The year’s coming to an end and that means it’s time for a month of selection specials where we sum up the absolute best of 2012. We’ve solicited the help of a number of our favourite music buffs and asked them to mix and send their 25 best-loved tracks of the year. After Belgian DJ Jazz Neversleeps, it’s time for Disco Naïveté‘s, music blogger and beloved Word contributor, who has kindly been sharing his best new music selection over the past few months. Scroll down for a listen. It’s lots of fun, and true to Disco Naïveté form, unashamedly poppy….
1 Jessie Ware : Wildest Moments (Island/PMR)
“Baby in our wildest moments, we can be the greatest” – Jessie Ware, you will always be the greatest. Most important newcomer of 2012, hands down. Jessie Ware will always be in fashion, she’s like our generation’s Sade but with her own smooth and pop-structured sound.
2 Mykki Blanco: Wavvy (UNO NYC)
This one is quite the jam already, but if you watch the dragqueen-at-an-orgy video that goes along with it you get the full Mykki Blanco experience. Getting’ wavvy with Ms. Blanco, now that’s my idea of a fun night.
3 Frank Ocean: Lost (Def Jam)
Frank Ocean was destined to become a big star in 2012 and that’s exactly what has happened. Apart from releasing his biggest secret (he’s gay, in case you didn’t know), he’s also released an album that highlights his talent as a singer-songwriter. The up-tempo Lost is just one of the many gems on his channel, ORANGE.
4 Chairlift: Sidewalk Safari (Young Turks)
The rhythm, the fun vibes, the 360° video, the pop allure – Chairlift’s “Sidewalk Safari” has it all. Taken from the band’s latest record Something, which is quite something, if you ask me.
5 How To Dress Well: Cold Nites (Weird World)
How To Dress Well shares a glimpse of his soul with the listener on his sophomore record, Total Loss. His new songs have a more poetic and magical vibe to them, and Cold Nites is just one of the many examples of HTDW’s step to a more hi-fi yet still very emotionally heavy sound.
6 D E N A: Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools (self-released)
D E N A is some sort of mainland European answer to MC’s like M.I.A., Azealia Banks and the likes – basically our own white Missy Elliott. Her infectious “Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools” (along with the hi-la-rious video) soundtracked our summer of 2012. A great song to sing along to in the shower.
7 The Neighbourhood: Sweater Weather (self-released)
“It’s too coooo-ho-ho-old” sing five-piece The Neighbourhood right before they throw on a jumper and come up with the rather witty “sweater weather.” A mix of hip-hop and rock slightly reminiscent of Maroon 5, yet for sure one of the most exciting and discussed acts of 2012.
8 Haim: Forever (National Anthem/Neon Gold)
Finally someone was brave enough to mix rock, pop and R&B, and it doesn’t even sound like a complete mess. The fact that Haim are three sisters who grew up on stage playing 80’s rock covers with their parents makes them all that, plus a lil’ bit cute, but don’t be fooled by their glossy looks: these girls can rock.
9 Kendrick Lamar: Money Trees (feat. Jay Rock) (TopDawg)
10 Major Lazer: Get Free (ft. Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors) (Mad Decent)
Get Free is probably the most non-Major Lazer song ever released, yet it’s probably also the best one so far. Amber Coffman’s angelic voice over a wobbly beat, why hadn’t anyone thought of it before?!
11 Grimes: Genesis (4AD)
It’s practically impossible not to dance to Grimes’ Genesis; it’s such a infectious mix that hangs in the balance somewhere between electropop and weird. It comes with a stellar video (featuring Brooke Candy, who is quite the figure if you ask me) that’s just as wicked as the song itself.
12 Atoms For Peace: Default (XL)
Thom Yorke proves he is capable of more than ‘just’ Radiohead with this new project of his, named after one of the songs on his solo record. Beats never sounded so pure – and his voice compliments this electronic sound surprisingly well.
13 Little Boots: Every Night I Say A Prayer (679)
Little Boots takes 80’s disco out of the closet and puts it in a contemporary jacket with Every Night I Say A Prayer, a track that’s both club- and chart-friendly. She’s come a long way since the playful Meddle, and yet hasn’t lost her sense for brilliant song-writing. Can’t wait to hear what else she’s got up her sleeve.
14 Jai Paul: Jasmine (XL)
Jai Paul only released one song in 2012, yet it’s in our list of favourite songs of the year – and whenever his long-awaited drops, I’ll just give you the tracklist off that in case you need another ‘best of’ list. This guy is the future but bathes himselves in mystery, and I’ll gladly wait another year for a track like this cause I know it will be worth it.
15 Lana Del Rey: Gods & Monsters (Universal)
“In the land of gods & monsters, I was an angel… looking to get fucked hard.” Lana is a bad girl in Gods & Monsters off the Paradise Edition of Born To Die, lyrically one of her strongest tracks to date. Such a cinematic vibe, this might as well be the song that plays in my head when the world comes to an end.
16 Cat Power: Manhattan (Matador)
If Manhattan is as pretty as Cat Power’s ode to it, I want to get lost in it for the rest of my life. It’s a slow yet danceable song, and the neighbourhood cats like it, too, and often dance along.
17 Fiona Apple: Anything You Want (Epic)
Fiona Apple’s return to music has been a magistral one: it feels both nostalgic and current at the same time, and I’ve had it on repeat for months and still enjoy it very much. It’s a classic. Heard a rumour “Anything You Want” samples sounds from a bottle factory of some sort, but I think I’d love it even without the story to back it up.
18 Beach House: Lazuli (Sub Pop/Bella Union)
Beach House, the undisputed king and queen of dream pop strike once again with Bloom. Teen Dream was an emotional massacre for me, personally, and while I didn’t need a box of tissues for Bloom, I still think it’s a very pretty record with some very pretty songs.
19 Cold Specks: Hector (Mute)
Cold Specks is our generations’s Nico, but her smokey voice suggests she comes from the same generation – she’s in her 20s but her ‘doom soul’ speaks to the imagination of everyone aged from zero till infinity. ‘Hector’ is one of the few songs on her debut ‘I Predict A Graceful Expulsion’ that comes with drums, and maybe that’s why it stands out a bit from all the other gems.
20 Carly Rae Jepsen: Call Me Maybe (Universal)
2012 wouldn’t have been 2012 without Call Me Maybe (and the many parodies it inspired). For a second it seemed pop was saved, because Call Me Maybe had the most incredible hooks and production I had heard in a long time. Alas, pop wasn’t saved (just look at the charts), but I kept on listening to Call Me Maybe anyway.
21 Bat for Lashes: Laura (Parlophone/EMI)
Co-written by Justin Parker, one of our favorite new songwriters, Bat For Lashes couldn’t have chosen for a better come-back single (it’s been almost three years since Two Suns, and I was kind of losing hope for a new record). Ballads have never sounded more beautiful, plus it’s nice to see this romantic, more mature side of Bat For Lashes.
22 Rhye: Open (Innovative Leisure/Polydor)
Rhye sound like a very romantic kind of sex: delicate, emotional and yet fulfilling. The NSFWvideo for Open might have something to do with the connotation – just listen to it and you’ll hear what I mean. Simply beautiful.
23 Eddi Front: Gigantic (self-released)
“This divorce is gigantic” sings Eddi Front, “and I’ve always been slow to get off some drugs, to let go of some loves.” Taken from her self-titled debut EP, a delicate collection of heartbreaking gems, it’s one of those few tracks that makes time actually stand still.
24 Howl: Leo Johnson (self-released via Teen Suicide Cult)
This kid is only about 16. The Twin Peaks-theme that invades the final bit of the song brings a kind of an anti-seriousness to what is an otherwise very serious and striking track. It’s as much ambient as it’s guitar-based, yet beautiful in a way that grabs you and leaves you wandering around in your own thoughts.
25 MONEY: Goodnight London (self-released)
Instant goosebumps whenever I hear the first notes of MONEY’s Goodnight London, every single time. A band to keep an eye on in 2013, as they’ll win over everyone’s hearts just like they’ve won mine. “And every boy I’ve ever loved…” Beautiful words, cut short.