Train, "Drive By"
My bestie sent me a text sometime in January saying, "I love that new Train song. Is that dumb?" Since I never really hear new music unless someone makes me, I looked it up immediately. After the first text, I wrote him back and said, "If it's dumb to like this song, then we're both dumb." Patrick Monahan's voice seems to just get better with age. Add that to a Norwegian song-writing duo, and you have a huge it. I love it. (It's too bad the video is super lame!)
Christina Aguilera, "Red Hot Kinda Love"
Why, oh WHY was this not a hit single? Because someone is completely mismanaging Christina's career, and that someone is probably Christina herself. The lead single to her new album was good, but lukewarm. Imagine my surprise when I got the album and heard THIS gem! I thought for sure it would be the next single, but then it wasn't. Unfortunately, it was NEVER released as a single and that's a real shame. (And also probably why her album was a complete commercial failure.)
Fiona Apple, "Hot Knife"
2012 was the year of comebacks, and Fiona's was one of them. My vocal harmony boner basically had an orgasm the first time I heard this song, and I just can't get enough of it.
fun., "Some Nights"
God DAMN I love this song. Everything about it is fantastic. The chorus, the harmonies, the drums, even the fucking video! It's the best song on the album by far, and WAY better than their lead single, "We Are Young."
Garbage, "Blood for Poppies"
No Doubt, take note: THIS is how you make a fucking comeback! All this hype over the last 4 years about a new No Doubt album culminated into cold shit on a paper plate. But Shirley Manson went to Coachella, thought it was a bunch of shit, and decided to get the band back together. Thank you, Shirley! The lead single from the album sounds quintessentially Garbage, which is why I love it. Keep the sound your fans love you for!
Todrick Hall, "Beauty and the Beat
No, this isn't the fucking Justin Bieber song. It's the best thing you'll ever watch. I loved it so much that I downloaded the song and have listened to it time and time again on my iPod. I mean, GLOZELLE is even in it!
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
Do I really need to explain why this is on my list? It's such a catchy song. I shamelessly loved it from the moment I first heard it. In fact, everyone loves it whether they admit it or not. And the guy in the video is fucking hot.
A late entry! This album came out in December in the UK, but I've already listened to this song more times than most of the others on this list. Anyone that rhymes high schooler with wine cooler and Hooters deserves my attention. Also, anyone that says, "Feelin' like a sabre-tooth ti-grrrrr" deserves an award. And hooray - now there's a video for it!
Madonna, "Girl Gone Wild"
I actually hate Madonna now and her new album is complete horse shit. However, I love this song, and it's only because every time I hear it, I think of this video:
Nicki Minaj, "Starships"
Unlike the Carly Rae Jepsen song, I wanted to HATE this song. I mean, it's Nicki Minaj, who has a vocal range of about 4 notes, all her raps sound the same to me, and it sounds like a rip off of Britney Spears, "'Til the World Ends." But I just couldn't hate it. I don't know what it is about this song, but every time it comes on, I want to dance. I love it!
Kylie Minogue, "Timebomb"
This is the song that Madonna wishes she'd put out instead of her entire last album. It's delicious pop perfection and was one of my summer JAMS. Madonna, take note of the age appropriate outfits.
Jason Mraz, "I Won't Give Up"
Uh oh, here come the ballads. When this came out, the line that struck me first was "Even the stars, they burn, some even fall to the earth." I thought that was such a great lyric. I didn't know at the time that my relationship was falling apart and that I would literally be living this song. It's too bad that Jason looks like such a douchebag in the video, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it is such a beautiful song. (Incidentally, I did give up in the end, unfortunately, because that was all I could do.)
Pink, "Try" & "Just Give Me A Reason"
Shit. I can't tell you how many times I listed to these two songs on repeat while crying. Not only did 2012 bring me my first serious boyfriend, but also my first serious breakup. I fell in love for the first time and when it ended, I was completely heartbroken. I thought that if I just tried harder I could make it work. If I was more accommodating, he'd change his mind. But in the end, when your boyfriend says it's over, then it's over. I felt like a teenage girl listening to these songs on repeat, crying, and thinking, "How does Pink KNOW??" Music is my therapy, however, and thank GOD these songs where there for me when I needed them. And don't worry, I'm fine now. :)
Also, have you SEEN the video for "Try?" It might be one of the most beautiful and moving music videos of all time. (It doesn't hurt that the guy is fucking hot, OKAY?)
Santigold, "Big Mouth"
Boy, did Santigold make us wait for that second album or what? It was worth the wait, though! I don't even know how to describe her music. It's like, weird, quirky pop. Initially, listening to the album my favorite song was "Look At These Hoes" because, well, it's called "Look At These Hoes." But then I saw the video for "Big Mouth." When I realized I wasn't tripping on acid, I just watched it again and again and again and again. It's pure genius and now this is definitely my favorite Santigold song of all time.
Scissor Sisters, "Let's Have A Kiki"
If I were organize this list into some sort of countdown, this song would sit in the number one spot. It came out right before my friends Josh and Chris' gay wedding in Provincetown and became the unofficial theme of the trip. When the video came out and I was even more hooked. Most, people drool of Jake, but I think the hottest member of Scissor Sisters is Del Marquis by a landslide. I want to play the tambourine, wear tight little pants, and make beautiful babies with him.
SMASH Cast, "History Is Made At Night"
Did you see the show SMASH? It's basically Glee on Broadway. It had its moments of brilliance, but it also had moments of complete shit. I, of course, loved it for the sole fact that Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee were singing their pussies off in every single episode. But the REAL star of the show was all the original music! So many fantastic songs were written for this show, but my absolute favorite is "History Is Made At Night." The harmonies are just so sexy. Plus, this was written by Marc Shaiman, who was Bette Midler's musical director for years. And before he was her musical director, he was her super-fan, so I think I'm justified in saying that he totally ripped the opening off of Bette's version of "Make Yourself Comfortable."
And finally, the last song on my list isn't a new release from 2012 at all. But it just came onto my radar in October:
"Le Jazz Hot" from Victor Victoria
One of the decisions I made in an effort to distract myself from the breakup was to do the pit orchestra for a production of Victor Victoria. Yes, I'd be playing Reed 2, which is tenor sax and clarinet in a professional production. That meant seven shows a week. For EIGHT WEEKS.
In addition to my full time job.
Yeah, I didn't really think that one through...
This all came via my friend Paul, who is ten times the sax player that I'll ever be. He suggested I do this, and I agreed only if he split the run with me. Well, when we hashed out who was doing what show, it seemed I was doing 75% of the shows. The shows I didn't do were because I had another engagement on that night. Talk about exhausting!
I remember at the first rehearsal we ran through a bunch of the clarinet songs and I thought, "Oh, this is totally no problem". Then we hit "Le Jazz Hot" and I realized I was in way over my head. I'd only been playing the sax for a year, how the FUCK was I supposed to play all this? I told Paul my reservations about doing this, but he insisted I was being ridiculous and convinced me not to drop out.
I will admit that my sax playing in the first few shows were a bit of a disaster, but near the end of week 2 I started getting the hang of it. And during the run something happened. "Le Jazz Hot" stopped being terrifying and started being really fun to play. By the last show, there was only a single measure that I couldn't play.
Doing the show was completely crazy, but I will forever list it as one of the greatest experiences of my life. I feel like I can actually play the saxophone properly now. "Le Jazz Hot" was a challenge that I overcame and I'm a better person for it. Hooray!
If you're not familiar, here's the movie version:
The version in the show is way more exciting, so you'll just have to imagine it. I will never be able to listen to this song without singing the tenor sax part in my head.
So that's my 2012 in (more than) a nutshell. I'm glad it's over, but I'm also glad I had all the experiences I did. Here's to 2013 and all the music it will bring me!
Most magazines do a year end song list, and I am always intrigued by these lists and wonder why I've never heard most of the songs. Well, I don't really wonder that, because I listen to pop music and no one likes to write seriously about Top 40. These lists really tell us more about how much of a conceited snob the writer is than about the music of the year. Therefore, I shall tell you about my year through my Top Tunes of 2012.