Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2012: Singles

The countdown of all things awesome and awful from the past twelve months continues with the more positive of the two. As has already been a theme throughout the end-of-year roundup, 2012's not been the greatest year musically, but the saturated singles market has actually thrown up a few gems, while a bit of digging also unearths some lesser-known treasures. Read on...

10. We Are Augustines – Philadelphia
Regular readers will know we have a penchant for a US band with a “We Are…” moniker, and thankfully, Brooklyn trio We Are Augustines haven’t broken the pattern. Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love), to give it its full title, was a warming portion of quietly-emotive, weathered indie, all heightened by Rob Allen’s intense drumwork.

9. Jay-Z & Kanye West – N****s In Paris
The very concept of hip-hop’s two biggest artists on the same record screams of an ill-advised “give away the farm” situation. But Paris is quite the opposite – the minimal, simplistic production does more than the most polished, precision-layered track ever could, and allows its stars to shine brighter than either has on their own in a long time.

8. Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do The Hump
Technically released in 2011, but before the cut-off point of last year’s list. Ugh, that sounds like some shit the Brit Awards organisers would come out with. Anyway, Mama Do The Hump proved to be the best thing Fatboy Slim has ever turned his hand to, expertly capturing the youthful, brilliantly-British fervour of Rizzle Kicks.

7. San Cisco – Beach
Representing Australia in our countdown – because frankly, Kath & Kimderella not being released in the UK yet is an utter travesty – it’s a Fremantle four-piece whose exquisite EP Beach was headed up by the hypnotic title track. Gentle, quirky indie melting into a gorgeous, aquatic burble of a chorus, it’s drummed up quite the appetite for a band who show the promise of big, big things.

6. David Guetta ft. Sia – Titanium
Titanium would’ve earned a higher place in this list had it not been sacrificed to the gods of overkill, but even then, it’s hard to detract from its good points. Guetta’s beats, often by-numbers, were harsh and haunting and hugely effective, while Sia’s truly unique vocals went to astronomical new highs on the gale-force chorus.

5. The Ghosts – Enough Time
We’ve already named The End as our favourite album of 2012, so it’s no surprise one of its singles has snuck its way in here as well. Debut single Enough Time acted as a warning that something very, very good was on the way, a pounding falsetto chorus amidst swirling electronica making for a seriously impressive track.

4. Howler – Back of Your Neck
Three minutes, eleven seconds of perfection. The gritty, unashamedly American indie-rock of Back of Your Neck was a genuine sit-up-and-pay-attention anthem, with commanding drumwork, laidback vocals, brilliantly extensive instrumentals, and best of all, absolute fuckloads of surf guitar.

3. Andy Burrows - Light The Night/Hometown
A late entry to the list, but what an entry it is. Each track on its own would warrant an entry, but as a double A-side, it’s goosebump-inducing perfection. The sensitive, stirring acoustica of Hometown and the sweeping fairytale enchantment of Light The Night mean Christmas playlists will have a much-needed dose of quality for decades to come.

2. The Vaccines – I Always Knew
Coming a very close second, The Vaccines utterly trumped all their previous material with the majestic I Always Knew. Brooding yet heroic, packed with the kind of stirring rock melodies we’d previously thought only Tim Wheeler could come up with, I Always Knew paired a very human sentiment with a superhuman aptitude for crafting an outstanding tune.

1. fun. ft Janelle Monae – We Are Young
And so we reach Number One. It's another track that’s been battered to buggery by overplay, but it was probably inevitable, given its distinctiveness and all-round brilliance. And it’s testament to what a strong song We Are Young is that it’s survived such ubiquity. While nothing on the Some Nights album came close to matching it, We Are Young was an introduction to band providing originality and a refreshing burst of heart and soul in a Top 40 almost entirely bereft of it.

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