It’s a whole new year, which means that it’s time for the music blog Said the Gramophone to compile its list of the best songs of the previous year. As I’ve written before, I generally find “best of the previous year” lists to be of little value, but Said the Gramophone’s list is one of the exceptions. As always, their tastes lean towards the indie, but they’re not too hipster to pick a pop gem (in fact, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe made the #1 slot of the list this year). Music, like life, is too large and important to look at through just one window, so any selection that’s not afraid to throw Nicki Minaj in with Rufus Wainwright, mix some Usher with Django Django, or combine Bonnie “Prince” Billy with PSY deserves some attention.
In their explanation of the list, they write:
Said the Gramophone is one of the oldest musicblogs. We try to do just two things, well:finding good songs, and writing about them. We don’t mess about with tour-dates, videos or advertising. We post new songs and old songs, write clumsy dreams of what we hear. If this is your first time here, I hope you’ll bookmark us or subscribe via RSS. You can also follow me on Twitter.
Of these 100 songs, approximately 71 are fronted by men, 29 by women. 53 acts are American, 24 are Canadian, 10 are British, 2 are Swedish, 2 are Ghanaian, 2 are French, and there is one Kiwi, one Australian, one Dane, one Korean, one Nigerian, one Chinese and one Finn. This is the way it worked out; it certainly ain’t perfect.
My favourite songs of the year do not necessarily speak to my favourite albums of the year. But if you want full-length records that are the best, the best, these were my ten in 2012: Micachu & the Shapes’ Never, Taylor Swift’s Red, Eric Chenaux’s Guitar & Voice, the Chromatics’ Kill For Love, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, James Irwin’s Western Transport, Damien Jurado’s Maraqopa, Avec pas d’casque’sAstronomie, PS I Love You’s Death Dreams and Eternal Summers’ Correct Behavior.
Some songs that you heard in 2012 may have been omitted from this tally because I heard them before this year, and included them in my Best of 2011. For example works by Gotye, TEEN, Bry Webb, Grimes and Azealia Banks.
The list isn’t just one you can read; it’s one you can listen to as well. Every song in the list has a link to someplace where you can hear it online and another link to where you can buy it. You can also download all the songs from the following locations:
These won’t be available forever, so the sooner you get these downloads, the better!