I wonder how many songs I listened to this year. Thing is, despite using multiple tools to track what I listen to and how often I do so, I purge so many tracks after sampling them a time or two, that I would imagine the majority of the songs I screen are buried deep in a virtual pit of 1s and 0s. So there’s no real way of knowing exactly how many individual tracks I listened to over the past 12 months.

Which means, I guess, it takes a lot to impress me and not get relegated to my digital trash heap. This year was full of epic singles and fantastic albums that comforted me, helped me pass time, and served as a soundtrack to the events of my 2012.

I always like to look at my favorites list and see if there were any trends for the year. Based on the 20 songs I’ve selected for 2012, it was a year that rocked. It was a year that fell heavily under the influence of the 1980s. It was a year full of dream pop. And it was a year in which women pleased me more than they’ve pleased me in the past1. Ten of the 20 songs feature women on vocals, and an 11th is by a group that has male-female co-lead singers; it just happens to be one of the guy’s songs. To put that in perspective, only once in the last seven years, the years I’ve posted my year-end favorites, have female artists had more than five of my top 20/25 songs.2

So here is the raw list of my favorite songs of 2012. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing them individually, with videos (when available) and longer comments on why I loved them.

20 – “Star Machine” – Bob Mould
19 – “October” – The Helio Sequence
18 – “Peacemaker” – Jesca Hoop
17 – “Goundhog Day” – Corin Tucker Band
16 – “Lafaye” – School Of Seven Bells
15 – “Answering Machine” – Scout
14 – “You Kill” – Eternal Summers
13 – “Capricornia” – Allo, Darlin’
12 – “Broken Arrows” – Francisco The Man
11 – “State Hospital” – Frightened Rabbit
10 – “Watch The Corners” – Dinosaur Jr
9 – Sixteen Saltines” – Jack White
8 – “Wrist Rocket” – Wussy
7 – “Endless Shore” – Melody’s Echo Chamber
6 – “The Rifle’s Spiral” – The Shins
5 – “Sinful Nature” – Bear In Heaven
4 – “Serpents” – Sharon Van Etten
3 – “Myth” – Beach House
2 – “Season In Hell” – Dum Dum Girls
1 – “The House That Heaven Built” – Japandroids

  1. Holy double entendre! 
  2. I’ve varied the amount over the years, although 20 is the most common number.