2012: The Year in YOLO

I gave in this year to pop music and am not at all ashamed to admit my “best songs of 2012 (The Big List)” features a number of songs that are unapologetically pop and (to my ears at least) awfully good.

Maybe it’s having young kids who listen to the radio All The Time, maybe it’s because there’s an unusual quantity of good pop songs out there, maybe this is just another manifestation of my own contrariness. But I find myself wondering again and again: What’s Not to Like?

So, yes! yes! to Taylor and Carly Rae and P!nk and Xtina and Psy and Pitbull and Adam Levine and Kelly and Ke$ha and on the country side, that Little Big Town is pretty freaking catchy. I never thought I would like a song so good that name-checks Coors, but there you go. Perhaps I have been living in the South for too long.

For those whose tastes are so refined, they simply can’t abide listening to things enjoyed by the rabble (you know who you are) I have made a slightly condensed playlist that cuts out the pop mega-hits. It’s still a good list.

But I felt I had to go ahead and choose my favorite songs of the year. Hell is other people’s playlists, a wise person once said, so here, for better or worse, a dozen or so good tunes from YOLO Year of Our Lord 2012.

Ke$sha haters can suck it. This is an instant classic. It makes me wish that she would have made Warrior more along the lines of her original (stated) intent: more sleazy 70s rock, more guitars, less pop, fewer synths. As the man in A Hard Day’s Night said, perhaps this is “an early clue to the new direction.” I can only hope. “Sweet-ass mullet,” ftw.

The Youtube vid for “Everything is Embarrassing” has just surpassed a million hits, so this treads perilously close to Too Mainstream, but  the timelessness* of this song  can’t be denied.
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*or perhaps perfect evocation of 90s production values

Apparently I am a sucker for songs with “Everything” in the title. Hard to separate the song from the beautiful video.  Old School in the best sense.

A duet teaming a young rappper born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and Kurtis Blow, the Bronx.  I love this. Why isn’t this getting ten million hits on Youtube??

Pure pop confection that sounds even more ethereal in Japanese for some reason.

Feisty, sexy, funny–three things you really don’t expect from mainstream country these days.

Seems like this song has been around for more than a year. Never get tired of it, though.

The reissue of “Pearl” came out in 2012, in case you wonder why this song makes the list. Janis’ crazy cackle shows she knew she blew the take right at the beginning. But on and on it goes, and the world is better for it. The ad libs are absolutely priceless. Amy Adams to star as Janis in a movie coming soon? Don’t quite know how I feel about that.

My son’s gang posts videos of their trampoline tricks online. His friend used a Brother Ali song in one. Instead of getting a cease-and-desist from a company lawyer, he got a “cool, bro” from Brother Ali himself. That prejudices me in the man’s favor but this entire album is great. Angry, political, intensely human.

In awe of this entire thing. Sixteen definitely ain’t enough. “How’s he God if he lets Lucifer let loose on us?”

As though someone discovered a cassette featuring Gram Parsons gigging with the Dead, circa American Beauty.

The most YOLO song of a YOLO year.

2012: The Year in YOLO

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