TANNER STRANSKY (SENIOR EDITOR)
Best Coast, “How They Want Me to Be”: The melancholy of this song was perfect for those moments when I was feeling a bit sad.
Ke$ha, “Die Young”: Really great lyrics, catchy, trashy—just pure fun.
Zac Brown Band, “Whatever It Is”: Possibly one of the best, most underrated country songs that found its way back into my 2012 playlist.
Tanlines, “All of Me”: Feels like summer when I hear this song.
Alyssa Reid, “Along Again”: Who knew a weird, poppy riff on the Heart standard would be so enrapturing?
Karmin, “Brokenhearted”: Love Jessie J, especially when she’s named Karmin.
Jennifer Lopez, “Dance Again”: Better than “On the Floor,” but didn’t get the love because it’s almost exactly the same as “On the Floor.”
Loreen, “Euphoria”: The perfect spin jam.
Frank Ocean, “Lost”: I first heard “Lost” when the Berlin-based electronic producer Dixon played it during his live set at New York’s Electric Zoo in August. The song felt like the antidote to the festival’s deluge of trance anthems (tranthems?) and dubstep – a sparse, understated tale of misguided materialism that quotes Hunter S. Thompson. And yet it’s still a killer dance tune. Frank Ocean deserves every ounce of praise he’s received.
TNGHT, “Goooo”: We may long remember 2012 as the year that birthed “future-trap,” a hip-hop/electronic hybrid with enough bass and snare to rattle the rims off your whip. TNGHT, comprised of producers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, are among the forerunners of the fledgling genre, and a recent show in Williamsburg made enough commotion to attract the attention of none other than Kanye West. Just listen to “Goooo” once and you’ll understand how the duo was able to make the “hipster” capital party like a frat house.
Lovelife, “I’m No More”: I had the great pleasure of seeing these London transplants at CMJ, and their debut EP El Regreso has continued to grow on me ever since. The first song, “I’m No More,” perfectly captures their synth-heavy R&B sound: yearning, harmonized voices sing of despair overtop a seductive beat that could melt a glacier. Forgive the expression, but it’s the kind of baby-making music that only a group of white guys from England could produce.
The Neighbourhood, “Sweater Weather”: ”Sweater Weather” is one of the few songs I can genuinely describe as “irresistible.” Deftly played, impeccably produced, with clever, evocative lyrics and silver-tongued vocal delivery from lead singer Jesse Rutherford. This precocious young group from California has crafted a flawless pop gem on their very first EP. Mark my words: The Neighbourhood won’t be unknown for long.
Zion I, “Human – Bassnectar Remixxx”: ”Human” is what happens when an immensely talented electronic producer remixes an equally talented Bay Area rap group. It’s even better when you’ve been a fan of both, as I have, for years. Bassnectar gives the heady duo some additional low-end heft and even throws in a few drum ‘n bass breaks for good measure. Lean back, relish that persistent groove, and…bounce.
All of the above were released in 2012, but I’d say my two most-played songs of the year are “Pony” by Ginuwine and “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by the Smiths