Hot Jamz of the Year: The Best Tracks of 2012

A couple of people have asked me why I still take the time to do this every year, even after the magazine I used to write for shut down. It’s two things. For one, I’m a pop music anorak. I love taking the time to explore the year’s trends (alternative R&B, future garage) and the genres that have faded by the wayside (witch house, chillwave). Pop music is so ephemeral in the Internet Age, and it only takes going over a few past year-end lists to see that. Secondly, I love having these lists as timestamped overview of my year. It’s a great way for me to reflect and add context to the year that I’ve just experienced.

On to the songs. As every year, I have a few rules that I try to stick to so that this list doesn’t get completley impossible to make.

1. Mostly attempt to stick to the “singles,” whenever possible, just to make it a bit easier.
2. Only pick one song from each artist.
3. Try to avoid picking remixes.
4. Try to avoid picking Nickleback songs.

Listen to most of it on a Spotify Playlist , especially if Soundcloud is being wonky. You will miss some tracks though.

51. Inc.: “5 Days” from 5 Days Single
We kick the list off with one of the sexiest songs of the year. The Prince-obsessed Angelinos’ drop their debut on 4AD in February. It should be special.

50. Lemonade: “Neptune” from Diver
Brooklyn synth-pop heartthrobs wax lyrical about drunk dialing. (Lena Dunham voice) You know, what? They just get me. (Giant spoonful of ice cream). They. Just. Get. Me.

49. John Talabot: “Destiny” (f/ Pional) from fin
An exquisitely-crafted swirling slab of Balearic joy from the Spanish producer’s long-awaited first LP. #popthemollyimsweatin

48. AlunaGeorge: “Your Drums, Your Love” from Your Drums, Your Love Single
After emerging as a force in electronic music this year, expect the likely London duo to fully blow up with their 2013 debut LP.

47. Hot Chip: “Let Me Be Him” from In Our Heads
After five brilliant albums, the London synth-poppers show no signs of stagnation. This ode to commitment is just the right amount of cheesy.

46. A$AP Rocky: “Goldie” from LONG.LIVE.A$AP
Refusing to be written off as a one-trick pony, the Harlem spitter BoneThugsed his way through a string of scintillating singles this year.  His major label debut, Long.Live.A$AP, shows he has plenty of versatility and verbosity to go with his gargantuan helping of swag.

45. Fiona Apple: “Werewolf” from The Idler Wheel…
Your older sister’s favorite singer returns after seven years in the wilderness. Cue critics falling over themselves to heap praise on the New Yorker…who promptly freaks out and runs straight back to said wilderness.

44. Kastle + IO: “Only You” from Infinite City
Not all international alliances are abject failures. The duo’s underrated debut EP, Infinite City, is teaming with emotive, upbeat future garage jamz.

43. Mykki Blanco: “Wavvy” from Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss
2012 was the year that queer rap finally broke, and nobody’s voice shone brighter than the New Yorker’s this year. Features one of my favorite lines of the year, “What the fuck I gotta prove to a room full of dudes?/Who ain’t listening to my words cuz they staring at my shoes.”

42. LOL Boys: “Changes” (CFCF Remix) from Changes
“Things won’t change until we do.” Simple. Honest. True. Brilliant.

41. D’Eon: “Now You Do” from LP
The Canadian multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/producer/certified weirdo manages to craft a song that is simultaneously timestamped and timeless. Nobody’s going to know what a “News Feed” is in 10 years, but all those feelings are always going to exist.

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