Friday, February 1, 2013

Top 10 Songs of 2012

2012 was an interesting year for my type of music.  It wasn't as good as 2010 (the best in my opinion) or 2011, but it had a decent mix of good pop/dance/hip-hop/rap.  At the same time, it had some absolutely abysmal songs that dominated for far too long, such as a song by a Belgian band named Gotye whose name I shudder to mention, or Bruno Mars' uninteresting singles.

However, at the top was a super hard choice between two of my favorite songs from two of my favorite artists, David Guetta and Flo Rida.  What made it even harder was the fact that the Australian singer Sia was a featured artist in both singles, and killed it in both of them.

When all was said and done though it was clear who the winner was.

1. David Guetta - Titanium (Ft. Sia): I actually heard this song for the first time, and listened to it quite a bit in 2011, the summer of which is when Guetta's awesome album "Nothing but the Beat" came out (a bunch of songs from that album made the top list for last year).  It made the 2012 list because that is when it hit American radio and became huge; it was covered by everyone, has some amazing remixes, and was even featured in a movie.

Why does it beat #2 though?  Because it takes a simple lyrical theme that makes it far more universal and emotional than every other song on this list, even "Don't you worry child."  The song, backed by an amazing beat and production by Saint David Guetta, even after listening to it steadily for a year-and-a-half, can still give me chills.  It's simple and complex at the same time.  It's a great pop song and a great dance song.

The key ingredient for this song is Sia.  David Guetta has so many hits that some of his less-better songs start to become familiar and not as exciting, for me that would be "Turn me on," featuring Nicki Minaj.  But Sia's great voice, especially in the chorus, in which she thunders: "Shoot me down, but I won't fall, I am titanium!"puts this song as Guetta's best single as a lead artist, in my humble opinion. 

2. Flo Rida - Wild ones (Ft. Sia): After the hugely entertaining "Club can't handle me," in which Flo Rida teamed up with none other than David Guetta in 2010, Flo Rida sort of struggled to land a hit that I really dug.  The other singles on his 2010 album sort of flopped, with only "Who dat girl" denting Hot 100 in any serious matter.

He came back with "Good feeling," which I liked but did not love.  However, a week before the end of my first semester of law school his facebook page linked the 30 second intro from "Wild ones," and the hairs of my neck stood up, as I had a "good feeling" that the song that I was hoping for, essentially "Club can't handle me Part 2," had finally arrived.  And I was not disappointed.  The piano was awesome, the beat was great, Flo Rida's verses were awesome, and Sia killed the chorus so hard that she became the best thing about the song.  The first line from Flo Rida's opening rap verse kind of encapsulate the type of music that I dig: "I like crazy, foolish, stupid, party going wild fist-pumping music."

3. Ludacris - Rest of my life (Ft. Usher & David Guetta): This song came out of nowhere (for me at least) in November.  It was unapologetically a David Guetta song, even though Ludacris is the lead artist.  The trio make an amazing team as Ludacris raps in his characteristic flow that is sort of addicting (though he could've used another 20-30 seconds in the song IMO), Usher creates an awesome chorus, and Guetta provides the beat and excellent dance breaks.  It's perhaps a better straight-up dance tune than "Titanium" or "Wild Ones," and it's theme is simply: fun.  It didn't catch onto American mainstream radio, but that is kind of fickle anyways so I really don't care.

4.  Jenniffer Lopez - Dance Again (Ft. Pitbull): In 2010 J.Lo made a triumphant track with "On the floor" (and also one of the most-viewed videos on youtube).  The team behind it was her, Pitbull, and the producer RedOne (best known for his work on Lady Gaga's debut album, but works with almost everyone it seems now).  The same team is arrayed here now, and followed the same formula: fun Pitbull verse+J.Lo verse, J.Lo Chorus, J.Lo verse, fun Pitbull verse, J.Lo chorus.  The best part of the song in my opinion is Pitbull's crazy lines that the less enlightened (fun sarcasm, so don't take offense) will make fun of.  Such as "Shimmy Shimmy yah, Shimmer yam Shimmer yay I'm a ol' dirty dog all day," and "Modern day Hugh Hef, uh yes."  I wish it had gotten more radio play but with everyone going momentarily crazy for a song that will not be mentioned from a Belgian band which will not be mentioned, it was destined to fade away fairly quickly.

5. Enrique Iglesias - Finally found you (Ft. Sammy Adams): Enrique was on fire in 2010 in America, "I like it" and "Tonight" were great, but he has been in kind of a slump lately.  This song didn't really hit it big but I still love it for its great pop-ness and dancefloor potential.  The chorus is undoubtedly great, and Sammy Adams, an aspiring American rapper (who happens to be white), plugs in a fun rap verse to top a great track off.

6. Swedish House Mafia - Don't you worry child (Ft. John Martin): I almost missed this song in 2012 (which is when it debuted), but it is just getting its groove on now, having risen to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  It's got awesome lyrics that perhaps eclipse "Titanium's":

Upon the hill across the blue lake,
That's where I had my first heartbreak.
I still remember how it all changed.
My father said,
"Don't you worry, don't you worry, child.
See heaven's got a plan for you."

It combines the good lyrics with amazing production and dance beats/breaks.   Why isn't it higher?  Perhaps because I started listening to it so late in the game, and perhaps its because I like the other artists more.  But it's still awesome.

7. French Montana - Pop that (Ft. Rick Ross, Drake, & Lil Wayne): I had never heard of French Montana before.  In the oversexual pool party music video for the single he wears a towel over his head.  It has very offensive lyrics in almost every way possible.  But like Wacka Flacka Flame's fantastic "No Hands" (which I absolutely love to death), I can't help but love it.  The song's energy comes from the beat and the chorus, "Don't stop, pop that pop that pop that, don't stop," etc., which is much more fun than you would think.  Combine that chorus with three of hip-hop/rap's biggest stars, and you get, much like "No Hands," a veritable anthem of offensiveness and excess.  In our offensive, hyper-sexualized, no-holds-barred society, we are going to get these kind of songs, and even though I don't like it I can't help but love this song.

8.  Pitbull - Get it started (Ft. Shakira): Unfortunately for Mr. Worldwide every song he makes I am going to compare to "Give me everything," because I love that song to death, and since it is unlikely for him to top that I expect him to fall short.  This song was another like those of J.Lo, Ludacris, and Enrique Iglesias, which fell short on the Hot 100 but didn't fall short in my heart.  It has a great chorus by Shakira, an energetic dance beat, and verses by Pitbull.  It's awesome.

9.  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop (Ft. Wanz): This song is a record-holder on the Hot 100 as the first independently produced single to hit Billboard's #1 spot.  It is also the highest charting song on this list.  I first heard it when I was told that the theme of my friend's bachelor party was based on it.  I was blown away by the song.  It has a great chorus featuring a sweet saxophone hook (which is special to me as I played the alto saxophone for many years, and will once I'm done with school), hilarious lyrics, fun verses, and just its off-the-wall zaniness.  The whole premise is that the rapper feels like a baller because he has saved all this money buying sweet things from a thrift shop.  In an age where almost every rap/hip-hop song is about a male who has lots of money and spends to excess, it is great to see the theme turned on its head.

10. B.o.B. - Both of us (Ft. Taylor Swift): The #10 spot was hard-fought.  But when I looked at the year in total I had to pick this song to round out my top ten songs of 2012.  It's a very interesting song, especially when you consider that is on the same album as "Strange Clouds," another B.o.B. song that I dig, that unfortunately (in my opinion) is all about illegal drug use which is saved by its beat and its flow.  This song though has real meaning, with B.o.B. rapping about struggles, pain, and making the world a better place.  You would think that Taylor Swift wouldn't fit here but she does beautifully, helped out by the countryish instruments that back her chorus: "I wish I/ Was strong, enough/ to lift, not one, but both of us."  An unexpectedly beautiful and meaningful song, "Both of us" is my tenth favorite song of 2012.


Kanye West - Clique (Ft. Big Sean & Jay-Z): Irresistible song about Yeze's group of ballers held together by Big Sean's chorus

Juicy J - Banz a make her dance (Ft. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz): A song much in the same vein as "Pop that," very offensive and outrageous, but once you get over that it's a lot of fun.

Cher Lloyd - Want u back: The Brit X-Factor star who didn't win but became more famous than the actual winner of that season, this is a catchy pop song about a girl who dumps a boy because she thinks she can do better but wants to win him back when she sees him happy with another girl.  Wow, that was a mouthful.  Seriously, look up her X Factor performances, she can sing, she can rap, and she is super cute as well.

Brandy - Put it down (Ft. Chris Brown): Hate on Breezy all you want, but a good beat, great-sounding vocals from Brandy, and fun rhymes from Breezy make this a near-miss. 

Worst of the worst:

Gotye - Somebody I used to know (Ft. Kimbra): This song was the bane of four months of my life.  It's boring, it's boring, the lyrics are horrible, it's boring, it's boring, and it was POPULAR!!!  America, what have you done!  Not the first time you have messed up something big this year.  Did I mention that this song was boring and it was popular?

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