To accompany my top ten albums of 2012, here are my top ten tracks of the last year. From older acts like Blur to the brand spanking new Palma Violets, listen to the ten tracks below. Watch out for a couple of surprise appearances....
10. Frankie & The Heartstrings – 'I Still Follow You'
Not strictly a single, but excellent nonetheless, this was a joy to hear as a taster of what to expect from the Heartstrings come 2013. As fun as everything else they’ve ever made, I’m still annoying everyone I know by singing it (and have been for at least a month, sorry). Part of their sessions with Bernard Butler, I for one am pretty excited for their new album. It’s okay to love a song right?
9. The xx – Angels
After not allowing myself to be swept into the first wave of The xx hype, 'Angels' knocked my socks clean off. A wondrously sparse, haunting love song that has rightly replaced Adele as the go-to soundtrack form romantic moments in TV love scenes. I can live with that.
8. Blur – 'Under The Westway'
I was always a Blur fan in the Britpop wars (and I was about 5) and this year my love was justified. A piano ballad that is up their with their best, Albarn’s dedication to London never comes across as a preaching love for the simpler things in the city, more like a proud city man in the place he belongs. You can never picture a London without Blur, and this love song just sounds it all off nicely.
7. Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
A one-off stop gap single from the boys and a look on what possibly to come on album number 5. Emphasis is placed on guitars here rather than the crooning melodies we saw on 'Suck It And See', this 'Thunderbirds' referencing track hints at heavier things to come. I also take back every bad comment I have ever made about Matt Helders vocals, the falsetto on display here from him here is something pretty special.
6. Girls Aloud – 'Something New'
Thank God that Girls Aloud are back. This, their first track is three years, is probably up there as one of their best. Catchy, danceable, it’s an incredible progression from their earlier tracks, combining the classic Girls Aloud sound with the girls own individual solo styles to create Girls Aloud 2.0.
5. The Maccabees – 'Pelican'
2012 was the year of The Maccabees. The highlight of the utterly perfect 'Given To The Wild' was the lead single 'Pelican'. Lilting beauty in only a way that The Maccabees can manage, this really is something special. No one else could ever do this justice (take heed performers, don’t touch this in the Live Lounge).
4. The Cribs – 'Chi-Town'
Returning to a threesome after the departure of Johnny Marr has done the brothers Jarman a world of good, with both 'Chi-Town' and 'In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull' sounding like a band revitalised. 'Chi-Town' harks back to the early days of the band, managing to sound chaotic and beautiful at the same time.
3. Palma Violets – 'Best Of Friends'
The only new band to make this list, with the rise of the guitar band apparently happening again this could well be set to change next year. 'Best Of Friends' is a definite stand out track with hooks left, right and centre and an incredibly catchy chorus. A little bit ramshackle, a whole lot of good, something pretty incredible.
2. The Vaccines – 'I Always Knew'
Probably the best song written by a drummer since the heady days of Razorlight, this ode is filled with some of the most frank lyrics I’ve heard all year, especially in “So let’s go to bed before you say something real, Let’s go to bed before you say how you feel”. Honest, a little bit brutal, and probably the best thing The Vaccines have produced.
1. Taylor Swift – 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'
Whether it was Swifty convincing us that she’ll never get back with him, or her own attempts to convince herself that she shouldn’t do it we’ll never know, but this situation provided us with one of the best pop songs ever written. Catchy, utterly unforgettable and absolutely everywhere, it’s possibly 2012’s answer to Girl Power.
Listen to the ten tracks on YouTube or in the embed above.