It’s that time of year again, and what a year 2012 has been. After a lot of hemming and hawing, I’m ready to reveal my picks for my favorite songs of the year. The list is more crowded than it has been in previous years, but it still clocks in at 77 minutes so it can fit on a CD. But because of this, and because our collective attention spans have dropped to less than that of a gnat, I’m splitting the list up into two posts in hopes that the list will be a little more digestible and – let’s face it – actually read. The other will be posted by Friday if all goes well. As usual, these are in no particular order other than this is how they’re sequenced on the accompanying CD, which some of you lucky folks have received or will receive. Links in the song title/artist are to YouTube videos where you can hear the song.
I included the iTunes play counts for each of the songs, but they are a little bit misleading. Some of these I listened to on CD in the car a lot, so those obviously didn’t count, and if I didn’t finish the song on my iPod, it didn’t count either. So take them with a grain of salt, but I figured they might be a fun fact.
Lastly, I have to give a shout-out to my 11 year-old daughter Anna, without whom, this list might look a lot different. I love you kiddo.
Girl Gone Wild / Madonna
Number of plays in iTunes: 88
It’s not going to win any songwriting awards, but it did feature the best use of the brand Tanqueray in a song this year and it opened the MDNA tour in grand style. While not quite classic Madonna, it’s aging better than I thought it might and is my most played song in iTunes this year. Her video clip also proved that she hasn’t forgotten how to do a video right. Also, listening to my daughter sing along with to this song in the car melted my heart, although I certainly don’t advocate her becoming a girl gone wild.
Call Me Maybe / Carly Rae Jepsen
Number of plays in iTunes: 53
Most people probably would rather gouge out their eardrums than hear this song again, but if any song was the song of most people’s 2012, it was Jepsen’s ubiquitous hit. We can all thank ChartRigger for breaking the song in the U.S, when he was stanning for Carly Rae back in March! A perfect pop song – so much so that I’m immediately suspicious of people that proclaim to hate it because they probably hate kittens too. The video’s twist end is better than anything M. Night Shyamalan has done in ages (it pleased my wife immensely.)
Primadonna / Marina & the Diamonds
Number of plays in iTunes: 66
Anna and I bonded big time over Marina’s album Electra Heart. There were so many songs I could have picked off that album for the year-end list, but in the end, it was “Primadonna” which was its lead single and left me trying to explain to my daughter what a “primadonna” was.
Soul Companion / Mary Chapin Carpenter
Number of plays in iTunes: 34
Carpenter’s latest album, Ashes & Roses, disappointed me with its overabundance of ballads and meandering lyrics, but who knew that her voice would mesh so well with James Taylor? Even with a so-so album, Carpenter lands a song on my year-end best-of. She’s that good, folks. Not even Cher could do that, and that’s really saying something.
Tonight / Saint Etienne
Number of plays in iTunes: 70
I knew from the minute I heard this song back in February or March that I’d be writing about it in December. Words & Music by Saint Etienne was another of this year’s most played albums, and this song about the anticipation and excitement surrounding going to your favorite band’s live show is one of this year’s most classic songs.
Let’s Have A Kiki / Scissor Sisters
Number of plays in iTunes: 29
“Let’s Have A Kiki” wins the campy song of the year award, hands down. This is not a bad thing. Heidi and I were quoting lyrics to it all summer and even into the end of the year. How this didn’t become a massive hit, the world may never know. Dive, turn, work.
Diet Mountain Dew / Lana Del Rey
Number of plays in iTunes: 53
“You’re no good for me, but baby I want you, I want you.” That pretty much sums up how I feel about Diet Mountain Dew – the soft drink, not the song, which I admit I gave more than a passing listen to because of its title. The song isn’t about Diet Mountain Dew and it wouldn’t be till the fall that we’d find out that Del Rey’s pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola and not Diet Mountain Dew. I feel like Born To Die could have been an EP and been better, but this one really did it for me in 2012.
Pontoon / Little Big Town
Number of plays in iTunes: 31
Mary Chapin Carpenter brought the classy country song to the list, and Little Big Town brings the trashy country song to the list. My friend Blake introduced me to this song (and the dubious use of the word “motorboatin’” – who knew? I certainly didn’t) with its lazy tempo which is, I’m sure, meant to mimic the laziness of being on a pontoon boat in the middle of a lake or river. Little Big Town also showed up on Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee album, which became a surprise favorite with me in 2012.
We Won’t Ever Be Rich (But We Could Be Happy) / The Candle Thieves
Number of plays in iTunes: 17
The Candle Thieves opened for Darren Hayes on his UK mini-tour and this song was his “jam” one week on the This Is My Jam web site. This is about as indie as I get – it has a fun pop sensibility about it and it is neither depressing nor a total dirge. I haven’t checked out the rest of their album, but I plan to in the new year.
Feel It / Bright Light Bright Light
Number of plays in iTunes: 36
If I had to pick a song that summed up 2012, it would have to be “Feel It.” It’s been a tumultuous year that has found me reevaluating just about everything. As hard as it’s been sometimes, at least I know I’m still alive. No other song nailed the passion of a love affair like “Feel It.” The wailing diva (who is actually a man), the house piano – it’s like a refugee from the 90s all dressed up for 2012. Just open up your lips and say you love me!
The next 10, like I said, will be posted probably Friday morning. We’re battening down the hatches for our first winter storm of the season and I have the next 4 days off work. Something tells me I’ll be moving some snow.