is not one song I would skip. That speaks volumes about the album. It is a classic pop album with catchy tunes, but upon closer examination there is a lot of depth to the lyrics. In a field where most pop stars have to create a persona that often borders on the ridiculous, I appreciate that Brigit relies on her talent to speak for itself. My favorite tracks are “Love Will Tell Us Where to Go”, “Top of the World”, and “The Fall Song.”