"Look at the birds up in the tree."
"We're not birds, we're a jug band."
- Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
That immortal exchange between a bear puppet and a band of otters (one at least) from the 1979 iconic Christmas special have nothing to do with this column but needed to be said somewhere, somehow. So, there you have it. Anyway, underrated Christmas TV specials aside, it's December, which means everyone and their father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate are unleashing their year-end "top" whatever lists. Suffice to say, this blogger is no different.
As Ashford & Simpson used to sing, 2012 was "solid...solid as a rock" when it came to music. There were many exceptional albums this year, but I'm going to focus on the songs. Before I break into my list of 52 gems that lit up my year (and made for a weak cliche of a sentence) I will say my favorite albums of the year came from the following artists (in no order): Bat For Lashes, Mumford & Sons, The xx, Sleigh Bells, Cat Power, The Chevin, The Gaslight Anthem, Green Day (squared), The Jezabels, Moon Taxi, Yeasayer, and Metric whose Synthetica would top my list of best albums of the year - you know if I composed that list.
With that said, let's get back to the task at hand. Here are my top songs of the year, which true to my own personal taste veer toward alt and indie rock. Check the list below and click the links where you see them. I was fortunate to have some of the songs and performers play on asidesmusic.com!
Oh, and I'll reveal the "big reveal" right away: fun. tops it. In April my friend Keith got married and that band's "We Are Young" was played on repeat in the limo. Keith's two-year-old nephew sang it on top of his lungs with his mom. That to me is the power of the song. It had been out for months, covered on "Glee" and played a lot, but it was as fresh in April as it was back in December. It still resonates for me even though it's been overplayed to death. Cheers fun. You had the best song of the year in my book - now read on for the 51 other killer tracks. Share your own in the comment section!
Review. Listen. Love.
52. Home - Philip Phillips
51. The Mother We Share - CHURCHES
50. Every Single Night - Fiona Apple
49. Too Close - Alex Clare
48. Some Nights - PK
47. Love is Just a Game - The Chevin
46. Obedear - Purity Ring
45. My Love is Real - Divine Fits
44. Below My Feet - Mumford & Sons
43. Titanium - David Guetta/Sia
42. Bad Girls - MIA
41. Longevity - Yeasayer
40. Only Love - Ben Howard
39. Mercury - Moon Taxi
38. Mercy - Kanye West
37. Stay Useless - Cloud Nothings
36. Lazy Bones - Green Day
35. The Rifle's Spiral - The Shins
34. Harbour Lights - A Silent Film
33. Try - Pink
32. You're Early - 2:54
31. Champion - The Chevin
30. All Your Gold - Bat For Lashes
29. Crush - Sleigh Bells
28. Chained - The xx
27. Dreams So Real - Metric
26. The Pit - Silversun Pickups
25. Simple Song - The Shins
24. Fineshrine - Purity Ring
23. Comeback Kid- Sleigh Bells
22. Control - Garbage
21.The House That Heaven Built - Japandroids
20. Get Free - Major Lazer
19. Dirty Paws - Of Monsters and Men
18. Diamonds - Rihanna
17. Default - Atoms For Peace
16. Endless Summer - The Jezabels
15. What Makes a Good Man - The Heavy
14. Stubborn Love - The Lumineers
13. Octopus - Bloc Party
12. Too Much Blood - Gaslight Anthem
11 Little Black Submarines - The Black Keys
10. The Celestials - Smashing Pumpkins
9.. Where the Kids Are - Blondfire
8. Laura - Bat For Lashes
7. It's Time - Imagine Dragons
6. Breathing Underwater - Metric
5. Somebody I Used To Know - Gotye
4. Sixteen Saltines - Jack White
3, Warrior - Kimbra, A-Trak, Mark Foster
2. We Come Running -Youngblood Hawke
1. We Are Young - fun.
About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music series features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing.