top song obsessions of 2012

December 27th, 2012

The Lumineers, seen here at Cafe 939 in April, really caught my ear this year

Song obsessions are those songs that your brain picks for you, those ear worms that get stuck in your head and have you singing them to yourself or going back to hit repeat on your ipod. I like the idea of reporting what my brain got stuck on each year, rather than picking a list of song I think are the ‘best’. Here’s the list of the songs that were stuck in my head the most in 2012.

If you want to read through past years’ lists, here are my top song obsessions from 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.

  1. The Lumineers – Ho Hey (mp3) (buy)
    The Lumineers – Slow It Down (mp3) (download it with subscription)

    “Slow it Down” by The Lumineers from Look Sessions on Vimeo.

    The Lumineers hit me with a double shot this year. Early on Natalie’s obsession with “Slow It Down” got me turned onto this video, which was one I watched dozens of times; later, I got into the rest of the album and the obvious ear-catcher is “Ho Hey”. Both songs employ great dynamics and melodies, but there’s also something honest and straight-forward about them. (Funny enough I’ve been singing “I belong with you// You belong with me// In my sweet home” to myself for months only to just find that those aren’t the right lyrics at all).

  2. Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (mp3) (buy)

    Of Monsters and Men took a long time for me to get into. I gave them a listen in March and thought they were sort of a more Icelandic version of the Stars. This song struck me a bit in May but this album really hit me in August/ September when I was spent five days driving around Iceland. These songs really go well with landscapes like this. We probably listened to the album a dozen times in those five days, each time settling into the songs more, ratcheting up my enthusiasm for the band, driving the musical hooks deeper into my brain.

  3. Tyler Lyle – I’ll Sing You a Song (mp3) (buy)

    There’s something very sincere and earnest about Tyler Lyle that takes some getting used to, I think. He writes songs that come to you already familiar, like something your songwriter friend wrote, that he played for you as he worked on it during evenings of hanging out. This is particularly true of “I’ll Sing You a Song”. I searched for hours trying to figure out why it sounds familiar, but I couldn’t find any source. Maybe that’s just it: a good melody will always sound familiar.

  4. Kishi Bashi – Bright Whites (mp3) (buy)

    I got introduced to Kishi Bashi through Dave’s song obsession in July. He had good, good reason for being obsessed with this song. Have you heard it? I want to Godzilla dance–I made this up–to the beginning and then attempt to sing along to the rest. It’s a few minutes of layered pop genius that plays like a less frenetic, more accessible Shugo Tokumaru.

  5. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe (mp3) (buy)

    I’ve always said my song obsessions aren’t about me picking songs but about which songs get stuck in my head. It’s not really me picking songs, but reporting which songs I’m already obsessed with. That said, here’s this song. It’s not exactly my type of music at all, so it’s hard to say why I got obsessed with it. Maybe it was all the cute sing-along videos that popped up over the summer. Maybe it was the catchy melody and that silly-but-amazing line “Before you came into my life// I missed you so bad.” Or maybe it was that the song is not an assertive command (“Call Me.”) but has some doubt or indifference in it (depending on your reading) that has some charm to it.

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