Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Dec 21st 2012 9:06AM by Spinner
While much of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Psychedelic Pill album is made up of simple jams designed to please the wake 'n' bake crowd, the 16-plus minute confessional "Walk Like a Giant" is much more. Outwardly disguised as yet another Neil guitar epic, he uses the song to evaluate the hippie dream and his contribution to it. The uncomfortable conclusion that Young comes to -- as the song slowly fades out with four minutes of noisy globs -- is that he hasn't done nearly as much for the world as he'd hoped. -- Aaron Brophy
39. Jai Paul, "Jasmine"
Thick with haze and smoke, mysterious UK singer/songwriter Jai Paul's lone contribution to 2012 is impossibly catchy, baffling and lo-fi glorious. -- Theo Bark
38. Dirty Projectors, "About to Die"
"About to Die" shimmies between disjointed rock rhythms and classic R&B. Its complicated meter and bumper-to-bumper patters probably look like a total mess on paper, yet for some reason it all ends up making sense. Dirty Projectors' latest single manages to grab you by the balls while visions of calculus dance in your head. -- Cameron Matthews
37. A$AP Rocky, "Fucking Problems"
If some alien arrived from Alpha Centauri and asked you to explain hip-hop circa 2012, you could just play this track and walk away. The year's four hottest MCs, representing the genre's final sloughing off of blinged-out bloat, team-up for the posse cut to beat all posse cuts. (Yes, even yours, Kanye.) It's nominally A$AP's track, but Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar get equal billing and while none of them is exactly dropping science, it's just fun to hear friends try to impress each other over 40's rumbling street beat. -- Joshua Ostroff
36. El-P, "Oh Hail No"
This collaboration of El-P, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire and Danny Brown is all bombast and braggadocio from three rappers who don't give a fuck about you or what you think. "Souvenirs, novelties, party tricks" they are not, and if you don't know it by the end of El-P's first verse, well, just give up now. -- Dan Reilly
35. Adele, "Skyfall"
Adele's James Bond theme was so moving that it made badass Daniel Craig cry like a baby. The single has everything you'd want in an action tune: Sousaphones a-plenty, firebrand vocals and a pinch of camp, making "Skyfall" one of the best Bond songs in recent memory. -- Cameron Matthews
34. Zeus, "Are You Gonna Waste My Time?"
A standout track on their deliriously joyful album Busting Visions, "Are You Gonna Waste My Time?" hits all the right nostalgic notes. Tightly arranged and under three minutes, the Toronto veterans find room for honky-tonk piano, spaced-out riffs and a monster earworm of a hook. The sounds may be familiar, but the results are infectious. -- Adam Horne
33. Rihanna, "Where Have You Been"
Though understandably overshadowed by "We Found Love," her previous collab with Scottish EDM don Calvin Harris, their follow-up is maybe even stronger. First, the western-tinged intro and outro, with Ri Ri wearily proclaiming "I've been everywhere, man," gives the pop star more personality than she usually displays. But then the track just blows up, firing off synths like pyro at a Gn'R show, detouring into a lengthy dubstep break and then carpet-bombing big room beats. A few years ago this kind of club jam would've been unfathomable as a Top 40 tune. Times change. -- Joshua Ostroff
32. Miguel, "Adorn"
It's hard to believe this three-time Grammy-nominated track was released back in February, going on on to capture the No. 1 spot on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart over half a year later. Laying his silky vocals over the electronic-tinged production with odd, karate-inspired adlibs, "Adorn" is one of the most memorable R&B tracks in recent memory. -- Theo Bark
31. D-Sisive, "When We Die Together"
Rap's mope king D-Sisive has capped his appropriately cult-worshipped Jonestown album trilogy with "When We Die We Die Together," which might be his most moving song in a discography full of them. This narrative tale of helpless children and lonely widows subverts the uplifting la-la-las found in Of Monsters and Men's "From Finner" and uses them to create the ultimate lost-hope singalong. D-Sisive lays it out plain -- it sucks for all of us -- but for four and a half minutes we can at least share each other's pain. -- Aaron Brophy