The punky popstar returned with a new album this year, and although her more upbeat singles sounded like a rehash of old tracks, this emotional pop power ballad displayed Pink at her absolute best. Pink’s raspy vocals tear through this song to deliver an emotionally charged performance. Plus, her performance of this song at the Grammy’s will be one of 2012’s highlights in music.
This Icelandic indie rock outfit was one of the breakout acts of 2012. They presented us with one of the year’s most unique songs of the year. With their use of male and female co-lead vocalists engaging in a complex dialogue about the workings of the human psyche. Even if you don’t wrap your head around the meaning (I still don’t), anyone can appreciate the unique instrumentals, roushing chorus, and calls of “hey!” that make the song impossible to resist.
Synth rock and funky guitar chords might have died in the 80’s, but with the help of ace production team Sweetune, Infinite brought back these retro sounds with The Chaser. What could have easily been the cheesiest sounding song of this year, actually wound up being pretty damn cool! This group’s synchronized dancing and powerful singing brought a fresh new style to these retro sounds, and created one of the most intense and original songs in Kpop.
After their sulky first album, it was nice to see Mumford and Sons return with a more upbeat single. Their instrumental arrangement felt earthy, genuine, and honest, complete with a flurry of banjo strumming. Marcus’s drawling vocals and shouted chorus made this song rousing, energetic, and by far, the band’s biggest song to date.
This song is a perfect example of pop-step done right. Alex Clare combined a bluesey folk sound with an overcoming dubstep beat for a dynamic sound that is simply chilling. His raspy vocals delivered deep lyrics over the haunting half acoustic-half electronic sound that culminated in one of the biggest choruses of the year.
Taylor Swift’s venture into teen pop yielded some of the catchiest results ever. This song was instantly memorable with its sing song verses, infectious chorus, and teen-girl whatever-tude. Sure…it may very well be the dumbest thing ever written, but who cares when you just have to shout it whenever it comes on the radio?
Elegantly combining the sounds of the 80’s with contemporary sounds, Twin Shadow crafted one hell of a song with You Call Me On. His breathy vocals sounded superb when placed side to side with his unique instrumental arrangement. With driving guitars and huge synth riffs, this song would have been a huge success 30 years ago, but still sounds star worthy in the 21st century.
Lee Hi was without a doubt, Korea’s breakout star of the year. Cute as a button, and fierce as a firecracker, this young songstress stepped onto the stage with a voice that defied her small size. With a bluesey rasp that shocked audiences, she gave us some genuine soul with a confident swagger. The Korean pop industry has been missing soul for quite awhile, and Lee Hi could very well become the Adele of Asia in time.
This song made it this far on my countdown for the way it was released alone. You see, Jack took a bunch of vinyl discs to balloons, and let go. The man is crazy, and he makes some crazy music too! Such is the case with Freedom at 21.
This song’s soulful vocals were something that has been sorely missing from pop radio. Add to the mix an infectious chorus and super fun pop-rock sound, and you have one of the best “good time” tacks of 2012.