This is the third and final installment of my “countdown” of favorite songs from 2012. However, as I noted in Part 1, this is not a numerical countdown. Instead, I have selected a song representing each letter of the alphabet. In this post, I’ll be covering S through Z and including a bonus song with a numerical title. If you missed the earlier installments, you can find A-I in Part 1 and J-R in Part 2.
The songs I selected represent some of my favorite musical memories of 2012. You can hear my 2012 A2Z playlist on Spotify.
S – Springsteen – Eric Church
The lone contemporary country song on this list is a nostalgia tune with the singer remembering teenage years influenced by Bruce Springsteen. 2012 found me attending my 25th high school reunion, so this song settled easily into my personal playlist as the summer moved into fall. I could have picked almost any song from Eric Church’s Chief album for my list, but this one seems to best represent the nostalgic feeling of the year.
T – Testify – Alan Doyle (feat. Colin James)
Alan Doyle is a member of Great Big Sea, one of my favorite bands of the past decade. This solo effort from Doyle was a fun musical treat while Ruth and I make plans to finally see Great Big Sea live in 2013.
U – Unsung – Brett Anderson
The album and music was new, but the sound and emotions of the songs took me back to my college days in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Later, I learned that Brett Anderson was a singer for the ‘90s British alternative rockers Suede, so the sense memories of an earlier era began to make more sense. As a college radio dj in the ‘90s I had played music by Suede (or The London Suede as they were called in the US) frequently.
V – Video Games – Lana Del Ray
I missed Lana Del Ray’s infamous appearance on Saturday Night Live, but I had already been mesmerized by this song since I first heard it playing over the sound system at the Bijou Theatre while waiting for a concert by another artist to begin.
W – When I Write My Master’s Thesis – John K. Samson
It’s only a coincidence that the next song after Lana Del Ray’s Video Games opens up with a slacker describing his day of playing video games. This song’s sly sense of humor appealed to me and I find myself identifying with and rooting for the song’s rudderless protagonist.
X – X-Rays – Gomez
Thanks to Gomez for thoughtfully providing an X song for me. While Gomez has apparently been around for some time, they were new to me in 2012 as I explored more music via services such as Slacker Radio, Turntable.fm and Spotify.
Y – Your Love (All That I’m Missing) – J.D. McPherson
Once again, I could have probably chosen any song from J.D. McPherson’s album to include on this list, but the imagery in this song’s lyrics were some of my favorites from the year. This album was a fantastic bit of retro roots fun. The only thing it was missing was the fuzzy hiss of the needle on vinyl coming through my speakers.
Z – Zou Bisou Bisou – Gillian Hills
While all the other songs on the list were released in 2011 or 2012, this song reached its 52nd birthday in 2012. While it may seem a bit of a cheat to include this bit of French pop on my list of influential songs of 2012, I will point out that it returned to the public eye in a big way when it was featured in the season premiere of Mad Men, one of my favorite television shows. I even blogged about the song earlier in 2012 and basically drove my friends and family nuts during the year by singing or humming the tune for weeks on end.
# – 1904 – The Tallest Man on Earth
The guitar work is what first captured my attention and then I was ensnared by the lyrics. I’ve seen references to Kristian Matsson (aka The Tallest Man on Earth) as Sweden’s Bob Dylan. Whether that turns out to be true or not is best left to history. But Mattson’s lyrics provide just enough room for each of us to add our own meaning. The title apparently references a 1904 earthquake in Sweden, but Mattson leaves the song’s real message to our own thoughts.
And that, my friends, is a fairly decent representation of how 2012 sounded to me, thoughtfully arranged for you in alphabetical order. You can hear my entire 2012 A2Z Playlist on Spotify.
Best wishes to you for a musically entertaining 2013.