As many of you know aside from sports, music is one of my other great passions. I love year-end music lists because they give me a chance to hear songs I missed, or forgot about, from the year. So for anyone who is interested, here is my list. Overall I’d say it was a great year for music. The closing ceremony of the London Olympics and the 12/12/12 Concert stand out. At the Olympics there was Beady Eye, the biggest stage Liam had since at least the 2007 BRITs (and probably since 1996 in all honesty). And then there was my other favourite band, 2/3s (plus touring guitarist Pat Smear) of Nirvana, reforming to play with Paul McCartney at the 12/12/12 Concert. I would have never guessed either would happen a year ago. So, what will happen in the year to come in music? And The Who, in my opinion, stole the show at both events.
Anyway, here are some songs that stood out to me in 2012. Many music lists take either all the songs from the top of the charts, or go with bands many have never heard of. I’ve tried to go somewhere in between. I’ve only songs that were released as singles in 2012 or were on an album in 2012.
Joel Plaskett – You’re Mine
Joel was one of the five or so memorable bands I saw live in 2012. His new album Scrappy Happiness is pretty good overall, and he if was better known I’d probably choose a song other than the lead single. Regardless, “You’re Mine” is a pretty decent song. “Harbour Boys” and “North Star” are also really good, for those interested.
The Tragically Hip – At Transformation
This song actually debuted on Hockey Night in Canada, remember when that show was on TV? Seems like forever ago, but it was in 2012 believe it or not. Best Hip song since the 90s for me. Here is the HNIC video for those who miss hockey.
Soundgarden – Live to Rise
Soundgarden released their first studio album since 1996 this year. Since reuniting in 2010 they’ve failed to release a poor single. While the debut single off King Animal was good, it was bested by their contribution to The Avengers Soundtrack, “Live to Rise.” With the Foo Fighters announcing a hiatus, I think Soundgarden may have become the best rock band in the world (I know, its quite subjective) in 2012.
Grace Potter – Stars
Apparently it was made “famous” by somebody on The Voice. Kind of a sad statement on popular music. For those who don’t watch that show and haven’t heard of it, its certainly worth a listen. The solo piano version does the song the most justice.
Neil Young – Psychedelic Pill
The title track off Neil Young’s second album in 2012 might just be my second favourite song by him. Ever. Crazy Horse deserve a lot of credit in this one though because the guitar and drums are top notch. The album had 9 tracks, on 2 CDs, spanning over 2 hours. Classic Neil Young in every way. It was a top 10 album in Rolling Stone’s list for 2012, so take a listen to it if you have the chance.
The Trews – Lord Keep Me in Mind
I can’t even begin to explain how much I love this band. Saw them live twice in 2012. Possibly the two best concerts I saw. Their latest effort is an EP which they are promoting by doing an acoustic across Canada tour. Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson features on a few of the songs. One of those, “Lord Keep Me in Mind”, is one of the better songs on the six song EP.
Rolling Stones – Doom and Gloom
Who knew the Stones could still write such as kickass song? Not me for sure. I was amazed the first time I heard this. Maybe not the best lyrics ever, but still a great surprise. Probably my favourite Rolling Stones song of the past thirty years.
The Sheepdogs – Feelin’ Good
The Sheepdogs are probably the best rock band in Canada. It seems like they haven’t stopped since releasing their debut single “I Don’t Know” in 2011. This song finishes the year in fourth on the Canadian rock charts, poised to move up to the top spot sometime in 2013.
The Black Keys – Little Black Submarines
This falls under one of those where I didn’t go with the highest charting song. I honestly was never the biggest Black Keys fan until I heard their two singles this year (this one and “Gold on the Ceiling”). As good as “Gold on the Ceiling” was, “Little Black Submarines” is hauntingly good. In fact it was good enough to finish top 20 on Rolling Stone’s list last year before it was even a single. “Gold on the Ceiling” made it to number one on the Canadian rock chart (if you haven’t heard it, listen to it), while this was only hit number 2 (none other than The Rolling Stones kept it from the top spot).
Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
For a band that didn’t release an album in 2012 the Monkeys sure had a great year. “R U Mine” is probably the best song by them since the Favourite Worst Nightmare days, and it shows. Released exclusively as a single for Record Store Day, it was their highest charting song since “Crying Lightning” in 2009. And to top it off they performed at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, where they covered “Come Together”. It was also released as a single and charted even higher than “R U Mine”.
Nirvana feat. Paul McCartney – Cut Me Some Slack
Despite only being released three weeks ago this song finishes at number two for three reasons. First, I never thought I’d see Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic do anything big together again. Second, its the best song Paul McCartney’s done since Helter Skelter in 1976. And third, McCartney’s cigarbox guitar he plays in it is the coolest thing in music this year. I never thought anything would top McCartney’s collaboration with Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher to do “Come Toghether” some twenty years ago. This tops it.
Blur – Under the Westway
This is another one that was released exclusively as a single. This is Blur’s first charting single since 2003 and the first with guitarist Graham Coxon since 2000. Easily their best song since 13‘s “Tender” in my opinion. Albarn and Coxon’s harmonies made that song great and they make this one great too. While many of Britain’s top acts were playing at the Olympics Closing Ceremony, Blur played an entire set at Hyde Park. It was released as Parklive and is probably one of the better albums from 2012.
And for those wondering, I’ve got more sports posts coming beginning with a couple today. Just thought I’d throw this in there for the readers of this site who love music.