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The 40 Best Songs Of The Year

I'll be on and off all day so if you want to pick a fight about my rrselections r("Gunplay??" "Nicki Minaj???") feel free to duke it out in rthe rcomments.

In one of the best years for rap music in recent memory, I had to give the number
one spot to a girl so white she could be used as a smile for cocaine. But from the
moment I saw her astounding performance of this on Jools Holland (Which stands
head and shoulders above the awful music video) to right now Genesis never
ceased to be anything less than utterly hypnotic. Boucher?s soaring melody sounds
like it was discovered in some lost forest being sung by the spirits that reside there
while drums that knock like a vintage Timbaland beat hold up the slippery synth
lines. Eh, guess it?s a little more rap than I gave it credit for.
2Schoolboy Q
Hands on the Wheel

I read about this science experiment once where they hooked up a button to the
pleasure center of some hamsters? brains to see how they would handle it. Well as
you probably guessed they just started slamming the button until they?re brain
couldn?t handle it anymore and they exploded. I feel like one of those hamsters
when I listen to this, I just keep slamming the button like ?MORE HOOKS! MAKE IT
CATCHIER!? with Q and ASAP returning in kind by transmitting frantic sound effects,
a pitched up sample, and furious double time flows directly into the part of my
brain that used to remember multiplication tables. The whole effect is so
overwhelmingly catchy it makes Call Me Maybe sound like Treefingers.
3Dawn Richards
Black Lipstick

Never thought I?d hear from a member of Diddy Dirty Money ever again but Dawn
Richards? Armor On ? EP beat out full albums to become one of my top 5 albums of
the year. Black Lipstick, the opening cut, is a five star stunner that immediately
rewrites Dawn?s previous title of ?Diddy?s backup singer? to ?force of nature?. The
rush of drums, frentic strings, and piercing harmonies moves the song with such
frantic urgency it sounds like a hovercar doing 200 mph through the streets of 2150
New York. Criminally overlooked, give this one listen and become a fan.

Usher reminds us that he can be amazing when he wants to be by dropping a
stunningly weightless ballad on our laps out of nowhere. Critics showered it with
praise, radio tried and failed to play it to death.
King of Hearts (Richard X Remix)

Poor Cassie, everything shes touched since Me & U has bounced right off the charts
with King of Hearts being no exception. Fine with me, the intensely addictive King of
Hearts gets to be the best kept pop secret of the year.
Kaleidoscope Dream

Harmonies so dreamy and seductive they sound like tossing panties off in slow
motion, which Miguel is certainly doing at this very moment somewhere.
7Kendrick Lamar
Backseat Freestyle

Urban Dictionary needed a definition for ?Killing It?, Kendrick and Hit-Boy obliged.

Like all great shoegaze tunes, Time is a fuzzy mess that reveals itself to be a
beautifully written heartbreaker through repeated listens. It was a dozen spins
before I realized ?So I took a walk/Just to kill some time? was actually ?So I took a
lover/Just to kill some time?.
9Jessie Ware
Wildest Moments

Never letting herself fall prey to showy melisma Jessie Ware instead lets herself
contrast the mortar round drums with a snipers accuracy, zeroing in on the melody
and displaying an awe inspiring show of vocal control while barely breaking a
10Young Dro
Check Me Out

The chorus of ?Check Me Out? is a taunt. The real hooks come during the verses
where, in staggering double time, Dro unleashes ridiculously catchy verses that beg
to be sampled into their own songs. Multiple replays are necessary in order to catch
every hilarious detail. Personal favorites: ?Dope at a Doubletree? ?Hangin with the
white guys/and we like to skydive/Hoppin? out the plane like ?Woa Geronimo!?? ?The
bitch real bad imma? Louie V sandal her!?
11King L
Val Venis

Its almost a right of passage for the mixtape hero to totally blow it on their debut
major label single, so its nice to see King L sidestep that completely by fashioning
his catchiest chorus ever to his best quoteables yet (?Rapid face shots nigga adi-to
Jump Out

Just about mixtape ever lays stock gunshot noises over the music to add intensity
to the proceedings. So leave it to Gunplay to sound like he?s firing off live
ammunition in the recording booth while reeling off rewind worthy, all caps couplets
like ?Long as I got my chopstick and a box of copperheads/I get wretched with my
ratched/Till I see my proper ends?.
13Tame Impala
Be Above It

Each time the song comes to the end of a measure it piles up into this ridiculous
melodic car crash that tightens and tightens until it bursts out into acres of beautiful
guitar. Sing it with me! ?Gotta be above it, gotta be above it, gotta be above it,
gotta be above it?.
14Lil Reese
Traffic ft. Chief Keef

2012 found Chicago at the center of the rap world as the drill scene went national.
Blame it on the endlessly surprising talents of Young Chop and that nagging, halting
flow that goes in one ear and refuses to leave.
15Azealia Banks

Few thinks were more pleasurable this year than hearing Azealia Banks find her
voice and run rampant over everything she stepped on. But she gets utterly and
totally upstaged by the beat here which sounds like the Prince Ali parade scene
from Aladdin taking place in Atlanta.
16Killer Mike

There were a lot of great songs on RAP Music, but at less than two minutes Go gets
down to what we come to Killa for, the rapping. Bar of the year:
How Long Have You Known

Its good to know that a few guys with guitars and reverb pedals can still conjure up
miles of atmosphere 10 years after Interpol went all ?Untitled? on our ass. The
perfectly melodic guitar solo blows my wig back every time.
Oh Hail No ft. Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire & Danny Brown

I have an alternate name for this song, The Rap Olympics. EL-P sums up his entire
MO in one line, ?Ever notice that when you talk/I just cut myself!??, Mr Muthafuckin
Exquire doubles down on a laser focused double time, and Danny Brown grabs the
gold with ?I?m Ric Flair/With thick hair/Yellin? out ?Woo!? getting head in the
director?s chair?.
Turn on the Lights

When rappers go ?stadium status? they tend to half ass it with weak bars and guest
singers. On Turn on the Lights (and his way better than it was supposed to be debut
album) Future goes all in. He sings every word and the song benefits immensely
from it sounding infinitly more sincere than if the hook was passed off to Ne-Yo.
20Bruno Mars
Locked Out of Heaven

I never thought the schmaltzy schlep behind the eternal waiting room/elevator
staple ?Just the Way You Are? would strike back with something this ridiculously
funky. It builds constantly but never hits a proper release. A song about sexual
ecstasy that sounds like sexual frustration? Classic.
21Mykki Ekko
Pull Me Down (Paul Hemsworth Mix)

Much like the number 5 entry, the remix adds a massive velocity boost to an
originally droopy tune.
22Death Grips
Get Got

Before the label drama, it was this tune alone that sent me scrambling after their
I Belong in Your Arms

I feel like I?ve been waiting my whole life to hear that chorus.
24Sky Ferreira
Everything is Embarassing

Young and glum.
25A$AP Rocky
Pretty Flocko

Is the beat inspired by Tricky?s Strugglin?? I like to think so.
Locked in Closets
27Chief Keef
Don?t Like ft. Lil Reese

You hate it but it got stuck in your head this year, didn?t it? Give in.
28Rick Ross
Triple Beam Dreams

Esco drops a verse so dense and detailed Rozay has to pull some crazy ?stackin? in
Acura coups? flows just to match him.
29Roc Marciano
Nine Spray ft. Ka

Gunshot sounds are a dime a dozen, but the vicious pistol slams on this sound like
they were recorded outside the studio on a cell phone.

Knowing he would be judged for being a gay rapper, Le1f knew he had to outrap all
the straight ones, so he did.
31Nicki Minaj
Beez in the Trap ft. 2 Chainz

The most hated on rapper in the world gives a stone cold mic performance and is
hated on for it. Meanwhile, 2 Chainz informs us that there aint no keys in his
32Frank Ocean
Pink Matter ft. Andre 3000

Fresh off a bong hit Frank asks us ?if our woman is just a container for the child?? I
dunno man, quit hoggin? the pipe.
Under the Westway

They?ve returned, and they?re bummed. Pretty, but bummed.
34ASAP Ferg

Why have one hook when every single bar could be a hook?
35Angel Haze
New York

?There is like no chance of you fucking me? ? Angel Haze
36Action Bronson

He fucks up on the mic, leaves all the errors in, and its way more thrilling for it.
Also, ?razor clams?.

?Mmmmmm dude this molly?s kickin? in and I love this song?
38French Montana
Shot Caller (Remix) ft. Diddy and Rick Ross

Why complain about it when you could shout along? Actually that sums up most rap
in 2012.
39Meek Mill
Amen ft. Drake and Jerimiah

The studio version drops the beat out when Drake says ?Puttin up?, I have no idea
why, it?s awkward as fuck.

What saves dopey lyrics every single time? A go for broke performance or Chris
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