Fun fact! Superstars almost always release new music in the last quarter of the year, when everyone’s itching to buy holiday gifts. Before the onslaught, I’m counting down the best 25 songs of the year so far. If it’s on this list, it either came out in 2012 or rose to prominence this year.
#5. “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons
When this song caught my attention, I honestly didn’t expect to love it as much as I do. I obviously liked it right away, but after several listens, it has become one of my go-to ditties. In fact, Imagine Dragons’ entire EP is fantastic, delivering indie-pop pleasures, excellent singing, and killer choruses on every track. “It’s Time” is just starting to gather steam on the radio, and I hope more people give it a chance.
#4. “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding
If you’ve been following along at home, then you’ve noticed that I fell in love with Ellie Goulding’s music this year. I was aware of it in 2010 and 2011, but I didn’t really pay attention until “Lights.” And now “Anything Could Happen,” the first single from Goulding’s upcoming album Halcyon, is doing me right. Here’s my original review of the song, where I explain why I like it so much.
#3. “King of the World” by First Aid Kit
Like Imagine Dragons, First Aid Kit has really grown on me throughout the year. Their folk-rock music seems featherweight at first, but the more you listen, the more you hear the backbone in the lyrics and notice the surprising musical choices underneath them. I recommend their entire album The Lion’s Roar, but if you want a starter track, then it’s got to be “King of the World.” Here’s a little bit more about the band and their goodness.
#2. “Part of Me” by Katy Perry
When I ranked all of Katy Perry’s singles, I put this one at #2, just behind “Teenage Dream.” I said, “The structure of the entire song is exciting, pounding away with force in the verses, exploding in the chorus, and then pulling back in the bridge so we can catch our breath.” And that still sounds right. I can’t get enough.
#1. “We Are Young” by fun. featuring Janelle Monae
There’s a reason this song hit number one in multiple countries. There’s a reason it’s sold a squillion copies and been on the radio a kantillion times. Because it’s a spectacular piece of pop music with a chorus, in particular, that feels Big and Important. I’m sure we’ve all heard it, so let’s just reflect on how great iy is. Even if we’re burned out on it right now, I’m sure we can agree that in a year or two, we’ll be happy to have “We Are Young” around.
Mark Blankenship tweets as @IAmBlankenship. He’s wondering if any song will challenge “We Are Young” for the #1 spot on his year-end countdown.