2012 was a crappy year all around, save for the music scene. In 2012, we saw folk-pop rise up in a big way. Bands like The Lumineers, Imagine Dragons and Of Monsters and Men saw great success, while pop music "went big or went home" with such acts as fun. and Psy. (Side note: The latter has announced that he is retiring monster hit "Gangnam Style" in the United States, as it has become "too popular.")
With that being said, in no particular order, here are ten of the best mainstream songs of 2012:
Maroon 5 - "One More Night"
Sure, "Payphone" was a hit, but Maroon 5's "One More Night"'s catchy "Doo woop ep ep, do do do dooo" hook will be stuck in your head for days. While a majority of "Overexposed" sounds less like their old stuff and more like an attempt on frontman Levine's part to cater to the demographic of his television show "The Voice", "One More Night" was a welcome addition to the airwaves and is one of the more prominent songs on the album.
Muse - "Madness"
Muse has been credited with putting on one helluva live show, and this song must be incredible in concert. To paraphrase a famous quote, "if this song is madness, then I don't want to be sane." Songs like these become so household that they often change the vernacular. You'll be tacking a few "muh, muh, muh"'s onto the end of your "madness"es for months to come.
The Lumineers - "Ho Hey"
"Simple" does not always equal "mediocre", as The Lumineers have proved with their sappy sweet acoustic ode to young love, "Ho Hey." Not only is it warm and romantic, but it is also incredibly persuasive as a sing-along. When music like this becomes a success, it's an exciting preview of what to expect in the coming year.
Imagine Dragons - "It's Time"
In a style akin to that of the famous "Cups" by Lulu and the Lampshades (also covered splendidly by Anna Kendrick in the film Pitch Perfect), Imagine Dragons crafted a modern answer to the often-asked question, "doesn't anyone make good music anymore?" If you love the original, you should check out the acoustic version which is as good, if not better.
AWOLNATION's album "Megalithic Symphony" was released in 2011, but the singles from said album saw an explosive increase in airplay in 2012. Most notable from the album, arguably, is "Kill Your Heroes", a tribute to living in the now and taking responsibility for your actions. Second place goes to "Sail", thanks to this hysterical cat video on YouTube.
Psy - "Gangnam Style"
Unless you're living under a rock, you know the infectious energy of Psy's "Gangnam Style". Though, it was a strong enough presence in 2012 to even seep under your rock. Better than a strong cup of coffee in the morning, this song will get you moving, even if you'd rather not. The bright colors and shiny elements existent in its music video will have you wondering, "what the hell did I just watch?" Then, you will immediately head to Amazon or iTunes to make a copy of it your own.
fun. - "Some Nights"
fun. lived up to its name with "We are Young", a single that encouraged you to grab life by the balls and enjoy it while you can. "Some Nights", though, taps into a different type of passionate emotion, that of melancholy depression. We can all relate to the frustration here, though it's hard to imagine anyone else wishing their lips would fall off to save them from saying things they shouldn't say.
Sure, there's that song we all used to know, but Gotye's "Smoke and Mirrors" is a masterpiece. Expertly used at a critical point in the television show "Suits", "Smoke and Mirrors" perfectly encapsulates the anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you realize the jig is up. It's this brand of sound that cements Gotye as an innovative recording artist and one of the best new sounds of 2012.
"Tongue Tied" is the perfect background song to any happy occasion. Whether you're celebrating a victory à la "Glee" or throwing a New Year's Eve party, this tune will have everybody up and dancing. It is only too fitting that the name of the band performing it is "Grouplove", as "Tongue Tied" can be considered a hippy song for a new generation.
Walk the Moon - "Anna Sun"
If the success of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" is any indication, we love songs that acknowledge hard times. As with "Some Nights", we take comfort in knowing that we are not alone. When Walk the Moon sings, "We got no money/but we got heart", on "Anna Sun", who out there would feel that this doesn't apply to them? Instead of waiting around, praying for our lives to improve like we did back in the 80s, we progressively choose to spit in the face of despair and live it up anyway.
Follow me on Twitter.
Follow me on Facebook.
Or, if you just want to stalk me, you can click the "Subscribe" button above and follow me anonymously.