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“What really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films — these things matter.”
— High Fidelity

Etcetera

Best Songs of 2012

2012 was the second year I put together a 100-song mix featuring my favorite songs of the year. Five years later, this remixed version is only slightly so. I lost only half a dozen songs from that list, replacing them with ones I found in the years following 2012. I also reshuffled the order (in groups, mostly) of a bunch of tracks, to better integrate the new ones, and to smooth out some rough edges in my original mix.

It makes sense that I would reexamine 2012, considering my original Best of was thrown together somewhat hastily. 2012, was, after all, a year in which I listened to no new music until December, the result of a yearlong experiment in musical listening wherein I began the year by playing my oldest song, 1930’s “Walk Right In” by Cannon’s Jug Stompers, and proceeded forward in time, all the way to the year 2012.

It was an exhausting, if life-changing experience, that year of chronological listening. It certainly reframed the way I listened to and thought about music, so much so that a year later, I began this comprehensive list-making project in earnest.

Along the way through that year, I did in fact listen to “new” music, so long as it was new to me. Specifically it had to be something released before or during whatever year I happened to be living in at that time. This allowed me to discover (and eventually acquire) a lot of music I had otherwise missed or ignored. So it’s fitting that I have taken a new approach to this particular mix in the five years since I first created it. There is, after all, perpetually new music to discover, even when that music could be classified as old.

For these year-end lists, I like to undertake the seemingly impossibly task of creating an hours-long mix. The order you see below represents that effort, which you can listen to via Spotify. Sadly all 100 tracks aren't available—just 2 shy of complete!—but you get the general idea. Track notes to come eventually or maybe never.

  1. Celebration Rock

    The House That Heaven Built

    Japandroids

    Celebration Rock

    Polyvinyl

    Notes

  2. Local Business

    In a Big City

    Titus Andronicus

    Local Business

    XL Recordings

    Notes

  3. Attack on Memory

    Stay Useless

    Cloud Nothings

    Attack on Memory

    Carpark

    Notes

  4. A Thing Called Divine Fits

    Like Ice Cream

    Divine Fits

    A Thing Called Divine Fits

    Merge

    Notes

  5. Milk Famous

    Everyone Can’t Be Confused

    White Rabbits

    Milk Famous

    TBD

    Notes

  6. King Animal

    A Thousand Days Before

    Soundgarden

    King Animal

    Four Seven

    Notes

  7. Lonerism

    Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

    Tame Impala

    Lonerism

    Modular

    Notes

  8. Fragrant World

    Henrietta

    Yeasayer

    Fragrant World

    Secretly Canadian

    Notes

  9. The Lateness of the Hour

    Too Close

    Alex Clare

    The Lateness of the Hour

    Universal

    Notes

  10. An Awesome Wave

    Dissolve Me

    Alt-J

    An Awesome Wave

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  11. Shields

    Yet Again

    Grizzly Bear

    Shields

    Warp

    Notes

  12. Sun

    Manhattan

    Cat Power

    Sun

    Matador

    Notes

  13. Just Tell Me That You Want Me

    Dreams

    The Kills

    Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

    Hear Music

    Notes

  14. End of Daze

    Lord Knows

    Dum Dum Girls

    End of Daze

    Sub Pop

    Notes

  15. Tramp

    We Are Fine

    Sharon Van Etten featuring Zach Condon

    Tramp

    Jagjaguwar

    Notes

  16. Maraqopa

    Museum of Flight

    Damien Jurado

    Maraqopa

    Secretly Canadian

    Notes

  17. Home Again

    I’m Getting Ready

    Michael Kiwanuka

    Home Again

    Interscope

    Notes

  18. Just Tell Me That You Want Me

    Landslide

    Antony

    Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

    Hear Music

    Notes

  19. Acts

    Cherries in the Snow

    RNDM

    Acts

    Monkey Wrench

    Notes

  20. There's No Leaving Now

    Leading Me Now

    The Tallest Man on Earth

    There’s No Leaving Now

    Dead Oceans

    Notes

  21. A Wasteland Companion

    The First Time I Ran Away

    M. Ward

    A Wasteland Companion

    Merge

    Notes

  22. Cynic's New Year

    Last Waltz

    Horse Feathers

    Cynic’s New Year

    Kill Rock Stars

    Notes

  23. Break It Yourself

    Orpheo Looks Back

    Andrew Bird

    Break It Yourself

    Mom and Pop

    Notes

  24. New Multitudes

    No Fear

    New Multitudes

    New Multitudes

    Rounder

    Notes

  25. Looking for a Sign

    Looking for a Sign

    Beck

    Looking for a Sign

    Iliad

    Notes

  26. Now Here's My Plan

    I See a Darkness

    Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

    Now Here’s My Plan

    101

    Notes

  27. Traveling Alone

    To Myself

    Tift Merritt

    Traveling Alone

    Yep Roc

    Notes

  28. Voyageur

    Sidecar

    Kathleen Edwards

    Voyageur

    Zoe

    Notes

  29. I Like to Keep Myself in Pain

    Plant White Roses

    Kelly Hogan

    I Like to Keep Myself in Pain

    Anti

    Notes

  30. The Hunger Games

    Nothing to Remember

    Neko Case

    The Hunger Games

    Republic

    Notes

  31. The Idler Wheel

    Hot Knife

    Fiona Apple

    The Idler Wheel

    Epic

    Notes

  32. The Cherry Thing

    Dream Baby Dream

    Neneh Cherry & The Thing

    The Cherry Thing

    Smalltown 12

    Notes

  33. Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

    Descending

    Big Boi featuring Little Dragon

    Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

    Def Jam

    Notes

  34. le voyage dans la lune

    Seven Stars

    Air

    le voyage dans la lune

    Astralwerks

    Notes

  35. Animal Joy

    You As You Were

    Shearwater

    Animal Joy

    Animal Joy

    Notes

  36. Delta Spirit

    Tear It Up

    Delta Spirit

    Delta Spirit

    New Rounder

    Notes

  37. History Speaks

    NWO

    Deep Sea Diver

    History Speaks

    self-released

    Notes

  38. Time Capsules II

    Away Frm U

    Oberhofer

    Time Capsules II

    Glassnote

    Notes

  39. Are You Ready?

    Are You Ready?

    Luscious Jackson

    Are You Ready?

    self-released

    Notes

  40. Master of My Make Believe

    Disparate Youth

    Santigold

    Master of My Make Believe

    Atlantic

    Notes

  41. Believe

    Boyfriend

    Justin Bieber

    Believe

    Island

    Notes

  42. Looking 4 Myself

    Climax

    Usher

    Looking 4 Myself

    RCA

    Notes

  43. Kaleidoscope Dream

    Adorn

    Miguel

    Kaleidoscope Dream

    RCA

    Notes

  44. channel ORANGE

    Pink Matter

    Frank Ocean featuring Andre 3000

    channel ORANGE

    Def Jam

    Notes

  45. awE naturalE

    QueenS

    THEESatisfaction

    awE naturalE

    Sub Pop

    Notes

  46. Shrines

    Fineshrine

    Purity Ring

    Shrines

    4AD

    Notes

  47. Prophet

    Spore

    Ramona Falls

    Prophet

    Barsuk

    Notes

  48. Moms

    Capsule

    Menomena

    Moms

    Barsuk

    Notes

  49. Habits & Conditions

    There He Go

    Schoolboy Q

    Habits & Condtradictions

    Top Dawg

    Notes

  50. The Heist

    White Walls

    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Schoolboy Q & Hollis

    The Heist

    self-released

    Notes

  51. The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle

    I Wonder Who She’s Kissing Now

    TV Girl

    The Wild, The Innocent, The TV Shuffle

    self-released

    Notes

  52. Gossamer

    I’ll Be Alright

    Passion Pit

    Gossamer

    Columbia

    Notes

  53. Shall Go

    Hold the Faith

    Todd Edwards

    Shall Go

    Body High

    Notes

  54. So Good to Me

    So Good to Me

    Chris Malinchak

    So Good to Me

    French Express

    Notes

  55. Salton Sea

    November Skies

    Tomas Barfod featuring Nina Kinert

    Salton Sea

    FoF Music

    Notes

  56. The Mother We Share

    The Mother We Share

    Chvrches

    The Mother We Share

    Create Control

    Notes

  57. Mixed Emotions

    All of Me

    Tanlines

    Mixed Emotions

    True Panther Sounds

    Notes

  58. The North

    Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It

    Stars

    The North

    ATO

    Notes

  59. Beware and Be Grateful

    Fever

    Maps & Atlases

    Beware and Be Grateful

    Barsuk

    Notes

  60. Swing Lo Magellan

    Just From Chevron

    Dirty Projectors

    Swing Lo Magellan

    Domino

    Notes

  61. Strange Land

    Marathon Runner

    Yellow Ostrich

    Strange Land

    Barsuk

    Notes

  62. Tall Shadows / Honey Eyed

    Tall Shadows

    World’s Most

    Tall Shadows/Honey Eyed

    self-released

    Notes

  63. Negotiations

    October

    The Helio Sequence

    Negotiations

    Sub Pop

    Notes

  64. Nocturne

    Only Heather

    Wild Nothing

    Nocturne

    Captured Tracks

    Notes

  65. Oshin

    How Long Have You Known?

    DIIV

    Oshin

    Captured Tracks

    Notes

  66. Falling

    Prove to Me

    Seapony

    Falling

    Hardly Art

    Notes

  67. American Weekend

    Be Good

    Waxahatchee

    American Weekend

    Don Giovanni

    Notes

  68. Europe

    Capricornia

    Allo Darlin’

    Europe

    Slumberland

    Notes

  69. Former Lives

    A Hard One to Know

    Benjamin Gibbard

    Former Lives

    Barsuk

    Notes

  70. Longtime Companion

    Pretend You Love Me

    Sonny & The Sunsets

    Longtime Companion

    Polyvinyl

    Notes

  71. The Lion's Roar

    King of the World

    First Aid Kit featuring Conor Oberst

    The Lion’s Roar

    Wichita

    Notes

  72. Blunderbuss

    Blunderbuss

    Jack White

    Blunderbuss

    Third Man

    Notes

  73. Be the Void

    Lonesome

    Dr. Dog

    Be the Void

    Anti

    Notes

  74. Our House on the Hill

    Get Lost

    The Babies

    Our House on the Hill

    Woodsist

    Notes

  75. Heaven

    The Love You Love

    The Walkmen

    Heaven

    Fat Possum

    Notes

  76. Boys & Girls

    Be Mine

    Alabama Shakes

    Boys & Girls

    ATO

    Notes

  77. Locked Down

    God’s Sure Good

    Dr. John

    Locked Down

    Nonesuch

    Notes

  78. Faithful Man

    Wish You Were Here

    Lee Fields & The Expressions

    Faithful Man

    Truth & Soul

    Notes

  79. Django Unchained

    Who Did That to You

    John Legend

    Django Unchained

    Republic

    Notes

  80. The Bravest Man in the Universe

    Please Forgive My Heart

    Bobby Womack

    The Bravest Man in the Universe

    XL Recordings

    Notes

  81. good kid, m.A.A.d city

    Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

    Kendrick Lamar

    good kid, m.A.A.d city

    Top Dawg

    Notes

  82. Broken Sunlight

    Don’t Play Around

    DJ Nu-Mark featuring Aloe Blacc & Charles Bradley

    Broken Sunlight

    Hot Plate

    Notes

  83. Little Broken Hearts

    Say Goodbye

    Norah Jones

    Little Broken Hearts

    Blue Note

    Notes

  84. Get Free

    Get Free

    Major Lazer featuring Amber Coffman

    Get Free

    Downtown

    Notes

  85. Warrior

    Die Young

    Ke$ha

    Warrior

    RCA

    Notes

  86. Kiss

    Call Me Maybe

    Carly Rae Jepsen

    Kiss

    Interscope

    Notes

  87. Something

    I Belong in Your Arms

    Chairlift

    Something

    Kanine

    Notes

  88. Iconic EP

    I Love It

    Icona Pop

    Iconic EP

    Big Beat/Atlantic

    Notes

  89. Confess

    Five Seconds

    Twin Shadow

    Confess

    4AD

    Notes

  90. Ghost EP

    Everything Is Embarrassing

    Sky Ferreira

    Ghost EP

    Capitol

    Notes

  91. True

    Losing You

    Solange

    True

    Terrible Records

    Notes

  92. The Palace Garden

    Further Out

    Beat Connection

    The Palace Garden

    self-released

    Notes

  93. Walkability

    Important

    Way Yes

    Walkability

    Lefse

    Notes

  94. A Different Ship

    How Do I Know

    Here We Go Magic

    A Different Ship

    Secretly Canadian

    Notes

  95. Port of Morrow

    No Way Down

    The Shins

    Port of Morrow

    Columbia

    Notes

  96. Lonesome Dreams

    Time to Run

    Lord Huron

    Lonesome Dreams

    I Am Sound

    Notes

  97. Days Into Years

    Northern Air

    Elliott Brood

    Days Into Years

    Paper Bag

    Notes

  98. Muscle for the Wing

    Sallie May

    The Maldives

    Muscle for the Wing

    Spark & Shine

    Notes

  99. The Lumineers

    Ho Hey

    The Lumineers

    The Lumineers

    Dualtone

    Notes

  100. Fear Fun

    Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

    Father John Misty

    Fear Fun

    Sub Pop

    Notes