Monday, October 29, 2012

Best of 2012 - Songs

This list is always my favorite because more than anything, songs are what preserve my memories of each moment and, therefore, of each year. Despite my lack of Christmas, I beat my song count from last year with a total of 888 songs. And that's just 2012 songs. All songs included, I increased my collection by 1,600 songs, taking me to nearly 7,800 songs. Obviously, I'm a bit of a music enthusiast, and 2012 was a great year to be one.

New music from Memoryhouse and Beach House, Moon Taxi and Walk the Moon, The Big Pink and Turning Violet Violet. New CDs 'Pacifica' and 'Synthetica', 'Push and Shove' and 'Sand and Snow', 'First Fruits' and 'The 2nd Law'. New songs "Amanaemonesia" and "Amenamy", , "Looking Hot" and "Cold Conscience", "Nightfall" and "Morning Star Rise". Commendable representation from the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, France, all of which are seen here. I took all 888 of my songs and deleted them one by one, giving each a fair chance at this group of my 51 champions. Click on the title of any song for a listen.

It's easy for one song to become lost in a group of this size... please know that each and every one of them is extraordinary in its own right, and they are all close to my heart and continually on my mind. Keep in mind that I own the entire album for everyone of these songs and I can confirm that these artists are spectacular through and through.

20. Eject, Eject, Eject! / Breaking and Entering - Tonight Alive
"There was a time when the sky held the answers for the things I couldn't find, but what happens when you're blind?"
An intro/first song combination, Tonight Alive's album opener makes you question if you're ready for what's to come. This sort of music making made Australian rock band Tonight Alive one of my best finds of the year and this song combination will never cease to empower me with every listen.

19. Joy - Ellie Goulding
"I've got joy to take my side."
The first time I heard Joy was during Ellie Goulding's iTunes Festival performance and it's one of those songs I latched onto immediately. It feels huge and ends much too quickly.
18. Ungirthed - Purity Ring
"The culminated piles of bones that ... call these men up to their thrones."
Canadian group Purity Ring is out of this world - almost literally. I think this is the sort of thing we'll be listening to in our space clothes on Mars and the like decades down the road. That quirky deep bass/high-pitched note juxtaposition is crazy awesome and the chorus just might be my favorite of the year. This is the sort of weird I like.

17. Kinds of Light - Memoryhouse
"The more I look, the more you fade."
My favorite song from my favorite 2012 addition, Kinds of Light accompanied me in many a late night drive. The ebb and flow is enchanting and that big moment near the middle of the song ("I can see you...") is drop-dead gorgeous.

16. Tonight I'm Getting Over You - Carly Rae Jepsen
"Put a flame to every single word you said."
I don't base my organization of this list on anything but the way each song makes me feel and I assure you: my feels don't lie. I've been a fan of Carly Rae Jepsen for a few years now and her rising fame doesn't change that because I'm not a picky hipster like some people. You can't deny it...this is a dang infectious song.

15. Tape Recorder - Hammock
As the only entry from my #1 album of this year, Tape Recorder epitomizes all that Hammock is. It takes patience to enjoy the near-2-hour album and even this six-minute song can test your attention span, but if you can take time to sink into this prolonged beauty, you experience something without equal.

14. The 2nd Law : Unsustainable/Isolated System - Muse
"A species set on endless growth is unsustainable."

I may be cheating by counting part 1 and 2 of The 2nd Law as one song because of how stellar they each are on their own, but I don't care. I'm sad that I have to miss out on my sister choreographing a dance to it as Dance Company Co-President at Woods Cross High. At least I'll know that I had some part in bringing this dubstep/orchestral hybrid into the lives of her viewers.

13. Motion Sickness - Hot Chip
 "Everything locks to my grave."
Is that my foot tapping against my will? Why yes, it is. This song does that to you. I lost track of how many consecutive repeats of this tune I allowed during my last solo dance party. It was a lot of 'em. Do you dare listen? You should.

12. More Than a Memory - Carly Rae Jepsen
"That night I almost said I love you and you almost said it back."
Yep...Carly Rae Jepsen yet again! I can't come up with a good reason for its place here other than it has a fantastic vibe. Isn't that what makes any song great?

11. Rue's Farewell - James Newton Howard
I think it's great a song from the soundtrack of my favorite 2012 movie made it this far. I'm not particularly fond of the character Rue, nor was I devastated by her death in the book, but this composition and the way they fit it into the film with the rebellion and what not created a strong moment for me.

10. The Afterman - Coheed and Cambria
 "She gave her heart to a falling star."
I usually commend Coheed and Cambria for their catchy rock songs, but they brought something new to the table this year. This song alone convinced me to buy the album of the same title. We're getting to the point in this list where words don't do these songs justice. You'll just have to sacrifice some time and listen.

9. My Blood - Ellie Goulding
 "I'm thrown in the gunfire of empty bullets."
Ellie Goulding has more songs in this list than any other artist and this here's the best of them. There are songs that are powerful and songs that are beautiful, then there are songs like this one that take it all to another level: Epic. To top it all off, it was premiered worldwide in Berlin, which just may be my new home two months from now.

8. Goes Without Saying - Anchor and Braille
 "So much left to say, but I've got nothing."
Goes Without Saying is a little simpler than the surrounding songs from the list, but that doesn't mean it can't have as powerful an effect. This song, for lack of a better description, makes me feel content with my life.

7. Sing Out Your Love - Churchill
"But the silence gets louder and louder now and I got no way to turn it down."
(Note: This video is NOT the song, but instead another great one from the same band because I couldn't find it.)
Churchill is like a ninja. I found their EP, my #1 of this year, on offer for free in a chance encounter and it then took my life by storm for a few weeks. Sing Out Your Love is the most mellow from the set and at $5, it's a group of songs you should just go ahead and buy right now. The male/female vocal duet shouldn't be missed.

6. Comeback Kid - Sleigh Bells
"You've gone away, but you'll come back some day."
Comeback Kid is out of place at this point in my list, that's for sure, but I love the heck out of it. If I weren't such a softy, it would be #1.

5. Love Is Love - Stereo Alchemy
"The firmest faith is found in fewest words."
Christopher Tin, who recently won video game music it's first Grammy, joined with an old DJ friend to create a new project Stereo Alchemy this year. This unique blend of classical and electronic influences takes one classic poem for each song and builds a mood around the words. This song, based on Sir Edward Dyer's 16th century "A Modest Love", Love is Love is a song I'd consider sacred in nature. It's stunning, to say the least.

4. Blood Anger - Kyte
"Talk is cheap."
I've got a cool story with this song. I found this video with it on YouTube and asked Kyte fans via Facebook if it was the official music video. Instead of hearing from a fellow fan like I expected, I was personally thanked by the musicians of Kyte themselves for introducing them to this fan-edited video in front of their entire fanbase. Too cool. The emotions in this song cannot be described.

3. Think Of Me When They Sound - Circa Survive
"How long will you wait for me?"
The "They" in the title refers to church bells, which makes this song fittingly symbolic in my own life at this time. Circa Survive's Anthony Green, probably my current favorite male singer, helped this song touch me at first listen and this arrangement of sounds will continue to do so always.

2. Close - Sun Airway
"I tried to get close to you..."
It was a toss-up between my #2 and #1 song because they're so different that it's almost not worth comparing them. Still, this is how it's turned out. Close makes 2012 the third year in a row with Sun Airway making an appearance in this list. This song has so many great sounds I could try to describe, so many moments that elicit strong feelings within me. It's a dynamic four minutes, to be sure. Don't miss out.

1. Hymn for Her - Anchor and Braille
"I'm not looking for someone I can live with; I'm just looking for someone that I can't live without."
This song is perfect at this time in my life. I'll be honest in saying that - and be warned, I'm getting a bit mushy here - there is nothing I want more at this point in my life than to love someone. I always dreamed of having someone try and wait two years for me, to test someone in that regard. But no, I won't have the chance to see if I'm worth waiting two years for and thankfully, I'm okay with it. This song has helped me reach that point. Just because I don't have someone to love at present doesn't mean I can't devote my present thoughts to her. I'm blessed to have encountered this song and see it claim this position as the best of the best of my 2012.

Well there it is. Hundreds of hours listening, watching, playing, dozen deciding and six more writing. My Best of 2012 is at an end and although my remaining hours are now fewer than the songs in this list, I'm glad I spent some of this time bringing it all to you. I hope you've enjoyed it.

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