So without further ado, here is the official Giddy Up America 20 Best Songs of 2012. You can check out the officially official playlist on Spotify. These songs are not listed in any order that would denote a higher or lower ranking. They’re listed in the way that would best suit a Spotify playlist.
“Freedom at 21” – Jack White. I first heard this song when he appeared on the Colbert Report and was blown away, literally taken aback and then front wards and then aback again. The drums are incredible and this is just a flat out original rock song. If White wasn’t so schizophrenic with his sound, I would totally be a bigger fan.
“Adrenaline Nightshift” – Japandroids. Loud, fast and rocking. Two dudes, no need for a third and they’re flippin’blistering live.
“Been Away Too Long” – Soundgarden. This song should be terrible and the album it’s on, King Animal, should be a slap in the face to the band’s legacy. Instead both are the exact opposite and we’re spared from anymore Chris Cornell solo projects. Bonus.
“Madness” – Muse. Does their singer look like a rat? Yup. But is this song catchy as hell? Yup. Final verdict: he gets a pass. This is a great song.
“Temporary” – White Rabbits. More people should know about this band, but they don’t. Their entire album, Milk Famous, is great and they’re responsible for one of my favorite songs in the past couple years, “Percussion Gun.” Their live shows are subtly funky fresh and bluntly thunderingly percussive. I just hope they don’t up & vanish like Spoon. That’d be a bummer.
“Clique” – Kanye West, Jay Z, Big Sean. I only know this song because 101.9, the only alternative rock station in the greater New York area sold its soul to sports and as a result, my default music station became Hot 97, where the DJ’s yell unnecessarily, talk during songs and frequently use words I don’t understand. But it introduced me to this song and for that reason alone, I will be forever grateful.
“Pyramids” – Frank Ocean. An epic R & B jam? Sure, why the heck not. Most 9 minute songs aren’t all that re-listenable, but this one sure is.
“Take a Walk” – Passion Pit. Great on the radio, not go so great live based upon their Saturday Night Live performance.
“45” – Gaslight Anthem. This song grew on me just like the show Happy Endings did and now I can’t imagine a world without either one of them. I wish that Handwritten, the album that “45” is on, was better and stronger from start to finish, but it sounds good loud and is over in less than an hour- so it could easily be worse.
“Gold on the Ceiling” – the Black Keys. If the Keys weren’t comprised of two guys who are borderline insufferable dicks I’d be more concerned about them selling out and falling into the abyss (see Leon, Kings of.) But here’s a fun fact, according to 100% of women surveyed (my wife) this song is not a good song to play at a wedding, which was a complete surprise to me. In related news, this song was not played at our wedding.
“I Will Wait” – Mumford and Sons. Unlike Passion Pit, Mumford and Sons Saturday Night Live performance made me like them even more. I really want to see these guys live.
“Hang Loose” – Alabama Shakes. This song might have made the list strictly based on the enjoyment I
get from hearing its opening guitar line.
“Ho Hey” – the Lumineers. Another title of this song could be “I Have No Idea What That Song is Called, But It Has Ho’s and Hey’s After Each Line and Oh Wait, That’s the Title, Ho Hey? Well That Makes Sense.”
“Disparate Youth” – Santigold. I love Santigold. I want to hang out with Santigold. I want Santigold to pick the colors for when we paint our house. I can’t wait for her to release her next album in four years (cue moaning.)
“Warrior Man” – Dr. Dog. I have two thoughts about Be the Void, the latest Dr. Dog album. 1) It’s either going to be the last we ever hear from them or 2) the album that is the album we long for once they grow massively popular and their sound changes. But you know what actually, I can’t see either one of those things happening. It just seems they’re too into their grooves and sounds to abandon ship or compromise that ship’s direction. So I revise my thoughts and chop it down to just one thought- Dr. Dog is awesome. Any song from Be the Void could be on this list, but “Warrior Man” was the first one from it that I heard that really resonated with me.
“Knock Knock” – Band of Horses. Much like Dr. Dog and Be the Void, any song from Band of Horses’ Mirage Rock could be on this list. I really want to see these guys live too.
“I Never Knew You” – the Avett Brothers. Another member of the Any Song from This Album Could Be on This List club. In another year or two, the Avett Brothers might be one of my favorite bands.
“We’ll Get Right In” – Rustic Overtones. Full disclosure: I am a complete homer when it comes to Rustic and have a built in bias with anything they release. However, I wasn’t sold on Let’s Start a Cult when it first came out and I think when the dust settles, it’ll be my least favorite album of theirs. But it still has some winners on it, “We’ll Get Right In” being one of them. I still miss Tony McNaboe, though.
“I Woke Up” – Rone. You’re going to know who Rone is in a year or two. I guarantee it.
“Starships” – Nicki Minaj. This is my sentimental pick. While the song does have parts I really like, I’m picking this song based more on what it means to me than how much I actually like it and legitimately consider it one of the best songs of the year. Without going into details, I recently had a job I wasn’t too crazy about and because of traffic while commuting to and from said job, I spent a lot of time in the car listening to the radio. I would get bored, I would be flirting with depression and malaise and would frequently undertake massive internal debates about what exactly I was doing with my life and what I intended to do with my life. It was a tough stretch of time. This song, “Starships,” with its infectious bounce and gosh darn catchiness always…always…brought a smile to my face. It would come on and I’d crank the hell out of the radio. It didn’t matter if I caught the song halfway through or even at the end- it changed my disposition and brightened my mood. And in the end, isn’t that what music is about- a form of escapism?
All twenty of these songs have one thing in common- they all put me in a good mood. They all merit the volume being turned up and they all can be listened to again and again without me getting sick of them. 2012 was a wild year for me- fraught with ups and downs, twists and turns and blissful peaks and blundering valleys. Music, these songs, kept the engine running. They didn’t get me through and they didn’t really teach me anything- they just provided the soundtrack as I did that stuff myself.
And what more can you ask for?