Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Songs: 81-100

After a year with nearly no activity on the site (what a difference an extra human child makes), we return with the first installment of our top 100 songs of 2012

As before, the list is limited to one appearance per artist to maximize diversity.  Also as in the past, immediately below is a Grooveshark widget with available songs. Song order in the playlist mirrors the below (descending order). Where songs are not available on Grooveshark as of today, I've included a link to a safe location to stream. Enjoy.
2012 81-100 by David Scott on Grooveshark

100. "Call Me on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox & Carly Rae Jepsen
<Rostam mashup>

Vampire Weekend's Rostam (who was responsible from my #15 song last year) makes the Song of the Summer more palatable by overdubbing its generic production with some sweet post-Eurythmics Annie Lennox. Not on Grooveshark, listen with Soundcloud here.
99. "Fineshrine" by Purity Ring (from Shrines)
"Cut open my sternum and pull / my little ribs around you"

A pretty song with unsettling imagery off of Purity Ring's debut.
98. "Analog or Digital" by Wildlife Control (from Wildlife Control)
"Because the records I play are my only education / I turn it up"

Sporting punk sentiment but a glossy pop production, there is a good chance this track would get beaten up by 98 of the other songs on the list.
97. "All the Rowboats" by Regina Spektor (from What We Saw From the Cheap Seats)
"Masterpieces serving maximum sentences / it's their own fault / for being timeless"

Only Spektor's second album since her breakthrough in 2006, Cheap Seats is a less quirky affair highlighted by this tale of woe for lonely works of art.

96. "The Only Place" by Best Coast (from The Only Place)
"Why would you live anywhere else?"

Sure we are biased, but seriously, why would you live anywhere else? (proximity to family, tax rates, inordinate cost of living and pathetic fiscal condition notwithstanding)

95. "Trap Door" by Strand of Oaks (from Dark Shores)
"And when you give it all away again / give a little bit back to me"

An earworm of a song that benefits from it simple structure: just one verse followed by a variation on the above repeated a dozen times.

94. "Love That's Gone" by La Sera (from Sees the Light)
"And I'll be gone just as soon"

Second album from Vivian Girls' bassist Katy Goodman is just damned pleasant, as typified by this lilting little ballad with some nostalgic guitar work.

93. "Soul Killing" by The Ting Tings (from Sounds from Nowheresville)
"If you never hold us down / they can never hold us down"

After some positive buzz for their early singles, it has been pretty acceptable to hate on the Ting Tings (e.g., Pitchfork's reviewing Sounds at 1.8, a level I thought reserved only for latter day Liz Phair).  We can agree that the music is a bit soulless, but it's also pretty catchy and just enough fun.

92. "Bright Whites" by Kishi Bashi (from 151a)
"And if you're to say to me / what is mine is yours to keep"

A touring member of Of Montreal, K(aura) Ishibashi presents an amiably eclectic mix of songs on his full-length debut (released, appropriately, by the Joyful Noise label). "Bright Whites" leads off sounding like African music sung in Japanese before settling into a very Beattles-esque pop tune.

91. "Bigger than Love" by Ben Gibbard (from Former Lives)
"So our house got crowded / I never felt so all alone"

Featuring Aimee Mann, this track from Death Cab for Cutie's frontman doesn't expand on anything either artist has done before, but represents a comfortable combination of familiar voices.
90. "Losing You" by Solange (from True)
"I'm not the one that you should be making your enemy"

Hard to categorize into a specific genre, the lead single off Solange Knowles debut alternates between a throwback and something distinctly modern.
89. "What Makes a Good Man" by The Heavy (from The Glorious Dead)
"Indelible is what I need to spread the word"

There is no such difficulty identifying The Heavy's 70's influenced blues-rock.  While the music is so bombastic it risks becoming kitch, there is enough going on here to elevate the track beyond merely fodder for future KIA commercials with Muno and sock monkeys.
88. "Fingers Never Bleed" by Yeasayer (from Fragrant World)
"I know you think you could do this without me / but I know I could do without you"

 The highlight from Yeasayer's disappointing third LP, "Fingers Never Bleed" showcases many of the bands strengths, but is ultimately a less cohesive song than their best work.  Yeasayer has appeared on this list 3 times previously, including the #8 song in 2009 ("Ambling Alp").
87. "Dance Ghost" by Helado Negro (single)
"There's no one home / just a ghost who dances alone"

If the vocals were dropped and this track was released only as an instrumental, the name would still fit.
86. "Happy Pills" by Norah Jones (from Little Broken Hearts)
"Never said we'd be friends"

I like Danger Mouse quite a bit and own a dozen or so of the albums he has produced. And yet, the result is never as strong as the idea. Danger Mouse producing Beck? Awesome! Modern Guilt? Ehhh, it was fine. Danger Mouse producing a Albarn/Simonon supergroup? Sign me up! The Good, the Bad and the Queen? It was pretty OK. So it goes with Norah Jones and Little Broken Hearts. There is enough in the production to make it different from her prior albums, but not enough to really make it better.
85. "Three White Horses" by Andrew Bird (from Hands of Glory EP)
"You will need somebody when you come to die"

Not only is my selected Andrew Bird track off the EP he released in the fall and not the full-length released in the spring, I probably enjoyed his take on "Auld Lang Syne" from the Holiday's Rule compilation more than anything off of either.

84. "I Love It" by Icona Pop (from Iconic EP)
"I crashed my car into a bridge / I don't care"

This song primarily consists of being yelled at for 3 minutes by some crazy, pissed off Swedish ladies.  So, you know, maybe you want to be in the right mood.
83. "Lazarus" by David Byrne & St. Vincent (from Bright Love This Giant)
"Gold in your river/ there forever"

Falling short of our expectations, Love This Giant is better than Byrne's recent collaboration with Fatboy Slim and worse than his prior collaboration with Eno.  He is at risk of becoming the Danger Mouse of iconic art-rock heroes.
82. "Ivory Coast" by Pure Bathing Culture (from Pure Bathing Culture EP)
"I know that you will love me until my eyes do close"

I wonder if those Francophiles in West Africa are pissed off about this song. Please learn to use proper nouns when naming your country if you are so damned sensitive!
81. "Laura" by Bat for Lashes (from The Haunted Man)
"They told me at the end / don't justify the dreams"

This song was downloaded and deleted more once before its charms finally took hold.  Great vocal work by Ms. for Lashes.

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