Here’s Jake’s top ten songs of 2012. Check out his Spotify list of all 20 at the bottom of the page! (Also check out his 11-20 songs)
10. She Lit a Fire by Lord Huron
Lord Huron produced one of the biggest out-of-nowhere surprises this year with Lonesome Dreams. “She Lit a Fire” is a jam we can all relate to about a lady (or gent) who captivates. Whether a single chance encounter or “the one that got away”, this song can surely resonate with all love-seekers.
9. Heartbeat by The Fray
There are a pair of songs on this list from bands who need no extra publicity, but my first entry is from The Fray simply because I couldn’t stop listening to this track upon first listen. They’re simply a band who knows how to write a powerful pop song. At the end of the day, it’s a solid song with a catchy hook. Sounds like enough to land on this list in my book.
8. 1957 by Milo Greene
Another album with several possible submissions, “1957” is what is putting Milo Greene on the map. They toured with the Civil Wars in 2011 and have been steadily growing in popularity; finally releasing their debut in summer of 2012. Beautiful 4-part harmonies drive this tune, especially, as Milo Greene sing you a lullaby about leaving town. “Would it be much better if I knew nothing about you?”
7. Ho Hey by The Lumineers
The infection that is “Ho Hey” is undeniable. The Lumineers debuted in 2012 with pleasant, honest tunes of an endearing nature. This track found its way into our ears from what seemed like every direction and, consequentially, into our hearts. The sing-along chorus is a simple statement of love that will be repeated for years; “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart.”
6. Bright Lights by Gary Clark Jr.
Gary Clark Jr. emerged from a blues scene right around the perfect time. With acts like The Black Keys and Alabama Shakes making moves in pop music, Gary Clark Jr.’s dirty blues guitar and soulful vocals came about right around the time blues began reaching a new audience. Gary Clark made a big name for himself by being on as many festival bills as possible and (finally!) released his debut full length album, Blak and Blu, in late 2012. “Bright Lights” came from an EP from 2010, but was cleaned up and produced with a bigger, fuller sound on the new release.
5. Some Nights by fun.
fun. exploded onto the pop scene in 2012. Their big single, “We Are Young”, was introduced during a Super Bowl commercial (pretty good marketing move) and Some Nights was immediately born as a favorite for Grammy recognition. The title track, “Some Nights”, picks up after a subtle intro and hits you with a chorus of Nate Reuss; one of the most talented vocalists you hadn’t heard of (until this year). There isn’t a song on the album that doesn’t hit home with lyrics of desperation and youthful mistakes, but “Some Nights” leads off the album as only it could. “Well, some nights I wish that this all would end, ‘cause I could use some friends for a change.”
4. The Once and Future Carpenter by The Avett Brothers
This is my favorite song from the 2012 release of my favorite band, The Avett Brothers. “The Once and Future Carpenter” first debuted several times on tour in 2011 before making it into the leadoff spot on The Carpenter. Singing about life on the road, Scott and Seth sing with the genuineness we’ve come to expect from this North Carolina quartet, providing some of the most memorable lines of the year, like the chorus closer, “If I live the life I’m given I won’t be scared to die”. Needless to say, the crowd absolutely adored this line the first time I saw them play it live and a new favorite Avett Brothers tune was born.
3. Hold On by Alabama Shakes
Simple, honest blues is how I’d describe Alabama Shakes. Their best track from their debut album, “Hold On”, provides a solid, clean set of guitar parts that will persist for quite a while. Brittany Howard’s powerful vocals mix the vibrancy of Motown with the soul of the south on this track that propelled Alabama Shakes into several festival lineups and Grammy nominations.
2. The House That Heaven Built by Japandroids
This is simply the best song from the best album of the year. Japandroids get everything they can out of this two-piece, full of energy and musical chaos. My biggest criterion for falling in love with a song is that it needs to make me feel something. Angst, rebellion, looking-out-for-number-one. That’s “The House That Heaven Built” in a nutshell.
1. Runaways by The Killers
Every year there are one or two tracks that I hear once and simply do not stop listening over and over. This year, the track that persisted longest was “Runaways” by The Killers. Are they new and exciting? Not necessarily. Is this album anything particularly memorable? Not that I’ve noticed. Can I stop listening to the first single from The Killers return and 4th studio album? Absolutely not. Flowers and the boys have a way of finding their way into our lives with an anthemic rock song. They proved again in 2012 that they still have that spark, to a certain degree. Listen to it. It’s undeniable.
The song, singing about a pair of kids with a child on the way, sings about something we all can relate to on some level; being a runaway. In some way, we’re all turning our backs on something in hopes that a new path will make things better. It’s simple and deep at the same time. Most of all, it’s catchy. The Killer just know the way to my heart.