20 Tracks I Will Remember 2012 by.
Welcome to 2013! Another year gone, another fresh year to come – one filled with a great line-up of new music on the production line. I’ll probably write a post outlining things that we can look forward to in 2013 in the near future, but for today, I would like to share with you some songs that defined 2012 for me, personally.
So we came up with the top 5 albums altogether, but what about individual tracks? Believe me, it has been an appallingly difficult task to narrow 2012 in under 20 songs – some of which have actually been released in 2011 (woops…) but a song is a song and if it has significance, actual release date doesn’t really matter…
20) Maximo Park, ‘Hips And Lips’
The Newcastle boys have returned in 2012 with a new album, The National Health and ‘Hips And Lips’ was one of the first singles to come out of it, alongside a seemingly under-budgeted official video. These guys just make me feel extra nostalgic about my younger teenage years – I’ve a feeling that they’re one of those bands that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
19) Foals, ‘Inhaler’
For me, Foals have been hovering the background for quite some time now, but with ‘Inhaler‘, they have really hit the nail on the head and ripped right through that curtain! It comes from their upcoming second album, ‘Holy Fire’, which we can expect to drop by within the next couple of months.
18) Muse, ‘Animals’
The one song I keep singling out from the opinion-dividing 2nd Law album is ‘Animals‘. I know it’s wrong to incessantly compare them to Radiohead and I wish I didn’t even have to mention them, as these two bands are both brilliant in their own right; but this song just oozes with Radiohead’s ’15 Step’… and a dash of pre-Resistance Muse, of course.
17) Of Monsters And Men, ‘Dirty Paws’
Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men have had a successful year over here in the UK, with their debut album, ‘My Head Is An Animal‘ reaching the top 10 in 2011 and this song is one of my favourites from the album. I like these guys, they’re really… I don’t know, huggable? They’re just the kind of people I’d love to be friends with – hey, don’t judge me! I just hope they stay true to themselves always, as their career is sure to take off from this point onward!
16) Jack White, ‘Love Interruption’
Despite the baby wrinkles beginning to gather round his face, Jack White is still king among indie monarchs. 2012 saw this man begin to focus on his solo career rather than the numerous side-projects, which scores highly on my personal scale of approval. ‘Love Interruption’ is no less bluesy than you’d expect – simple riff and strong, simple lyrics. Way to go, Mr White!
15) Maccabees, ‘Went Away’
The Macs have really grown on me this year, partly due to their latest album, Given To The Wild, but mostly because of this song. There is nothing about ‘Went Away’ that I could possibly dislike, I really couldn’t. It is soft and energetic and lovely and emotional and the video is simple but beautiful. Here it is:
14) Imagine Dragons, ‘Radioactive’
Everybody needs a few slow but heavy jams on their playlist. ‘Radioactive’ fulfills that role on my playlist perfectly, as there is something ridiculously addictive about it! I think I had it on loop for a while at some point – admittedly, it started to drive me a bit insane towards the end! Nonetheless, I absolutely love the combination of power drums with slow dubwub, it’s perfect. Sounds great on piano, too!
13) ∆ alt-J, ‘Something Good’
Chill. Very, very chill. And that simple but badass piano riff in the middle! This little number comes from my no. 1 album of the year, ‘An Awesome Wave‘, which I thought would be nice to mention as I’m convinced that this is the first track of theirs that I heard. That, or ‘Breezeblocks‘, but I may have a slight preference for this one. Not sure what it’s about lyric-wise, but what the hell, it’s a quality track nonetheless!
12) Lauren Aquilina, ‘Fools’
Everything about this girl is just charming: the voice, the songwriting, her personality – as evident in her debut real single, ‘Fools’! With the release of her EP, 2012 has been an utter whirlwind for Lauren as her talent is attracting ever increasing attention. It has been a pleasure to watch her recognition grow from humble Youtube covers to having ‘Fools’ used in a Hollyoaks soundtrack, because she rightfully deserves all of it, if not more. Watch out for this little owl lady with an unhealthy obsession with keys in 2013; there’s plenty more heartfelt songwriting to come! This is definitely for you if you’re a fan of Gabrielle Aplin or Orla Gartland.
11) Michael Kiwanuka, ‘Home Again’
This song punches you right in the heart. Mine cries out to all those who don’t feel like they belong. But this song.. it has that glimmer of hope which sometimes is all you need to keep yourself going forward; “one day I know I’ll feel strong again”.
10) Everything Everything, ‘Cough Cough’
I remember hearing ‘Cough Cough’ on the radio for the first time and not quite hearing the artist or the song name. It bugged me for days! I tried everything: looking on the radio’s playlist, Spotify, Youtube, everything everything everything! (Ignore the poor pun for your own sanity’s sake). When I did find out who this was, I suddenly realised.. of course! How could it be anyone else? I’d heard a few Everything Everything tracks before and no one else could have produced something so unique, full of energy, just something quite so manic. Anger at world greed! Great song to go crazy to when you’ve had enough of everything… everything. (Okay I’ll stop!)
9) Canterbury, ‘Saviour’
Canterbury are beginning to rightfully achieve increasingly wider recognition, which satisfies the proud fangirl in me. These boys have come so far in the past 3 or 4 years and I just wish more people could experience the energy they pour into their music! ‘Saviour’ demonstrates that energetic vibe they’re beginning to establish themselves with (although ‘Something Better‘ or ‘Ready Yet?’ are two other power monsters that I have been hopelessly in love with this year and you’d better click on those links! Clickety click!), and it’s fun watching a somewhat unaware Mike Sparks sing his heart out whilst the other guys mess around in the background. Admittedly, I may or may not have been crushing on Luke Prebble for a few years now, but don’t tell anyone… But he did promise me on Twitter that they’ll be in London in time to come! SO EXCITED.
8) Alabama Shakes, ‘Hold On’
Excuse me if this sounds corny, but this was definitely the no.1 song to pull me through June AS exams! What I think makes this song so special is how anyone, anyone can relate to it, listen to that beautiful vocal performance, get swept away with the rhythm and feel like they can battle the whole damn world, no matter what happens… “throw it all right at me, come on, give me your best shot!!” kind of emotion. Genius! Alabama Shakes, not surprisingly, formed in Alabama and have released a debut album, ‘Boys & Girls’ in 2012.
7) David’s Lyre, ‘This Time’
There’s definitely a hint of perfection lurking in the shadows of Paul Dixon’s voice (his real name is not, surprisingly, David). ‘This Time‘ is one of the tracks of his self-produced album, ‘Picture of Our Youth‘. Apparently, it had its ups and downs during the time of production, leaving a few songs somewhat underseasoned, though the potential is streaming right through – especially in tracks like ‘This Time’ – simply because it’s no less than gorgeous. Both the fully produced and acoustic versions are equally gorgeous. Listen to this gorgeousness!
6) The XX, ‘Chained’
In 2012, the chilled out London-based trio returned with their second album, ‘Coexist’. This song is full of so many subtleties; the peaceful but steady drumbeat, a gentle guitar riff around the halfway mark, but most of all: those lyrics. It appears to me to be telling a classic break-up story, and the distance held between the couple. It’s an emotional track not in the sense of energy and gushing out all your feelings, but a more reserved and gentle way of asking whether they should still be together, or what happened, or was one of them not being honest, that sort of thing. The tone of the vocals is ever so fitting with that meaning, too. Can’t get enough, ever.
5) Jake Bugg, ‘Lightning Bolt’
“JAKE BUGG” may as well spell “BOB DYLAN”, methinks! I am utterly head over heels about this guy’s music; not many other 18 year-olds have managed to re-create the 60s sound in the 21st century, which is why I salute Mr Bugg. Yes, 18 years old. If only I’d picked up that guitar at the same age as he did… Digression aside though; ‘Lightning Bolt’ is a snappy little dish which offers a great taste of what Jake Bugg is about. Incidentally, he denies any Olympic themes within the song, in case you’re curious.
4) Zedd ft Matthew Koma, ‘Spectrum’
A classically-trained musician from a family of pianists, Zedd is a Russian-born, German dance producer who likes his unconventional chord changes. The vocals for ‘Spectrum’ were provided by Matthew Koma, who is a great musician of his own accord, and his acoustic version of this song is perhaps even better than the original mix, by my standards. Whilst you’re at it, check out Zedd’s own piano version of this. Mine is to follow in due time, I promise!
3) Arctic Monkeys, ‘R U Mine’
As Turner brushes his hair between pretending to drum, I can’t help but wish I was in the car with the lot of them in the video! These guys seem to have a reputation of under-budget videos (remember ‘Cornerstone’?), but with a track like ‘R U Mine’, there really is no need for flamboyant photography of misty hills and valleys. This is easily one of my favourite 2012 tracks; bursting with the Monkeyness we’re so used to, yet sounding somewhat like it should have been included on ‘Humbug’, (the album before their latest one), with a clear-punch guitar riff right up in your face from the first nanosecond of the track. COME BACK GUYS, WE NEED MORE OF YOU.
2) Tom Odell, ‘Another Love’
Here’s another heartstring-pulling one for you. There’s something quite compelling about the vulnerability in Tom’s voice, strengthening as the song itself gathers momentum and you just wish he wasn’t so sad anymore, you just want to go up to him and hug the living daylights out of him to make him smile at least. The lyrics speak for themselves really, “I wanna learn to love but all my tears have been used up on another love”. Goosebumps.
1) Ben Howard, ‘Old Pine’
And the song that hits home the most is Ben Howard’s ‘Old Pine’. For me, this has really been a year of realisations and holding onto the littlest memories of these somewhat carefree years before we all get sucked into the inescapable whirlpool of madness, otherwise known as adult life. But there’s hope! This song is so beautifully uplifting; it makes you aware of the importance of making the most of your life, really, especially as a kid – just so that should any days in the future be bleak, you can look back and smile and say, “Hey – remember that crazy time when….?”. It makes me want to cry a little, but simultaneously smile, a lot.