Azealia Banks – 212
Imagine if you could distill every gif that the Internet had ever spawned? Now imagine if you could add a hundred thousand exclamation marks to the end of that? I think the answer to these questions would sound something like this song. Even if you don’t like the sound of that answer, hearing a smiling Azealia Banks rap ‘I’m a ruin you cunt’ should be enough to make you like this song.
Grimes – Oblivion
There is a moment in the video clip for this song where a spectator at a sports stadium walks past a dancing Claire Boucher (Grimes) and appears to apologise for interrupting the filming of the video. Given the video itself is being shot live at a busy stadium and is interrupting other spectators, the moment is jarring and oddly meaningful. I’m not sure why this moment has so much meaning, or what that meaning really is, but it does mean something and maybe that’s enough.
Best Coast – The Only Place
Maybe I love this song because it’s winter and Southern California and summer sounds like the most beautiful thing in the world right now. Maybe it’s the way Bethany Cosentino has a weird ability to make the most inane rhymes sound interesting (done/fun, babes/waves). Or maybe this is just a nice song that is a whole lot of fun. Either way, the only place I want to be when I hear this song is on a beach in California with waves and babes. Well-played Best Coast.
Meek Mill – Amen
Too many songs are serious. This is not. That doesn’t mean it’s not amazing. Also, Drake raps: ‘I just bought me a crib so big it came with a moat. For niggas jumpin’ the fence I hope you niggas can float’. So listen to it.
Chromatics – Kill For Love
The new Chromatics’ record reminds me a lot of M83’s 2011 album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’. Both records have an almost unique ability to introduce listeners to a world of sound and immerse them in it. So in many ways the track ‘Kill For Love’ is a whole lot like ‘Midnight City’. Both are distinctive enough to work well as singles but are also similar enough to the songs they sit alongside so that they perfectly represent their respective albums’ sound and narrative.
Beach House – Myth
nos·tal·gia [no-stal-juh, -jee-uh, nuh-] noun
1. How the stunningly beautiful music of Beach House sounds.
Chairlift – I Belong In Your Arms
I don’t know if this is a deliberate Cocteau Twins pastiche or the song just sounds a lot like that band. Whatever it is, it’s brilliant (and bonus: you can understand the lyrics!). Any song that has the line ‘You’re my remote controller’ and isn’t ruined by it has to be amazing right? I think the only reason the line works – and the song itself – is the absolute sincerity of its delivery. I guess it’s also nice that people are still falling in love in 2012.
Twin Shadow – Five Seconds
This song is probably the flipside of ‘I Belong In Your Arms’. Appearing to narrate the end of a relationship, George Lewis Jr. sings what may well be the most inspired lyric of 2012: ‘I’m not trying to make you cry’. It’s devastatingly simple, but again, the delivery is so powerful the words become transcendent.
And briefly, some other good songs from 2012:
Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute
Saskwatch – Your Love (yay Australian!)
Lykke Li – Silver Springs
Kanye West (Feat. LOTS OF OTHER RAPPERS) – Mercy
Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Little Boots – Every Night I Say A Prayer
Passion Pit – I’ll Be Alright
Nicki Minaj – Beez in the Trap
PS I should caveat this by saying I haven’t listened to a whole lot of mainstream pop in 2012. Oh and that Fiona Apple album. Feel free to comment and tell me all the good music I’ve been missing.