Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Dec 20th 2012 12:00PM by Spinner
Imagine a bunch of anarchist skate punks invading the mansions and palaces of the world's richest and most powerful, burning all the valuables then throwing the kickass rager of all time. This song is how the world would remember that night. -- Dan Reilly
9.Sharon Van Etten, "All I Can"
Sharon Van Etten's Tramp descends into the heavy pit of love before allowing the singer time to claw her way out from underneath. "All I Can" is a pivotal turning point, a Dante-like crescendo, where we can finally see the light from the bottom of heartbreak. "But who is my man?" she asks, finally coming to terms with a relationship's end. All that's left behind is memory. -- Cameron Matthews
8. Usher, "Climax"
As if we needed any proof of electronic music's dominance in 2012, Usher tapped Diplo to craft this wistful ballad about love gone sour, imbuing the progressive house melody with a minimal touch. Tense, powerful and undeniably heartfelt and relatable. -- Theo Bark
Simply put, it's Mumford and Sons doing what they do best: Heartfelt, anthemic folk with a sound somehow larger than the sum of its parts. -- Dan Reilly
"Come on Brittany, you got to come on up!" Brittany Howard's yowling of that line is the moment first-time Alabama Shakes listeners are guaranteed to go "wow." There's nothing contrived about their old-school soul -- it's pure joy at life and music, which is why this band had such a breakout year. -- Dan Reilly
5. DIIV, "How Long Have You Known"
Z. Cole Smith evolved from journeyman guitarist to ubiquitous front man after a breakout SXSW trip in 2012. Of the beautifully drony, washed-out bedroom recordings, single "How Long Have You Known" is the most songlike and catchy. -- Theo Bark
4. Grimes, "Oblivion"
"Oblivion" is one of those songs with lyrics completely removed from the music itself. Montreal avant-pop auteur Grimes' vocal chirps are a perfect match for the bubbly electro beats. That is, until you realize that she's chirping about breaking your neck (or perhaps having her own broken) and that the beats are way weirder than you first realized. Though the guerilla video of her dancing at a football game helped the song go viral, "Oblivion" was simply the purest distillation of her ability to turn some of the year's strangest music into some of its most accessible. -- Joshua Ostroff
3. Fiona Apple, "Every Single Night"
Dulled bells introduce a smoke-stung voice that we haven't heard in years. Fiona Apple's return on The Idler Wheel... begins with one of her greatest songs yet. "Every Single Night" is a journey through the mind of the home-bound, anxiety-rattled brain of the 35-year-old singer, played through funhouse mirrors of toy pianos and gum disease. You can actually hear Apple quake from the inside out. And it's positively gorgeous. -- Cameron Matthews
2. Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, "Super Rich Kids"
Frank Ocean is, above all, a storyteller. His open-letter/liner note related his own story, but Channel Orange is full of tales about souls far more lost than his. "Pyramids" may be his ambitious Prince-ly epic, but it meanders where "Super Rich Kids" is compact perfection. A soaring, Jody Watley-referencing vocal from Frank and the spellbinding insouciance of Odd Future associate Earl Sweatshirt update Less Than Zero for the post-Occupy era, revealing the drug-addled and unloved One Percent offspring as just more collateral damage. -- Joshua Ostroff
1. Japandroids, 'The House That Heaven Built'
Celebration Rock's standout track has every necessary ingredient for a great rock 'n' roll song: Loud guitars, a shout-along hook and a "screw it all, we're gonna be all right" attitude. Whether it's kids feeling the stress of adulthood and grown-ups yearning for their less complicated youth, who can resist the urge to "tell 'em all to go to hell"? We surely can't, and that's why Japandroids' "The House That Heaven Built" is our song of the year. -- Dan Reilly