Ancient philosopher Plato once said that “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” After a year of great victories and great defeats for all of us, many incredible songs emerged to celebrate life’s peaks and pull us through life’s valleys. All inclusive, genre flexing, and soul impassioning, the following 50 Best Songs of 2012 has something for everyone. Based largely upon combing the trenches of industry greats like Pitchfork, Billboard, Stereogum, and NPR, tune your ears to listen to some of the best of the best as we all welcome 2013!
Drake Take Care
A hefty dose of reality beyond the realm of dubstep, pop, electronica, and soulful R&B is showcased in the Drake and Rihanna monster ballad “Take Care.” Tracing the steps from past heartache to homebase complete with primal beats and heckles from the crowd, this hit song knocks the grim reality of the true price per pound of flesh in soul exchanges straight out of the park. Who can argue with a haunting and breathless “I’ve loved and I’ve lost” ending in a song which covers all of the bases from your first hit to last homer? Everyone always finds out eventually so there’s no shame in it...or is there?
Gaslight Anthem 45
There’s something about the snarly holler of guitarist Brian Fallon arguing with himself about loving someone he can’t hold on to. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And colder. And stronger. We’ve all been there. We don’t want those people any less. But we also don’t want them in our lives anymore. Magnificent.
Linkin Park Burn It Down
From the steady heart thumping beat to the injection of keyboards, this one is for everyone who has crossed the line of no return. When one sees the world in the light they never expected, nothing really satisfies them. That’s when you’ve got nothing left to lose. So you set yourself on fire.
Black Keys Gold On The Ceiling
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll have gone hand in hand since music began but few bands capture that bluesy swanky essence better than the Black Keys. The smooth roll of Patrick Carney’s beats and the scream of Dan Auerbach’s guitar paired with the smoky hustle of his voice, the result is an “eargasm” of multi-instrumentational promise that no matter how successful people are, the genuine love for their craft remains.
Frank Ocean Thinkin’ ‘Bout You
The heart has the capacity to love a lot of people yet the two you never forget are the first one and the last. When the mind takes over, it’s a stormy sea. When the tide turns and as the sea widens, we all contemplate the distance between our alone-ness and that one person we just can’t get out of our thoughts. Frank Ocean’s brain may be held captive but it’s pretty certain he could capture anyone’s heart with this one.
Foo Fighters Bridges Burning
When David Grohl declares, “These are my famous last woooorrrrdddsssss... My number’s up... Bridges WILL BUUUURRRRNNNN” everyone listens. Especially since Grohl claimed his status as a rock icon long ago. Plus the fact that the Foo Fighters still record in a garage is all the proof we need that Grohl is King. And godlike in his support of making true music absolutely ROOOOOOCCCCKKKKK.
Critics panned the vocals for the world’s most favorite pop singer Adele recorded for the 007 flick released in November 2012 but fans savored every crescendo of the new mom’s voice. Though she sounds tired, she’s still her. The 77 piece orchestra helps too. Who’s heart can’t be plunged with Adele’s mastery?
Fun We Are Young
When your “friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire state” and you are ok as long as someone takes you home after a good long night of hard drinking and living, Fun is not so fun. Especially the morning after. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done that. And we’ll do it again when the opportunity allows because there’s always better ways to completely fall apart at the seams as long as you’re out drinking.
Stone Sour Absolute Zero
Nothing is as cold as the temperature in your heart when you reach a point in your existence where you no longer care. Hate isn’t the opposite of love. Indifference is. And with the swirling guitars and powerful lyrics, the anthem for those who have searched the hearts of others and their own only to come up empty is this tune.
The Lumineers Ho Hey
How better to convince someone you’ve lost to come back home to you than by insisting you’ve been sleeping so long on your own. And because they belong absolutely nowhere else, not even with some other guy. H-e-l-l-o pick up song of the year for true pimps. And it artfully packs “Hey Ho” into the chorus. It’s beautiful. It’s simple. It’s just a masterpiece. $5 bucks says the woman in the song goes back. What do you think?
The 50 Best Songs of 2012 was compiled by Musicristotle, the sharp shooting, wild boy wrangling, word girl whose feats and follies have long been best accomplished while feeding the innately eclectic appetite for sensational sound.