My 10 favorite songs range from sultry R&B and emotional hip-hop to explosive noise pop and screeching garage rock.
1. "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" by Father John Misty
If I were to pick a favorite, or at least most interesting, line of a song, it would be the opening "Jesus Christ, girl / What are people gonna think / When I show up to one of several funerals / I've attended for grandpa this week." Despite listening to this song dozens of times, I still don't understand exactly what that line means.
2. "Fitzpleasure" by ALT-J
The Mercury Prize winners' debut is a trippy, bizarre trip like no other album I heard this year. "Fitzpleasure," my favorite song off it, jumps and changes when you're least expecting it and still tells a story, despite mostly indecipherable lyrics.
3. "Fineshrine" by Purity Ring
There are songs that make you get up and make you dance, there are songs that make you want to sing along, and then there are songs like "Fineshrine," where you just have to stop what you're doing, stare into space and listen.
4. "Sixpack" by JEFF the Brotherhood
The perfect summer song, "Sixpack" is about a couple of guys who have a six pack of beer and just want to get away. The song itself is just 60 words, only one of which is more than five letters, but it gets you feeling exactly how you know JEFF the Brotherhood felt when they wrote it.
5. "Comeback Kid" by Sleigh Bells
Songs as loud and full as "Comeback Kid" usually make you want to turn your stereo down, but for some reason this one never seemed to do that. This song, and the video that goes with it, are both great.
6. "Thinkin Bout You" by Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean's "Channel ORANGE" is widely regarded as one of the best albums of the year; "Thinkin Bout You" is the second track on it. I hate to admit it, but I've only listened to the album all the way through a few times though because I always hear "Thinkin Bout You" and just keep playing it over and over.
7. "The Only Place" by Best Coast
I've never been a fan of Best Coast, because their songs never really seemed to have a purpose. "The Only Place" has a message -- that California is the greatest place and the only place worth living -- and through repetitive and simply but incredibly catchy lyrics, argues exactly that.
8. "Global Concepts" by Robert DeLong
I don’t remember how I happened to find this song, but I immediately fell in love with the upbeat punch it had. When I first heard it, the song wasn't anywhere on YouTube so I put it up myself so I could send the link to some friends. Just this week, it hit 100,000 views. DeLong is truly someone to look out for in the future.
9. "Same Love" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert
Although he burst into the mainstream this year, Seattle's Macklemore has been making great, emotional hip-hop for 10 years. I find some of his newer songs -- "Thrift Shop," for example -- to be a bit too overproduced. But "Same Love" is just like the passion-filled tracks he was making when he first started.
10. "Fire's Highway" by Japandroids
Japandroids have one of the best albums of the year in "Celebration Rock" and put on one of the best shows I saw of the year at the Firebird. "The House That Heaven Built" gets more attention, but "Fire's Highway" is my favorite Japandroids song from 2012.