295. That’s how many songs came out in 2012 that I enjoyed listening to. That’s gross. But I’m not here to lay out my top 295 tracks of the year (though you’re more than welcome to check them out), I’m narrowing it down to just the best. And while it’s customary to do a Top 10 or a Top 50 list or whatever “customary implies”, I’m going all the way up to the arbitrary endpoint of – brace for it – 60!
I’m not going to try to qualify myself as a music expert. I know I’m not, and if you need evidence of that you can just read any selection from my music posts and look at all terminology and descriptions I use to try to mask my music lingo illiteracy. But I will say that I’ve probably listened to a couple thousand songs that came out in 2012, and that probably counts for something? For you to decide, I suppose. The point of this exercise isn’t to try to flex my music exposure muscle, it’s to give you fine folks some awesome new tunes to listen to.
I think I laid out whatever rules and guidelines you need to know when I did my top songs of 2011, but let me just do a quick recap. I don’t repeat artists. If you like a song you hear, I trust that you’re crafty enough to find more music from that artist somewhere (Mom, call me if you need help). Anyway, I’m not going to make a list with six Grizzly Bear songs on it because I’m not God, and I don’t know what you will and won’t like from this list. Plus, this list would definitely have six Grizzly Bear songs on it.
There are some other things you should probably keep in mind while you run through this:
- I like my songs to be emotional, beautiful, challenging if possible – so if some of these tracks make you think I just cry to myself all day while I listen to them, it’s because I do (and then I mask those tears with sarcasm and bad facial hair)
- I’m a sucker for a violin hooks and harmonies – whatever, I’m comfortable with my sexuality.
- My only dance move (besides the Macarena (uhhh… Word just auto-corrected “Macarena” for me…is it legal to marry software yet?)) is crazy-legging my way down to the floor. So if a song stimulates my body to do that, it’s a Tommy Point™.
- I feel like the fringe hipster society pressured me into putting The Lumineers on here
- 87% of these bands are more likely to be heard as the background on a TV ad than on the radio (I did the math)
- Lyrics don’t amplify or subtract from a song for me, unless you’re Kendrick Lamar
- I’m white
- If you don’t use Spotify, this isn’t going to work out well for you
- These are listed from #1-60, not from #60-1 – I waste enough of your time, I don’t need to make you work for this. I’m also not some idiotic publication trying to create more Ad space or generate page views, so it’s on just this one page, not 10.
Whether it’s a dance party you’re looking for (Kindness), a little twang and a story (Todd Snider), something a 12-year-old girl would go nuts for (Stars), a 16-minute rockventure (Neil Young), or something weird and mildly uncomfortable (Dirty Projectors), you’re bound to find something you like in here. We all look for different things in music, and I hope you can find what you’re looking for somewhere in this list. Fortunately for me, I can find 60 things I’m looking for.
Editor’s Note: In my delirium I left a real good song off the list (“QueenS by THEESatisfaction) and made some terrible decisions on the back half of my list that I needed to correct (“Clique” over “Mercy” was a reckless claim, thanks Shaun). Won’t change it again, I promise.
And if you’re an anti-widgite, you can check out the playlist here: Top Songs of 2012