The 100 Best Songs of 2012: Vol. 3
As we step into 2013, we gladly continue our journey all the way down to the #1 song of 2012. But that doesn’t mean it will be popular per se. In the meantime, our list continues to dwindle down into more unstoppable tracks below. There are more than words can put into each blurb about each of these tracks, so please follow along and do listen while you read.
We hope you found these as enjoyable as we did.
50. Elias – Lake Louise
For “Lake Louise”, Elias calmly laid out the pieces to this punk-edged track with a precise spacing and anything but overkill instrumentals. The song radiates crisp guitar chords and a somewhat raspy refrain that seems akin to something Anthony Green might release.
49. Andrew Belle – Sky’s Still Blue
Don’t be discouraged by seeing non-band names pop up. Andrew Belle, much like Matt Kearney and Greg Laswell, constantly works with other artists and in doing so created a full-bodied experience in every one of his tracks. The Daylight EP‘s production quality speaks to his skill and placed him among the best solo artists in 2012.
48. The Walkmen – Heaven
“Heaven” is an uplifting track from a singer (Hamilton Leithauser) whose vocals make such a stark contrast to any hopeful experience we could have imagined here. The trailing “woo-oohhh”s wind the song all the way down into one beautiful confection of a song. The understated Walkmen had once again melted our hearts.
47. Cherub – Doses and Mimosas
Perhaps an unlikely player on our top 50, but the clever alto vocals and playful lyrics turned this song from a could-be thug track to a ploy for one of this year’s best dance anthems. The refrain is repeatable and the keyboard used here is simply fantastic. This 180 formula turned a song we practically passed over to one of our favorites of 2012.
46. School Of Seven Bells – Scavenger
Not surprisingly, SVIIB conjured up a sound that causes ethereal, otherworldly daydreaming…again. Tambourines, synthesizers on top of synthesizers and always sweetly spoken lyrics placed “Scavenger” high up. After Claudia Deheza left the group in 2010, the remaining two members began work on what would become Ghostory, and while it would generally mean less ‘sound’, the duo has reinvented the electronic rock that has drawn them attention since “Iamundernodisguise” from 2008′s Alpinisms.
45. Alabama Shakes – Hold On
Jack White enthusiasts will be pleased to discover Alabama Shakes making our top 100 songs. With their wild yet laid back rock persona, Brittany Howard and the Athens, Alabama rockers have something special here to offer everyone with “Hold On”.
44. Waylayers – Magnets
Waylayers may be this year’s best kept secret, and while it’s easy to throw that oft-said cliche, Waylayers remind us of a UK band who has got the “it factor”. With likely comparisons to Coldplay and the jangly guitars we hold near and dear, “Magnets” was a pleasant addition to 2012. Surely, the talent here sets precedence for Waylayers, so perhaps the best is yet to come.
43. Frank + Derol – Apparition
Interscope signed this duo from LA and while they could have gone straight glam pop, they went the road of disturbed, young adult pop. Codi Caraco and Brandi Cyrus have the voices to go as far as they want as was evident in their Frank + Derol EP which released in September. They aren’t on the radios yet, but if they keep their Stars-like aura, expect a huge following from the indie crowd.
42. The Temper Trap – Trembling Hands
Conditions from The Temper Trap landed at no. 22 in 2009 for albums, and with the help of tracks like “Trembling Hands”, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the group’s self-titled album will land higher in 2012.
41. Emperors – Be Ready When I Say Go
While driving rock anthems aren’t typically our forte, Emperor’s “Be Ready When I Say Go” reminds us fondly of Unwritten Law, but even more accurately of some of Foo Fighter’s best work. There’s a raucous similarity to the lead vocals of Dave Grohl and uncontrollable excitement every single time this song plays.
40. The Dig – Clouds and The White Noise
This NYC rock journey heads to the clouds. The 3 minute, 47 second journey welcomes screaming guitar chords, echoed lyrics and a psychedelic sway that puts you high above the hustle of the business world.
39. Faded Paper Figures – San Narciso
Heather Alden’s singing of “the message we’re sending, we want to believe” sums up the carefree spirit of Faded Paper Figures. The Matter springs alive with jumpy synth beats, tropical clashing and lyrics showing an strange integrity behind them.
38. Owl City – Take It All Away
Owl City’s sounds have bloomed into a pop-stardom of sorts, and while our solo friend may be appearing with that “Call Me Maybe” girl, “Take It All Away” embodies the elements only a not-so-long-ago indie artist based his foundation on. Listening to Owl City is a humbling experience with songs like this. Perhaps the most lovable attribute would be Adam Young’s innocent and straight-forward approach.
37. We Are Knights – Tears
Kitsune, the Paris company that seems to endlessly find bands that nobody has yet discovered, introduced We Are Knights to us in 2012. WAK’s “Tears” so subtly lays down some buzzing synths and a chilled out overtone that just drives this one home for us. It’s always the little things that wins points with us, and these guys have plenty more to offer.
36. Metric – Breathing Underwater
Synthetica proved to be a fine addition to the well-established Canadian group’s arsenal. While this track only recently started finding the airwaves (as “Youth Without Youth” stole the early limelight) it sinks in as our favorite track. Emily Haines led the charge with female vocals in electro groups for 2012 and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
35. Grizzly Bear – Yet Again
The track title here could just as easily explain Grizzly Bear’s appearance in 2012’s best song list, just as it has in year’s past. Nonetheless, Grizzly Bear’s video for “Yet Again” could be described as simply just as good as the song itself. The off-rhythm guitar strums and unpredictable nature present a jazzy side of rock alongside the traditional harmonizing and echoing we love so much in the Griz.
34. The Futures – Karma Satellite
The now defunct rock group trudged towards the release of The Karma Album, and with their last show together happening less than a month ago, adding them to our top 100 only seems fitting since they helped define the year. After leaving Mercury Records in early 2012, the band finalized their much-anticipated album and released this past Summer. Lead singer Ant West’s recent work can be found here.
33. The Shins – The Rifle’s Spiral
Somehow, whenever James Mercer sings he meets the energy of his bandmates without screaming. The Shins blasted back onto the scene with Port of Morrow and reminded everyone how much we love Mercer singing about some abstract, yet tangible, predicament.
32. Paper Route – You And I
Nashville’s Paper Route graced the US in support of Switchfoot earlier this year and picked up several thousand more listeners to their ever-growing fan base. The live show speaks to the production prowess that the electro-rockers possess, complete with extended versions, solo sections and crowd-energizing setlists that compile both top-notch albums that they group has released.
31. The Temper Trap – Rabbit Hole
While us here at MUF were in a bit of a conundrum, we heavily debated the use of “Trembling Hands” vs “Rabbit Hole” so much that we debated simply throwing one or the other out. Luckily for your ears, they’re both just as likable, if not excellently performed that we could in no way put either one in our top 25 if we did not reach an agreement of some sort. That said, each of us felt that these tracks could be interchangeably inserted into the top 25, but voted them both down because we could not reach an agreement. That said, “Rabbit Hole” is a phenomenal song which reaches epic levels during the refrains. Much to like here. Which one did you like better?
30. The Chevin – Colours
The Chevin made the rounds on late night television pushing forth “Champion” from Borderland, but we got stuck on “Colours”. The magical feel of arena rock and Coyle Girelli’s opera-inspired vocals. The man has some serious pipes and his bandmates help him reach the next level whether through raucous, high energy tracks or solemn odes.
29. Bloc Party – Day Four
Bloc Party’s latest album Four got quite rock heavy much like 2005′s Silent Alarm, yet the “Day Four” didn’t. Instead, this song comes across as a creation from 2007′s A Weekend in the City, which really sits well with us.
28. Wintersleep – Resuscitate
As strong as they started out many years ago, Wintersleep shows no sign of slowing down with their album Hello Hum. “Resuscitate” embodies the perpetuating life within the Nova Scotia-based band, helmed by Paul Murphy whose relentless efforts have helped the band garner much attention over the course of the last decade. This track is a testament to their hard work and the life that continues to be brought back year after year through their work.
27. Greg Laswell - Come Back Down (feat. Sara Bareilles)
As an experienced producer and frequent acoustic tour junky here on the East Coast, Laswell’s latest album shows maturity and depth beyond what any artist within the singer/songwriter genre could have created during 2012. His collaboration with Sara Bareilles in “Come Back Down” features a clap-stomp fest worthy of your attention.
26. White Arrows – Get Gone
The truth is that this song should be in the Top 10, but it got lost in the mess of everything that is thousands of songs from 2012 and then re-found after we had the list underway. This track feels like it was written with child-like disappointment creeping slowly at its heels, while the vocal timing and clipped backdrop cements it as better than like-able.