dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The 10 Best Pop Singles Of 2012

Let's face it — 2012 was one dark year as far as pop was concerned. In fact, my trusty sidekick in all things chart rigging Moogaboo and I shouldn't have had as much fun and ease assembling our Worst Singles Of 2012 list, alas...

That said, there were a some bright moments, like diamonds in the sky, even if we had to go digging to find them. And dig we did; this is actually probably the most unconventional Best list since I started doing them annually here on Chart Rigger back in 2005!

Below you'll find what the two of us consider to be the 10 Best Pop Singles of 2012, along with our usual colorful write-ups on just why these songs deserve several more listens. As usual, the singles listed need only have reached their peak chart position within 2012, even if they were technically released the year prior.

10. Stooshe, "Black Heart"
D'luv says: "I'm going to go out on a limb and project that these British broads probably peaked with their '60s girl group homage 'Black Heart.' 'Still, what a great footnote."
Moogaboo says: "I love a good girl-group homage, especially one that’s confident enough to leave out the cliché sax solo and include a somewhat dark lyric about 'falling for a monster.' Stooshe may not be the new Supremes (or even TLC), but for three minutes they swing with the best of them."
Charts: UK #3

9. Swedish House Mafia, "Don't You Worry Child"
D'luv says: "Childhood innocence, the lifelong steel grip of a first heartbreak and, eventually, the loss of youth somehow are perfectly portrayed in three-and-a-half minutes here. This really was a standout year for dance-pop that packed an emotional punch."
Moogaboo says: "I feel like this blast of hands-in-the-air house music could sit alongside 'Carry On My Wayward Son' or 'Cat’s in the Cradle' on any classic rock station. And I mean that as high praise! Big-DJ Power Pop is the new classic rock!"
Charts: UK #1, AUS #1, SWE #1, US #12

8. Miguel, "Adorn"
D'luv says: "I don't know how Marvin Gaye doesn't get a writing credit on this remake of 'Sexual Healing.' Regardless, 'Adorn' plays when I watch the 24/7 Max George showercam forever streaming in my mind. So it's a no-brainer for the Best list."
Moogaboo says: "Call me naïve, but I think Miguel is genuinely artsy, and not in the 'funny sunglasses' way that most pop stars pretend to be. Atop 'Adorn’s idiosyncratic arrangement, there’s a deeply soulful (and, ironically, unadorned) voice that I can’t wait to hear more from."
Charts: US #17

7. Jessie Ware, "Wildest Moments"
D'luv says: "Quite frankly, I'm most smitten with 'Taking In Water' off Devotion, already a classic pop album upon its arrival. That said, the whole LP hits every correct mark. And if we're talking strictly singles, 'Wildest Moments' is truly one of 2012's best."
Moogaboo says: "I was mostly smitten with '110%' until this jam hit me unexpectedly in a Macy’s changing room. Nothing makes you think deeper about life, kids, than an exquisitely executed power ballad timed with the moment you’ve accepted you no longer have a 31" waist."
Charts: BEL #3, UK #46

6. Calvin Harris feat. Example, "We'll Be Coming Back"
D'luv says: "Along with 2009's 'Flashback,' this is one of Calvin's best moments. When dance music touches you on a thoughtful level, it's few and far between. This is one of those times."
Moogaboo says: "Even though the LOLDance boom (LMFAO, Ke$ha) has yielded a lot of dumb hits about vodka, vomiting and vomiting vodka all night, it’s also opened up radio to the occasional electronic gem. Along with Sia’s entry, this is a perfect of example (pun intended) of dance music that sounds great outside the club."
Charts: BEL #1, UK #2, SWE #5

5. Tensnake feat. Syron, "Mainline"
D'luv says: "This makes me feel like 1991. That was a good hair year for me."
Moogaboo says: "When I hear this, it’s like I’m shopping for vests at Dejaiz all over again."

4. Rihanna, "Diamonds"
Moogaboo says: "Is this the beginning, middle, or end of Rihanna’s imperial phase? In any case, this showstopper sounds like a mission statement and a pop star at her peak: defiant, fearless, and forever young."
D'luv says: "Well, I would have guessed she peaked with 'We Found Love.' But then along came this beautiful, emotional mid-tempo number. Though it's undeniably a knockoff of M83's 'Midnight City' — go ahead, play the intro to both back-to-back — Sia's lyrics hit you in the gut, and Rihanna now has her third modern day classic."
Charts: US #1, UK #1, CAN #1

3. David Guetta feat. Sia, "Titanium"
Dluv says: "I never tire of this song, and I don't care if Guetta is overrated — pairing up with Sia proved to be the perfect pop stabilizer he needed. 'You shoot me down, but I won't fall.' Simple and brilliant."
Moogaboo says: "I was instantly mesmerized by this slice of blockbuster techno-drama, a truly uplifting anthem that rises above the pack of trite 'empowerment' exercises glutting the radio since Katy Pussy's "Firework." Sia, all is forgiven re: 'Oh Father'."
Charts: UK #1, SWE #3, US #7

2. Bright Light Bright Light, "Waiting For The Feeling"
Dluv says: "I was really irked that Alphabeat didn't carry on with their retro '90s house pastiche following their superb 2009 album The Spell. Thankfully Rod Thomas — aka Bright Light Bright Light — is here to pick up where the Danish band left off. Again, dance-pop with depth is tricky to pull off, but here you go."
Moogaboo says: "This is a non-stop twirler in the classic sense, with verses of romantic turmoil giving lift to a chorus that practically flies you to the moon. I want Bright Light Bright Light to be the new Erasure."

1. Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX, "I Love It"
Dluv says: "We knew this was an unconventional year for pop (read: most of the mainstream releases sucked), so that made for this bratty treat coming out of left field and capturing our hearts and ears. These broads deserve to at least have one hit in the States — and this is it."
Moogaboo says: "There’s a big, bruised heart behind the gleeful destruction of "I Love It," a resigned you-done-me-wrong song masquerading its vulnerabilities behind a tough-as-fuck bassline and revving synths. It burns out almost as quickly as it starts, but not before it can carve its notch as the most exhilarating Pop Moment of the year."
Charts: SWE #2, AUS #6

* The 10 Worst Singles Of 2012
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2011
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2010
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2009
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2008
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2007
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2006
* The Best Pop Singles Of 2005
* The Top 40 Pop Singles Of The '00s

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  • At 3:12 PM, Blogger wpmsd said…

    Kudos for picking so many from outside the mainstream. Several of these I hadn't heard of and will give a listen to.

    I know you guys like the Pet Shop Boys and a few of their songs this year were among my favorites- We're All Criminals Now and Lies off the Format album and their tribute to Robin Gibb, I Started a Joke.

    I know Ms. Swift was #2 on your worst of list, but Never Ever was one of my favs this year, as well as State of Grace. I also liked most of the David Guetta songs (Titanium, Turn Me On) and Ellie Goulding (Lights, Anything Can Happen.)

  • At 8:52 AM, Blogger D'luv said…

    Actually, Ms. Swift was #6 on our Worst list. Of course, I really like her new single, "I Knew You Were Trouble." Go figure.

    Glad to have intro'd you to some new music you'll possibly like!

  • At 7:29 PM, Blogger Diva Incarnate said…

    Gala's Lose Yourself In Me cruelly snubbed. Or don't you follow forgotten euro-dance acts from the 90s?

    And obviously your musical diet is just too 'bloated' to even *think* about poor fatso victim Claire Richards and her love song to her favourite brand of grills Light Up The World.


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