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Music

Staff Picks: Best Songs, Albums And Concerts Of 2012

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By: Chris D’Alessandro

1. Mother Mother – “Let’s Fall in Love”

What seems to be Mother Mother’s darkly adaptation of “Let’s do it” (a song that’s apparently been covered and adapted dozens of times since it’s first appearance in the late 1920s) sticks out like a sore thumb as a contender for best song of the year.

This song just screams soundtrack to summer 2012 with it’s dark, flowing bass and hard-pounding kick-drums.

In addition, it has this great effect, where you for just a minute when it comes on the radio, you think, “Wait a minute, is the song from “Midnight in Paris?” But of course it isn’t.

 

2. The Shins – “Rifle’s Spiral”

I first overheard this Shins tune in a retail store and I didn’t think much of it. But after a while, it just sort of dug its way under my skin. The song has this great kick off of pounding drums and keyboard melody that just immediately hooks you. This is the song that got me interested in what The Shins were doing.

 

3. Cancer Bats – “Road Sick”

If you’ve ever asked yourself what a love song from the road would sound like if it were done in ‘scream-o’ fashion this is it. I like music that has punch to it (seriously, that’s how I would sum-up my musical taste) and this tune has just it in spades. That isn’t really a debatable reason why it’s any good, but sometimes you just need some rip-roaring, in-your-face kind of music and this is the perfect kick-ass song to drive home from work to.

 

4. Jack White – “Love Interruption”

The first single from former White Stripes frontman Jack White’s debut solo album Blunderbuss is simple, deep and pure. This is really Jack White at his best. Better than the phenomenal back-up singing and genius (yet again, also simple) use of piano are the lyrics. You can sit and think about them for hours.

 

5.  Metric – “Youth without Youth”

Initially, I wasn’t too thrilled when “Youth without Youth” was released as Synthetica’s first single, but this one just grew on me. The song’s main riff, which carries throughout the song has an infectious, head-bobbing chemical to it.  It does literally make you want to jump (even if Emily Haines wasn’t telling you to).

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By: Calum Slingerland

1. Frank Ocean – “Sweet Life” 

I couldn’t stop listening to this track for many reasons. First off, it’s just too much of a feel-good, happy song to NOT listen to. Secondly, I was on a huge Stevie Wonder kick when I first heard it, and it’s as if Frank is channeling his inner Stevie on this one. The only way I can describe this track is with the words “feel good.” Trust me on this one, you will feel good upon hearing it.

 

2. Death Grips – “Get Got”

With its absolutely manic synth samples and pounding drums, “Get Got” shows Death Grips frontman MC Ride in a more calm state than usual, effortlessly rapping over the chaotic instrumental as opposed to his normal, aggressive yelling. A wonderful opening to a game-changing album, “Get Got” sets the tone early for the rest of the madness contained on “The Money Store.”

 

3. Rush – “Headlong Flight” 

What a wonderful surprise from the Toronto trio! Simply put, this is an old-school Rush track in a new, updated package. Long in duration? Check. Ripping guitar solo from Alex Lifeson? Check. Geddy Lee wailing on the mic? Check. Jaw-dropping drumming from Neil Peart? Check. Rush prove over the seven minute song that age isn’t slowing them down yet, and that they are still capable of producing tracks that will only continue to build their “rock royalty” status.

 

4. Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools (Drank)”

An examination of people’s obsession with alcohol through song, Kendrick Lamar puts his unique brand of storytelling on display here, featuring some internal monologue on his own usage and peer pressure with the substance. The ethereal instrumental work is also quite wonderful, how about that string section?

 

5. Jack White – “Sixtine Saltines”

A straight-up, power packed rocker from Jack White, easily sounding like something he could’ve done in his days with The White Stripes. However, those times have come and gone, and “Sixteen Saltines” and the rest of the tracks on Blunderbuss usher in a new era of music making for one of the busiest men in the business. The riff is so blindingly simplistic, but yet so effective.

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