What were your favorite songs of 2012? Jump down to the comments and let me know.
10. "Ruby" by Cheap Girls
Picking just one song form Cheap Girls' 2012 release, "Giant Orange," was difficult. The album was recorded by Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, who did a great job at polishing each track with a glossy pop sheen without compromising the raw power of Adam Aymor's guitar work. One has to wonder if "Ruby" is a subtle nod to all the Smoking Popes comparisons Cheap Girls have received over the years (see "Rubella" by Smoking Popes).
9. "The Left Hand and the Right Hand" by Chuck Prophet
Loosely based on the Mitchell brothers of San Francisco, pioneers of the strip club/pornography industry, this song hits home for anyone who's had that irreplaceable love-hate relationship with a sibling. Only this one takes a Cain and Abel twist.
8. "40 Miler" by Tim Barry
If there's such a thing as an artist who is completely free of any iota of pretentiousness, it's Tim Barry. On this tune, he laments about real world, everyday shit like collection agencies bugging you on your pre-paid cell phone, broke up bands doing reunion tours and albums over 40 minutes long. If ever there was a need for the "#realtalk" hashtag, it's for a Tim Barry song.
7. "Completely Broken" by Sundials
One of many extremely catchy songs off of Sundials' newest and finest album "When I Couldn't Breathe." Bouncing between standard power pop and slacker punk, "Completely Broken" is simple and sweet…and criminally infectious.
6. "I'm Not Immune" by Forgetters
Blake Schwarzenbach couldn't care less if you want to hear a rehashed version of his former bands Jawbreaker or Jets to Brazil. With Forgetters, he reaches back to his punk roots while proudly wearing his new wave and goth influences on his tattered sleeve. Line of the song: "Is there some place we can go / And use each other in the dark?" Yes, Schwarzenbach still has it, folks.
5. "The Nights of Wine and Roses" by Japandroids
It starts with the fireworks. Then comes drummer David Prowse's bombastic floor tom beat. An antagonizing guitar fill follows. Then, boom! Brian King lunges face first into an anthem about smoking and drinking away any remaining semblance of care. Halfway through King yells like hell to the heavens and, no doubt, he is heard loud and clear.
4. "Thinkin Bout You" by Frank Ocean
The perfect opening track on a near-perfect album. Ocean opens up and shows off his infinite range while he gushes over the one that got away. I spent months thinking the chorus was "Do you light things on fire? Heyyy…," only to realize it's "Do you not think so far ahead." I still like my interpretation better.
3. "This Summer" by Superchunk
The essential summer banger of 2012. It touches on road trips, mix tapes, sleeping bags and practically every other endearing element that comes with summer fun. Twenty-plus years into its career, Superchunk has perfectly toed the line between aging gracefully without ever growing up.
2. "Old Black Hole" by Dr. Dog
Track two on Dr. Dog's near-perfect "Be the Void." This tune finds singer/guitarist Scott McKinney aimlessly pacing through a life of contradictions and clichés. "Old Black Hole" bundles everything I love about Dr. Dog into a three-minute pop nugget: swirling organs, witty lyrics, layers of percussion and a funky bass line.
1. "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" by Kendrick Lamar
While Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d. city" album was arguably a bit overrated, not enough can be said about this track. His ghetto-alien drawl curls and wraps around a smokey R&B guitar strum, while a machine gun hi-hat taunts a bottomed-out bass kick. Is this what OutKast would sound like if they were from Compton?