Honestly, who doesn’t love the “Best of ” lists that come out at this time every year? I can’t enough of them, so I decided this year I am getting into the action and creating one of my own. Then I felt a little cocky for thinking I could come up with what was the best music of 2012, there were probably amazing songs released that I didn’t even hear. So I decided all I could do was make a list of my favourite songs of this year at this moment! In order to build anticipation I am going to do five posts (I know the waiting will be unbearable). Feel free to let me know your thoughts, if you love a song, hate a song, would add a song, etc. Just know that if you disagree with me you will be wrong! So here we go, starting at number 25!
25. Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)– Lupe Fiasco from the album Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album
I love Lupe Fiasco! His debut Food and Liquor was killer. His second, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool was phenomenal. His mixtape’s are great. But then he released Laser’s a couple years ago, and I began to lose a little faith in him. I mean it was OK, but it seemed like an attempt at going mainstream at the expense of his creativity. This years album, though not as great as his first two, was a step in the right direction, and Around My Way, for me, was the highlight. Using a great sax sample from an old school Pete Rock hip hop song, it has the combination of a fun, jazzy track with Lupe’s insightful and often cutting political commentary.
24. Am I That Lonely Tonight?– Justin Townes Earle from album Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now
I am not naturally drawn to straight up “Alt Country” easily, and that is exactly what Justin Townes Earle (son of legend Steve Earle) is. To be honest when I first listened to this song it didn’t do much for me, but for some reason, after hearing it I just kept thinking about it. I went back and listened to it again, and again, and I realized I actually loved it. I don’t know if it is the contrast of the desperation of the lyrics with the brightness of the horns, or just that it is great song writing, but this one made it up the list kind of out of the blue.
23. Born to Die- Lana Del Rey from the album Born to Die
Don’t judge me, you can pretend you don’t like it but you know this song is sexy. Who isn’t a sucker for a combination of hip hop drums with strings? I know she was overly hyped. I know that her performance on SNL was horrid. I know that she probably doesn’t write her own music, etc, etc, but whoever did put this track together rocks. Check out the video, yes those are tigers sitting next to her in a church. Why? I don’t know, but how can you go wrong with tigers.
22. Tell Me a Tale- Michael Kiwanuka from the album Home Again
60’s and 70’s R&B music was incredible! Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, seriously how can you beat that stuff. Michael Kiwanuka sounds like he was one of their contemporaries. His voice, the production, the instrumentation, the horns (I know, only three songs in and I have pointed out the horns three times), even the video all make this feel like it is out of ’72 not 2012.
21. Please Forgive My Heart– Bobby Womack from the album The Bravest Man in the Universe
If I could sing (which I can’t) I would want to sound like Bobby Womack, such an awesome voice and crazy carrier. He wrote songs for The Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin, played guitar for the legendary Sam Cooke and Sly and the Family Stone, and had a successful solo career. Drug addiction almost took him out, but this year at age 68, with the help of Damon Albarn of the Gorilliaz and Blur, he released a killer new solo album. Here is a live version of the song, just to show that he still has it.
I know, such amazing music, how can there be 20 more songs? Well, tomorrow I will posts numbers 16-20, so get ready for your mind to be blown with some Canadian hip hop, Jesus singing psychedelic folk, and a duet out of Iceland, and feel free to let me know what you think.