Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Dec 20th 2012 5:33PM by Spinner
Members of Phantom Planet, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, the Like and Maroon 5 all joined forces to make this indie-pop supergroup. They glide on good vibes, toe-tapping beats and the whispery alto of singer Z Berg. "Heartbeat" is the definitive JJAMZ tune, employing excellent songwriting that's comfortable on Top 40 radio as well as small indie stations. -- Cameron Matthews
29. Danny Brown, "Grown Up"
Toning down his usual foul-mouthed schizo-swag, Detroit's rising emcee made a major mark on hip-hop this year with his own "Juicy" -- a triumphant celebration of where he's been and how far he's come. Party Supplies' playful beat, reminiscent of '90s golden-age boom bap, proved the perfect canvas for Brown to unleash his irresistibly catchy flow. -- Adam Horne
28. Lee Fields, "Faithful Man"
After decades of near-obscurity, soul veteran Lee Fields bellowed his way into our world with Faithful Man and its riveting title track. "Faithful Man" is achingly familiar, a chest-ripping, heart-bearing variant of the soul music born from that classic Motown template of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl songs. In this one, Fields confronts the object of his temptation with "I've always been a faithful man until you came around ... don't make me do wrong." Does he give in to temptation? It's unclear, but he's never felt so guilty -- or so good. -- Aaron Brophy
Someone as well-schooled in music history as Jack White knows it's not easy living up to a legacy -- which is why "Love Interruption" works so perfectly. Rather than trying to make another "Seven Nation Army," White keeps it low-key on this electric piano and acoustic guitar duet with not-well-enough-known Nashville singer-songwriter Ruby Amanfu. Putting the focus on lyrics instead of guitar licks, the pair intertwine their vocals while singing amazingly twisted romantic analogies, peaking with "I want love to murder my own mother/Take her off to somewhere, like hell, or up above." -- Joshua Ostroff
26. Father John Misty, "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings"
Just like Father John Misty's Fear Fun is the best 2012 album about a homosexual shamanic drifter, this song is definitely the best song about going to a funeral then having sex in a cemetery under the influence of Adderall and weed. -- Dan Reilly
25. deadmau5, "the veldt"
Deadmau5 has often been accused of phoning it in, something he's encouraged with his just-press-play interviews and >album title goes here< album titles. The Ray Bradbury-inspired single could best be described as livestreaming it in -- he broadcasted the 22-hour creation of "The Vedlt" online and then found its vocalist/lyricist Chris James on Twitter. More pop structured than his usual EDM dancefloor jams, "The Veldt" is an ambient number held aloft on a bed of late-'90s trance synths to deliver an unexpected emotional payload. It must've launched countless e-puddles this year. -- Joshua Ostroff
24. Spiritualized, "Hey Jane"
Clocking in at just under nine minutes, "Hey Jane" starts off with a bouncy Brit-pop vibe before Jason Pierce's spaceship takes a hard left into psychedelic gospel. If only more hymns were as joyous as the "sweet heart sweet light" refrain. -- Dan Reilly
23. Kendrick Lamar, "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe"
Only in the mouth of a shifting, cagey rapper like Kendrick Lamar does the word "bitch" mutate from a derogatory, sexist term into a universal cry for freedom from hatred and disillusionment. On this track, Lamar wanders curiously through his own fame, shortcomings and its surrounding backlash. Thing is, the sentiment is so strong "bitch don't kill my vibe" transformed from a go-to hook into an actual statement of powerful rebuff to haters. -- Caitlin White
22. Metric, "Dreams So Real"
Metric are known for either soaring electro-pop, stadium rock or a combination thereof -- which is why Synthetica centerpiece "Dreams So Real" stands out so starkly. Riding a distorted modulating synth line, Emily Haines reveals a rare vulnerability, questioning her achievements this far: "Thought I made a stand," she sings, sadly. "Only made a scene." But then Jimmy Shaw's guitar chimes out and you realize that her worry that "the scream becomes a yawn" is unfounded. Her scream became a whisper, one that simply pulled us in closer to hear. -- Joshua Ostroff
21. Solange, "Losing You"
The lead single off her new EP True, Solange's "Losing You" combines elements of '80s synth-pop, soul and R&B for a dreamy combination that is a breath of fresh air in the increasingly hyper, EDM-leaning R&B world. Solange's breezy vocals bring a carefree sensibility to her Dev Hynes-co-penned lyrics, which in contrast, tell the sad tale of love lost. There's beauty in the contradiction. -- Contessa Gayles