Rather than make one long boring list of the best songs or albums of the year, I decided to rip a page from the yearbooks and compile my 2012 musical superlatives. Won’t this be fun? Here goes…
Most Amazingly Life-Changing Music App: Spotify. I have to start with this because it has literally changed how I listen to music. For only $9.99 a month, I have access to the entire Spotify library and can listen to whatever I want, make playlists, etc. That’s about the cost of one CD per month (certainly less for anything related to Kanye). It also gives me access to the playlists of any of my Facebook friends, although that makes me feel a little like a stalker (doesn’t stop me, though). Plus, if I start listening to something new and don’t like it, I can dump it quickly and not feel like I have to keep listening because I bought it.
Most Disappointing Album: “Wrecking Ball” (Bruce Springsteen) – This would have any legit reviewer serving my head on a platter. I was literally the most diehard Bruce fan for many years, and though Bruce and I have grown apart since our respective glory days, I was still excited about his new album. I like a couple of the songs, but overall “Wrecking Ball” did not do it for me.
Best Soundtrack: “The Hunger Games” – Not only does this soundtrack have a great lineup of talent, but the underlying songs are really good, too. As a bonus, it showcases Taylor Swift morphed into sounding like she’s a grownup (“Safe & Sound”).
Best Remake Song: “Right Down the Line” by Bonnie Raitt (original by Gerry Rafferty). A close second is JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound doing Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”, although that one might be late 2011. Both solid choices, though.
Biggest Surprise Album: “Born and Raised” (John Mayer) – Not typically a huge John Mayer fan, but he found some roots with this album and I enjoyed it quite a lot.
Best Retro Sound: “Twisted” (Usher, feat. Pharrell) – Love, love, love this happy sounding song.
Best New Artist That No One is Listening To: Elle Varner – Okay, I’m a sucker for good R&B (as everyone should be), so she had an advantage with her genre, but I loved her album “Perfectly Imperfect.” Sadly, I have never heard her on the radio or seen one of her songs on the charts. Shame!
Most Overplayed Song that I Don’t Hate Yet: “Home” (Phillip Phillips) - I first heard this song while on vacation back in July and loved it. Soon after, it became the feel-good song of the Olympics, and it’s been played non-stop ever since. That should make me hate it, but I don’t (yet).
Biggest Revelation: Christian Rock is HUGE! I did a post in late August when TobyMac released his album “Eye On It” noting that I barely knew Christian rock existed- or at least that it was any good. That was far and away my biggest post of the year as TobyMac fans came out of the woodwork to set me straight (although I also have to say they appear to be the nicest fans EVER, not completely surprisingly). I didn’t need their testimonials; TobyMac won me over all by himself. Good music, swear-free.
Best Welcome Back from an Old Friend: “Away From the World” (Dave Matthews Band) – I do love my DMB, but they went slightly off course with a few of their albums. “Away From the World” brought them right back to the sounds that made me fall in love with them.
Weirdest Runaway Hit: “Gangnam Style” (Psy) – When my 16-year old son first forced me to watch this dude doing some weird horse lasso dance, I thought he was crazy. About a billion YouTube hits later I’ve changed my tune.
Most Delayed Popularity: Ellie Goulding. I loved Ellie Goulding after discovering her when she performed at William and Kate’s wedding (as if I was there listening). Eons later, “Lights” became popular, but by then she had put out another album, so her popularity is really an album behind. “Halcyon” came out this fall and brings us a new crop of potential faves.
Most Inappropriate but also Most Fun Album: Warrior (Ke$ha) – I’m not even going to try to defend myself. I really like this album. The end.
Best Breakup Song: “Somebody that I Used to Know” (Gotye) – This song almost makes me want to break up with someone just so I can sing it with the feeling poor Gotye has. Straight from the heart!
Weirdest Pairing: Ke$ha and Iggy Pop on “Dirty Love” – I can’t explain it, but somehow it works.
I could go on and probably make up a category about each of the 97 songs I put on my “Best of 2012" playlist, which is still probably incomplete because sometimes I’m too lazy to figure out my favorite songs on an album and push the little button to add them. Enjoy, and here’s to more great music in 2013!
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