Here we go with the second half (but not necessarily lesser half) of 2012’s best songs according to me. The first post in this series was one of my most viewed posts on the day it was written, so hopefully, the second half will do as well. If you missed the first half, you can find it here. Again, these are in no particular order, other than this is how the CD is sequenced.
Merry Go ‘ Round / Kacey Musgraves
Number of plays in iTunes: 20
There seems to be a disproportionate number of country songs on this year’s list. I think it was probably more a result of my attention being drawn to them, but Kacey Musgraves’ ode to small town life and how it isn’t quite as idyllic as you might think is definitely worthy of inclusion. Thanks again to my friend Blake for putting this on my radar.
Starships / Nicki Minaj
Number of plays in iTunes: 22
I hesitated about including “Starships.” I wanted my top 20 to be classy, and including anything by Nicki Minaj that does not have Madonna’s involvement seemed to really declass the list a lot. But I couldn’t leave it off mostly because it really is a song that Anna and I played a shit ton in the car, even though it has cuss words in it and Nicki Minaj is certainly not a singer by any definition of the word. It also featured in what was probably my favorite fan-made video of the year, the Littlest Pet Shop version of “Starships” which Anna has declared better than the official video.
Shot You Down / Florrie
Number of plays in iTunes: 44
As I said when I featured this song on my end-of-summer wrap up, Anna and I changed the lyrics from ““I shot him down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down” to “Can’t think of any more lyrics, lyrics, lyrics, lyrics, lyrics, lyrics” Much like “Girl Gone Wild”, it’s not going to win any songwriting awards. It is however, a fun little pop song and one of two songs on this years list that involve guns and lovers.
Timebomb / Kylie Minogue
Number of plays in iTunes: 52
I have maintained from the day we heard this song that the best thing about it was that it was a complete shock. Kylie spent 2012 celebrating K25 – or 25 years in the business. We knew that she was going to be releasing The Abbey Road Sessions, which finally dropped in November, and she’s enjoyed this year in typical Kylie fashion. That is to say – stunned incredulity that we all really like her. Standing in stark contrast to the orchestral arrangements on The Abbey Road Sessions is this little slice of electropop. Originally, this was not on the list, but Anna was so scandalized at its absence that I cut another song to make room for it.
You Are (feat. Blake Shelton) / Lionel Richie
Number of plays in iTunes: 46
I haven’t purchased a Lionel Richie album since 1986’s Dancing on the Ceiling and, come to think of it, I think my mom actually purchased it. But his new album Tuskegee, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard chart behind MDNA at #1, became a surprise favorite this year. Kudos to Lionel for shaking up what could have been a boring re-record of all his best known solo and Commodores hits by recording them with some of today’s hottest country stars. “You Are” is arguably my favorite Lionel Richie song ever, and while singing it with Blake Shelton was a little unusual (it’s like they’re singing it to each other), it really worked.
Good Time (feat. Carly Rae Jepsen) / Owl City
Number of plays in iTunes: 30
Carly Rae Jepsen is the only artist on this list to appear twice (1 guess who the other is) and while I’m not a huge Owl City fan – his songs are kind of same-y to me and his voice can be somewhat grating if you listen to too much of it – I enjoyed his pairing with Jepsen. It is 3 and a half minutes of pure ear candy that sounded so good this summer, even as “Call Me Maybe” was being played ever two seconds.
spiral / Alanis Morissette
Number of plays in iTunes: 37
I still haven’t quite gotten into Alanis Morisette’s 2012 album havoc and bright lights, but this song jumped right out at me on the first listen. Lyrically, it’s something I can totally relate to – “Don’t leave me here with all these critical voices/They do their best to bring me down.” As someone who is trying really hard to not listen to my own internal critical voices as much and avoid the shame spiral that Alanis sings of, it was a perfect song as summer turned into fall. And really Alanis, what’s up with the no capital letters?
On The Metro / Girls Aloud
Number of plays in iTunes: 25
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Girls Aloud. As the old nursery rhyme goes, when they are good, they are very very good, but when they are bad, they are horrid. “On The Metro” lands squarely in the first category. Leaving her heart at the disco, crying on the metro, writing his name on the window – it’s dramatic and fun and, like “Timebomb,” quite unexpected. Anna inquired if “On The Metro” had made the year-end best-of list and my response was “but of course!”
Titanium (feat. Sia) / David Guetta
Number of plays in iTunes: 36
I was super late to the David Guetta party. Not sure why – the music is right up my alley. “Titanium” is one of those rare songs that Heidi, Anna and I all love. It’s all about self-empowerment and not letting things get you down – “you shoot me down/but I won’t fall/I am titanium!” One of my favorite memories of the year is dancing to this song with Anna at a wedding in October. Good stuff.
Gang Bang / Madonna
Number of plays in iTunes: 50
Like a bitch out of order, like a bat out of hell – Madonna makes an obligatory second appearance on this list with her most “Erotica” track since, well, “Erotica.” Excised from the “clean” versions of MDNA, this song of crazy revenge against a lover should really have been called “Bang Bang” because never once does she say “Gang Bang.” It was immortalized in the MDNA Tour complete with seedy motel set, bottle of Jack Daniels, and more guns and blood than the rumored Tarantino-directed video that never was. “Gang Bang” was a little bit of a slow burn for me, but by the end of the year, I was playing it so much it squeaked onto the list. Another song that Anna and I enjoyed on countless trips to and from the horse barn, her response to the lyric “My lover is dead/And I have no regrets” was “she better have some regrets! She’s probably going to prison!” And no, I never had to explain what a gang bang was to my 11 year-old.
So that’s my 2012 in 20 songs. Some of you will be receiving a CD with these songs on them. I had intended to get them sent out but the snowstorm stymied me. Hopefully today.
Thanks for reading this! Writing it was, as always, a labor of love to the songs that made the year what it was.