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DaveyBoy's Top 40 Songs Of 2012

Finally, I got around to this! No rules this year. As you will see, 2 songs from the same artist pop up frequently. And I am the sole judge as to what is a 2012 song and what isn't (since you can make a case that 4 of the top 11 first saw the light of day in 2011). As per usual, my descriptions will be less formal than my Top Albums list. And I've decided to throw in a key lyric for the Top 20 songs. Plus, it's me, so you know there are going to be some seriously guilty pleasures amongst this list...
1Lana Del Rey
Off To The Races

"Light of my light, fire of my loins, be a good baby, do what I want". Anything you say Lana. No matter how hard I tried to make a case against this being my #1 song of 2012 (and there were indeed a few reasons), it continued to draw me in captivatingly. To quote Robert Palmer; "Simply irresistible". In my opinion, one of the under-stated reasons as to why Del Rey is so divisive is due to the angle in which listeners view her (insert lewd joke here). Following 'Video Games', most judged her as an indie singer with pop leanings, when in truth it's probably best to consider her the other way around (I say, I say; do you know what you get when you spell "Lana" backwards?). 'Off To The Races is arguably her poppiest tune, without forsaking any of the hip-hop inspired beats and string arrangements which were so plentiful on 'Born To Die'. It's flow, vocal tics ("harlot, scarlet") and infectious - if conventional - chorus simply won me over.
2Emeli Sande
Read All About It (Pt. III)

"I wanna sing, I wanna shout, I wanna scream 'til the words dry out". In 2011, it was Adele's touching 'Someone Like You' which took out my song of the year. One year later and another piano ballad by a female Brit fell just short of emulating this feat. I specifically recall the first time I heard Sande's voice was singing the chorus of this song as a featured artist to make a Professor (Green) Plum song sound half-decent. Thank goodness that the chorus finally got the fantastic full song that it thoroughly deserved here. Being nit-picky, it could have done with Sande letting loose on the final chorus following her suitably controlled vocal performance to that stage.
3Of Monsters and Men
Little Talks

"Hey! Hey! Hey!". Whenever someone says "Don't listen to a word I say", you can bet that they really want you to listen to them. But just in case you were to take Of Monsters and Men too literally, the Icelandic outfit beg for your attention with a follow-up "Hey? that is an addictive snap back to reality. 'Little Talks', the joyous track from which the aforementioned lyrics are taken, has been omnipresent over the past 12 months, best summing up the accessible brand of indie-folk which the sextet deliver. Throw in some horns and I'm officially hooked!
4The Gaslight Anthem

"I can't move on and I can?t stay the same". You get the feeling that The Gaslight Anthem may have used that lyric as their motto for their 2012 LP 'Handwritten', with the New Jersey quartet somehow finding a way to land in-between. While the album didn't quite match their very best ('The '59 Sound'), it's lead single "45" went damn close to equalling that album's counterpart 'Great Expectations'. A rollicking rocker of the highest order, this was just the song to continue The Gaslight Anthem's thoroughly deserved rise.
5The Classic Crime
Heaven and Hell

"Between heaven and hell, I've got no home". One of my favourite songs of all time is Anberlin's '*fin', and it's fair to state that this track borrows a few cues from that tune. It's epic nature is complete with tempo switches, strings arrangements guitar solo and - of course - a choir assisted climax. I can see why some listeners feel the whole thing is a little forced, but that's a flaw I can overlook when a song is this damn good.
6Walk the Moon
Anna Sun

"What do you know? This house is falling apart. What can I say? This house is falling apart. We got no money, but we got h-h-heart". Undoubtedly the home to one of the catchiest choruses of the last few years, 'Anna Sun' just begs you to sing along to its refrain. While the lyrics initially seem way too silly, there's a certain carefree, college years attitude inherent in them which is difficult to dislike.

"Bottoms up tonight, I drink to you and I, 'cause with the morning comes the rest of my life. And with this empty glass, I will break the past, 'cause with the morning I can open my eyes. I want this to be my awakening". And with that chorus, Yellowcard explain why they are still - and probably always will be - relevant. Plus, there's a violin and other good stuff.
8Little Comets

"Too much worry, worry, worry, worry". I think there's always some unheralded indie-pop song from a British band high up on my list and this year's entrant comes from the almost forgotten Little Comets. When I use the words "indie-pop" and "British", you should almost already know what it's strengths are: jangly guitar hooks & pure catchiness.
9Lana Del Rey
Born To Die

"Come on take a walk on the wild side, let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain... You like your girls insane". I'm not 100% certain as to why, but I prefer this track to 'Video Games'. It's a little bit more memorable, a little bit more catchy and seems to fit into Ms. Del Rey's character a little better in my humble opinion.
10The Classic Crime
Beautiful Darkside

"I need to find some meaning, something true to believe in, 'cause left to my own devices, the beautiful darkside wins". I simply could not leave this sweeping, cinematic tune out of my top 10, since I believe Matt McDonald delivers the best vocal performance of 2012 on this track.
11Imagine Dragons
It's Time

"It's time to begin, isn't it? I get a little bit bigger, but then I'll admit I'm just the same as I was, don't you understand that I'm never changing who I am". On the back of this tune, it's difficult to see Imagine Dragons not getting bigger. It's catchy and they find a nice balance between stomping & twinkly with the instruments here. Let's hope they practice what they preach and never change.
Little Tyrants

"You are the king of an island of one". 'Self Starter' was my original favourite from Anberlin's fantastic LP 'Vital' (it's not much further down this list), but 'Little Tyrants' eventually overtook it. As with most of the album, it's urgent sound finds time to stretch the band's boundaries, with an almost hard-rock vibe here from the "woah woh's" all the way through to the guitar solo.
13Passion Pit
Take A Walk

"Brought my dear wife over, now I want to bring my family Stateside. But off the boat they sail a while, then scatter across the coast, once a year I'll see them for a week or so at most". I feel this songs suffers from lead single syndrome a little on a very even LP full of quality tunes. It's got all of Passion Pit's signature elements and somehow makes its repetitive 3 word chorus highly contagious.
14House Of Heroes
Touch This Light

"When I get lost in a sea of grey, when I get tangled up in the wires and my only hope is a beggar's grace, it's you that I find before I'm blinded". Or how an alt-rock band should write & perform a lead single; This is the prototype folks. From its build-ups, release of tension and under-current of a certain kind of swagger, this song just works.
We Bring An Arsenal

Oh boy, which retrospectively ironic - if sickening - lyric do I choose here? There's so many to choose from. I'll go with "Bite that lip 'cause your tongue is a gun and your brain is the trigger". Ugh. Can I just say that this song has that same old Lostprophets sing-along anthem quality about it, and move on...
Always Summer

"I know that I have always walked the line between confidence and lies, so many scenes are full of words I wish I could rewind, but here you are forgiving me again, you'll never know how real to me you've been". Catchy. Poppy punky. Violin solo. Winner.
17Pierce the Veil
King For A Day

(featuring Kellin Quinn) "So sick of playing, I don?t want this anymore. The thought of you's no fucking fun, you want a martyr, I'll be one, because enough's enough, we're done". Accessible post-hardcore done right, with a conventional - but very catchy - chorus. And what sounded like a terrible idea for a guest spot actually turns out to be value-adding.
18British India
I Can Make You Love Me

"I hope you're happy what you're doing. You know how they say that you can?t help but love the dead? That's exactly where I'm heading". This tune just took me by surprise when it was first released. It's very different for a band that has always had promise and I can only hope that it's a sign of positive things to come.

"Where are we that we digress, long for love but then undress. Our hands, no bounds, our hearts detached, we grasp for all that will not last". A fantastic lead single... A fantastic album opener... And a mission statement of sorts for LP 'Vital', which looks to go as close as possible to replicating Anberlin?s live sound on record. Mission accomplished.
I Miss The Misery

"I miss the bad things, the way you hate me, I miss the screaming, the way that you blame me. I miss the rough sex, leaves me a mess, I miss the feelings of pain in my chest". I love this song. Female fronted, catchy as hell, old-school hard-rock. Most prefer the track 'Love Bites (So Do I)' from their latest LP, but there's my Def Leppard bias saying this is better.
21Of Monsters and Men
Mountain Sound

Tacked on to the American version of their debut LP, this tune is arguably almost as infectious as 'Little Talks'. In other words, it will likely be the track which catapults them to Mumford like success and hatred all at once.
22We Are The Ocean

'Young Heart' just missed this list despite Liam Cromby's tremendous vocals on that track. The huge-sounding 'Machine' adds Tom Whittaker's pounding drums, gang chants and backing vocals to the mix to result in a satisfying winner.
23Anchor & Braille
Knew Then Know Now

A stripped back, simple song with a divisive backing beat that Stephen Christian simply owns with his otherworldly voice. The motivational lyrics may be too cheesy for some, but if anyone can sell them, it's the Anberlin front-man.
24Young Guns

While the album of the same name was a step down for these talented rockers, the massive title track from it displays all of Young Guns' potential by containing that difficult to pinpoint atmosphere right from its opening notes... Not to mention a rousing call and response chorus, a fantastic guitar solo and accompanying drum barrage.
25San Cisco

We've already had our customary English indie-pop tune on this list, so here comes the token Aussie indie-pop entrant. If you like cutesy and conversational boy-girl vocals, then give this infuriatingly catchy little ditty a spin.
Patient Spider

This tune sounds like a mess on paper, but works so damn well in reality. Imagine an English version of The Gaslight Anthem and then inject some horny horns for a winning killer hook.
Some Nights

I was very close to also including 'We Are Young' on this list, but when you waste a talent like Janelle Monae, then points are deducted. The title track from the trio's latest LP is probably better anyway and cemented their mainstream push better than the mainstream pundits expected.
28Forever Came Calling

One of the catchiest choruses of the year. Shout along: "Just make mistakes 'cause you'll never be the same again, and I'm not worth your while but what's your while worth again? I did my best to keep all your fucking secrets in, but now they're bleeding out from every god damn open end".
29Emeli Sande

With more than a hint of Massive Attack's 'Unfinished Sympathy', Sande kicks off her career in fine style with a song that I really thought would take over the world in 2012. Despite the success of Adele last year, does anyone outside of Britain even know she exists?
30Don Broco
Yeah Man

This song contains the deepest, most insightful & all-round greatest lyric of the year: "And we'll never get fat 'cause we jump around like prats". Haha. Love that line. They apparently call this lad rock. I think it's because you can still memorize every word while blind drunk!
Feel The Love

If anyone knows Drum and Bass, Davey knows Drum and Bass. LOL. I'm still unsure why I even like this chart success, but I am intrigued as to how their debut LP will turn out. So far, I have liked both singles, but is it a coincidence that they both feature the same guest vocalist?
32Icarus the Owl
What We Had Was Never Love

Finger-tapping ahoy! Icarus The Owl are always going to be a divisive outfit, but if you're looking for a relatively accessible entry point, then this may be it.
Fire Walk With Me

Ahhh, that chant of "Oh the devil wants to drag my soul, drag my soul down to the lake of fire" just sticks in your head. But this song has more than that, including some nice tempo switches and a passionately urgent vocal performance to boot.
34The Tallest Man on Earth
On Every Page

It literally takes 1 second for this song to captivate! A musician can do that when you can play guitar like this Swede. Kristian Matsson's voice will always prove divisive, but when he can conjure up melodies like this, then even the haters can overlook that.
35Foxy Shazam
Holy Touch

To be honest, Foxy Shazam's latest LP was a little all over the place. It had its highlights though and this was atop them. The song's lasting value is a little questionable, but when it?s this fun and catchy, then who cares.
36I Call Fives
Stuck In '03

"I was listening to Take This To Your Grave, So Long Astoria and Nothing Gold Can Stay". Ahh, nostalgia and catchy choruses = the perfect ingredients for old-school pop-punk.
37First Aid Kit
King Of The World

Most fans will hate me for asking this, but is that crossover potential I hear in this song? The Swedish sisters are charming throughout their latest LP, but let their hair down and have a little fun on this album closer featuring none other than Conor Oberst. And can you tell by now that I like me some horns?
Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

Does any lyric better sum up Pink more than "You think I'm just too serious, I think you're full of shit"? She rattles off pop-rock lead singles like this in her sleep and this cheekily titled track is yet another in a long line of winners.
39Youngblood Hawke
We Come Running

If you have yet to hear this band?s debut EP, think a mixture of Passion Pit (complete with the kiddy vocals from 'Manners'), 'Hot Fuss'-era The Killers and new groups such as Imagine Dragons and Walk The Moon. So basically; killer hooks abound.

It was either this or 'The House That Heaven Built' by Japandroids that was last but not least on this list... So I included 'Depravers' just to stir the haters. As ferocious as it is anthemic, this song just rocks... "At an early age, I made up my mind, that I'd live my life truly free".
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