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Top 50 Tracks of 2012


From Grizzly Bear to Grimes, we round up our favorite songs from the past year

With the year drawing to a close, you're probably feeling bloated or hating being back in the office or struggling with a bout of mid-winter, post-gift-exchange malaise. So it's our job as critics to cheer you up with authoritative lists of what we consider the best cultural offerings of the past 12 months! Here's my contribution: the top 50 tracks of 2012.

I hesitate to call this a "best of" list (let's face it: the best songs of 2012 are your favorites, regardless of what I'm about to tell you), so just consider it a soundtrack of music I encountered this year that, for one reason or another, really yanked me by the collar. These are the songs that have been stuck on repeat on my phone, the songs that made me dance, giggle, tear up, think about my past, or think about the future of music. There's some gritty psych-rock, some dreamy disco-pop, some goth-country-dubstep, some little experimental oddities, and a good number of soulful R&B tracks. Guitars strum, strings weep, beats throb, choirs chime in, bitches get "read," a woman kills for love, a man falls in love with another man and sings his guts out about it in the back of a taxicab. Hell, there's even a track from a chick who was once a member of Danity Kane. And I want to make sure that you know about all of it.

To maintain the variety necessary for any good mixtape, I've established a rule that no artist is allowed more than three tracks on the list--and that's only if I really love all three tracks. (Two artists have three songs on this list, and I truly believe they deserve their spots.) For your enjoyment, I've included links to the music videos for the songs that have them, and you can listen to almost the entire list on Spotify.

So without further ado, my top 50 racks of 2012, listed from No. 50 (a thunderous stunner) to No. 1 (my absolute most favorite song of the year).

50. Grizzly Bear - "Yet Again"

49. Holy Other - "Nothing Here"

48. Julia Holter - "In the Same Room"

47. Nicolas Jaar - "And I Say" [ft. Scout LaRue and Will Epstein]

46. Lemonade - "Neptune"

45. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Mature Themes"

44. Tops - "VII Babies"

43. Tame Impala - "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"

42. John Talabot - "Destiny" [ft. Pional]

41. Tropics - "Popup Cinema"

40. Major Lazer - "Get Free" [ft. Amber Coffman]

39. Halls - "White Chalk"

38. Wild Nothing - "Only Heather"

37. The Antlers - "Drift Dive"

36. DIIV - "How Long Have You Known"

35. Family Band - "Moonbeams"

34. Dawn Richard - "Intro (Call to Hearts)"

33. Susanne Sundfor - "White Foxes"

32. Autre Ne Veut - "Counting"

31. Disclosure - "Latch" [ft. Sam Smith]

30. Lotus Plaza - "Monoliths"

29. Zebra Katz - "Ima Read" [ft. Njena Reddd Foxxx]

28. Miguel - "Use Me"

27. Daughn Gibson - "In the Beginning"

26. Lower Dens - "Brains"

25. Bobby Womack - "Please Forgive My Heart"

24. The Walkmen - "We Can't Be Beat"

23. Antony & the Johnsons - "Cut the World"

22. Todd Terje - "Inspector Norse"

21. Frank Ocean - "Bad Religion"

20. Usher - "Climax"

19. Perfume Genius - "Hood"

18. Tomas Barfod - "November Skies" [ft. Nina Kinert]

17. Blur - "Under the Westway"

16. Frank Ocean - "Pyramids"

15. Dum Dum Girls - "Lord Knows"

14. Jessie Ware - "Sweet Talk"

13. Jai Paul - "Jasmine"

12. Fiona Apple - "Werewolf"

11. Jessie Ware - "110%"

10. Sky Ferreira - "Everything Is Embarrassing"

9. Bat For Lashes - "Laura"

8. Rhye - "The Fall"

7. Beach House - "Myth"

6. Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You"

5. Chromatics - "Kill For Love"

4. Blood Diamonds - "Phone Sex" [ft. Grimes]

3. Solange - "Losing You"

2. Jessie Ware - "Wildest Moments"

1. Grimes - "Oblivion"

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Jason Lamphier