Top 5 in music of 2012
1. Frank Ocean, "Channel Orange"
2. TIE: Father John Misty, "Fear Fun"; PSY, "Gangnam Style"
3. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
4. Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know"
5. TIE: Rihanna, "Diamonds"; Ke$ha, "Warrior"
*This list includes albums + singles.
I'll start by criticizing myself (and roping you all in with it, so it might touch a nerve). How did we all leave "We Are Young" by Fun. off this list? Is it because we're all too old to sing that song out loud? It can't be! We all love movies about teenagers. Is it the annoying way that they punctuate their name? (Sometimes it's in all caps, sometimes in all lowercase and it usually has that annoying period at the end). Or is that opening of the song just too schlocky to make it all worth the amazing chorus? Seriously, if that song was the chorus alone, it would be the song of the year. To tell you the truth, it probably still will be anyway. Also, here's where I'm a little bit of a jerk: That Gotye song officially started getting airplay last year. -Pat Healy, music editor
For me, the problem is "My friends are in the bathroom, getting higher than the Empire State."
This line ruined friends, getting high and New York for me. FOR SHAME, Fun! Monica Weymouth
"Somebody That I Used to Know" stays on the list because it made me think there was this really great Police song from the '80s recently discovered and newly released. I think I just proved your old fogeys theory." Amber Ray
"And there was another noteable Police ripoff this year - Pat and I were just talking about "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars. Strange to see Sting make a vicarious comeback. ... Maybe this supports the argument that I'm already an old fogie, but I had to look up the Rihanna and Ke$ha songs because I hadn't heard them before. Ke$ha has finally been the first to inspire me to call something "devil music" in an unflattering way." Heidi Patalano
Heidi, you are killing me! Tell me that when "Tik Tok" comes on you don't feel like you run the world. Tell me!" MW
"I may agree with Ke$ha's choice of toothpaste, but it all stops there." HP
"I can't tell whether I'm repulsed or amazed that Ke$ha collects fans' teeth." Meredith Engel
"Another bit of food for thought: Would "Gangnam Style" make the list if there weren't a video? People probably posed the same question about Duran Duran in 1982, and it's strange how this bit of devil's advocacy is still relevant in 2012. But seriously, in an age where music videos aren't shown on regular TV anymore, it is interesting that a video made such a huge cultural and musical splash. Also, who is the most ridiculous person you saw in 2012 attempt the dance?" PH
"I think it would have --hell, I still haven't even seen the Gangnam Style video, but I somehow know the dance. I personally enjoyed Britney trying her hand on it while appearing on Ellen (but why was she dressed like a flight attendant for that episode?). Related: Has anyone done the "Gangnam Style yourself" eCard? Kind of the Elf Yourself thing." ME
"I think a prerequisite for Best Song of the Year means we can sing along with it. Oh man, I'm such a xenophobe.' Dorothy Robinson
"Heeeeeey sexy lady" -- count it! MW
"What about Kanye this year? Did anybody vote for "Cruel Summer"? PH
"I say this every single year, and I hate change so I'll say it again: I have never heard anything by Kanye West that I didn't want to turn off immediately. Who's old and grumpy? This girl -- this girl right here." MW
"Oh man, Monica, give Mercy a chance! There's so much going on in this track. I love how it flawlessly switches between winding dancehall to some gritty southern rap all while maintaining a cool, dark undertone and then suddenly taking a left turn to an electronic dance party. Yup, you have to bring ALL your moves to the floor. Adding to the awesomeness is the all-black ninja-bedouin looks everyone sports in the stylized video. It's totally one of those fashion moments I can see being referenced years from now." Tina Chadha
"Tina, I appreciate you thinking that I'm anywhere near this cool." MW
"I'm really proud of our list -- I think it's a great compilation of the best of what was playing on most people's iPhones this year. But for me, 2012 was the year of Innovative Leisure. The small L.A.-based label put out fantastic new albums by rhythm and blues throwback Nick Waterhouse and breezy psych rockers the Allah-Las. Both became fixtures on the beachy, blissed out soundtrack to my summer (which, regrettably, lacked the actual SoCal sand and water)." AR
"I'm just really proud that our mostly white staff picked "Channel Ocean" as the best album. We still have it, people!" TC
Music editor Pat Healy's Top 5
1. Father John Misty "Fear Fun"
2. Michael Kiwanuka "Home Again"
3. Big Boi "Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors"
4. Frank Ocean "channel ORANGE"
5. TIE: Bruce Springsteen "Wrecking Ball" & The Walkmen "Heaven"
This was a weird year for music. For the first time I feel like there was actually too much to listen to. Look at the top lists of any major publication and there are very few similarities. I, for one, am surprised more outlets aren't praising the stellar songcraft of Father John Misty and Michael Kiwanuka. Neither are reinventing the wheel. In fact, both seem very much rooted in sounds of the '60s and '70s. But as for my next two entries, Big Boi and Frank Ocean, I think both are really doing great things to push their genres forward. Big Boi took a brave tact on this most recent album, which also didn't make that many lists (presumably due to its December release date). Instead of just a few indie collaborations here and there, like he has done in the past, almost every track is a collaboration, with either Phantogram or Little Dragon. The results are completely original. Frank Ocean's results are completely original too. I said this in discussing the symbolism of Whitney's death, but it really is like he is on the forefront of bringing a much needed update to R&B. The new school, which includes Miguel and The Weeknd never knew a world where hip-hop didn't exist and that has formed their worldview in such a unique way that the old soulsters didn't have. And in fifth place, maybe it's just loyalty, but two of my favorite acts released albums that weren't my favorites they've ever released, but I can still go back and enjoy them.