Sunday, December 30, 2012

The 100 Best Songs Of 2012

These lists really mess with my mind. Music is everything to me. I listen to it from the moment I wake up until my head hits the pillow again at night, so ordering the songs that kept me company all year is a near impossible task. As such, please take the rankings with a grain of salt. While great albums were hard to find in 2012, brilliant singles were more plentiful. Which I guess is to be expected in our current iTunes-driven music market where you just download what you like and ignore the rest. A couple of names make multiple appearances this year but I think the wealth was pretty evenly spread.

Without further ado, here are the 100 best singles of 2012 according to my iPod:

100. A Million Lights - Grant Smillie & Walden feat. Zoë Badwi (Video)

Australia's Queen of dance misfired with "Shoot Me Down" but redeemed herself by lending her angelic vocals to this excellent club banger. With a tight edit and decent video, it could have been a hit. 

99. Candy Candy - Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (Video)

With the K-Pop phenomenon fizzling out in 2012, it was left to the Japanese to save Asian pop. Namely flawless diva Kyary Pamyu Pamyu who escaped from an insane asylum to release another completely fucked up and slightly terrifying bubblegum pop anthem. She is everything Lady Gaga would like to be.

98. Can't Get Better Than This - Parachute Youth (Video)

The best Australian electro-pop song of 2012.

97. You're The One - Charli XCX (Video)

I saw Charli XCX perform at a Pop Justice showcase in London about 4 years ago and it was one of the worst sets I have ever seen. She was terrible - couldn't hold a note and spent most of show rolling around on a table. Well, kudos to her for keeping at it despite an obvious lack of natural talent. "You're The One" is flawless pop - a song with the kind of slick production that will keep the cool crowd happy and a chorus big enough to satisfy the gays. I'm tentatively on board.

96. Earthquake - Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah (Video)

Thank god the incredibly annoying dub-step craze is over. It was fun for about 5 minutes but wore out its welcome faster than "Gangnam Style". The exception to that rule was Labrinth's speaker-exploding "Earthquake", which still sounds fresh and interesting.

95. Peanut Butter - RuPaul (Video)

I thought Ru was taking the piss the first time I heard this but I grew to love the grande dame of drag's return to edgy hip-hop. "Must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake!"

94. My Gun - The Rubens (Video)

The Australian retro-rock discovery of 2012. Put on a paisley shirt and brace yourself for the aural onslaught of "My Gun". You can keep Tame Impala. I'm happy to just play this on repeat.

93. Envole Moi - M Pokora & Tal (Video)

Two of my French-pop faves join forces for the duet of the year. There's a reason why this faithful cover of an '80s classic is a gigantic hit in France. "Envole Moi" is smooth, sexy and so very catchy. Go Tal!

92. Mercy Killer - Bertie Blackman (Video)

Bertie Blackman continues to be the proud torch-bearer of Australian indie-pop but seems to be experiencing diminishing returns on the charts, which is ridiculous because she is yet to release a bad song. "Mercy Killer" is typically dark, insightful and honest. A combination that just doesn't work in a Pitbull-run world.

91. Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding (Video)

I'm so annoyed with this bitch. Halcyon is such a stinker but there's no denying the hopeful, optimistic synth-pop charm of "Anything Could Happen". Shame about the rest of the album.

90. Bandz A Make Her Dance - Juicy J (Video)

This ratchet rap anthem represents everything that is wrong with the world but I just can't stop listening to it. I don't have an excuse apart from being hypnotised by Juicy J's lyrical brilliance.

89. We Are Young - Tulisa (Video)

A great song and a competent producer can cover even the most mediocre talent as this song proves.

88. Manías - Thalía (Video)

I must have been a Mexican housewife in a past life because this bombastic ballad pushes all my buttons. Now Thalía just needs to make another trashy English language pop album to be fully rehabilitated in my eyes.

87. Refill - Elle Varner (Video)

Did Elle Varner happen? I get confused with these next-big-things that are on every blog for five minutes before disappearing into the Natalia Kills-governed abyss of failed pop stars. Regardless of the soul diva's chart position, "Refill" pushed all the right buttons. I hate think how many bartenders I annoyed by demanding "Can I get a re-ee-ee-fill?"

86. I'll Change Your Mind - Kate Miller-Heidke (Video)

I love everything about this twisted and heartbreaking unrequited love song. The lyrics hit home, Kate's vocal is typically brilliant and that perky chorus brightens up what could have a distinctly bleak experience. So why didn't anyone download it?

85. Oblivion - Grimes (Video)

Grimes mumbles some incomprehensible shit over the slickest electro-beats of 2012 and slays your shit fave. Watch out for this one. It worms its way into your head ever-so-gradually and then refuses to leave.

84. Change The Record - Melanie Fiona feat. B.o.B (Video)

I'm not sure how happy Melanie Fiona will be with her 2012. None of her singles really clicked and her uneven sophomore album fell off the charts faster than MDNA. However, there is hope. "Change The Record" proves she can update her sound and hopefully broaden her appeal. Catchy and uplifting.

83. Love Like Stars - Ben Montague (Video)

All I  know about this guy is that he has pretty green eyes and released an amazing acoustic pop song called "Love Like Stars" that no one bought.

82. Warrior - Kimbra, Mark Foster and A-Trak (Video)

I know Kimbra is talented but she bores the fuck out of me. At least when left to her own devices. She made that Gotye record and effortlessly transforms into a hipster dance diva on "Warrior". Admittedly, this is basically a Foster The People record with a female vocal but I'm not complaining.

81. Summer Dreaming - Project B feat. Kelly Rowland (Video)

Kelly kept losing in 2012 with a string of hip-hop flops but redeemed herself with this cheap and cheerful cover of a long-forgotten '80s gem for the German market. Proof that Bey's backing singer is better suited to dance than R&B.

80. Extraña - María José (Video)

It wasn't exactly a banner year for Mexican-pop but María José flew the flag with this upbeat synthpop explosion. Watch out for the chorus - something this addictive should be illegal!

79. Satellites - Catcall (Video)

Australia's new Queen of dreamy synth-pop channeled Empire Of The Sun on "Satellites" without sounding desperate or derivative. This gem deserved to reach a far bigger audience than it did. With a new video - I'm not really here for the magic coat theme - it could still do some damage internationally. Germany would be a good choice. Hell, Bag Raiders and Lenka actually have hits in that country.

78. Glitter & Gold - Rebecca Ferguson (Video)

"Nothing's Real But Love" made me want to kill myself but this simple and honest life lesson redeemed the UK X Factor winner in my eyes.

77. Brother - Matt Corby (Video)

An unexpected triple platinum hit from a former Australian Idol contestant that now looks and sounds like Jesus. I'm sold.

76. Boy - Emma Louise (Video)

Another brooding and beautiful synth-pop exercise from one of Australia's hottest talents. When is Emma going to release her debut album? I feel like she's already been around for years!

75. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift (Video)

I really disliked this song when I first heard it but the Max Martin-produced country-pop jam just kind of wears you down like deathly virus.

74. Banner - Lights (Video)

I wrote a post about this song called "Lights Finally Gets It Right". That says it all really.

73. This Kiss - Carly Rae Jepsen (Video)

Queen Carly delivers another dance-pop delight with this perky Redfoo-produced club-banger. It's cuter than a dancing kitten, so why did it flop worse than "Girl Gone Wild"?

72. Big Hoops (Bigger The Better) - Nelly Furtado (Video)

While hipster favourites like M.I.A and Santigold were selling their soul for commercial success, Nelly Furtado jacked their sound and showed them up - everywhere but the charts. I don't care if it sold ten copies, "Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)" is one of the most innovative and clever pop songs of 2012. A future cult classic.

71. Got Me Good - Ciara (Video)

Cici can't dent the charts even with a great song and video. L.A. Reid needs to get her a judging stint on American Idol or X Factor - or throw in the towel and sign someone with a future.

70. Go - Yurena (Video)

Since featuring this exquisite Spanish diva on my blog, I've done some digging and she is, in fact, a real woman. Moreover she has a history of fabulous attention-whoring antics and failed comebacks. Needless to say I'm in love. It helps that "Go" is a genuinely great pop song.

69. Wildest Moments - Jessie Ware (Video)

Beautiful, understated, soulful.

68. Triumphant (Get 'Em) - Mariah Carey feat. Rick Ross & Meek Mill (Video)

I'm well aware that nobody liked this apart from me. The '90s-tastic R&B slow jam was never going to be a hit but I love Mimi in urban mode and I find the chorus genuinely uplifting. I will die if she performs this in Australia!

67. Thinkin Bout You - Frank Ocean (Video)

I could have easily included "Pyramids" and "Swim Good" on this list but "Thinkin Bout You" is the track that I keep coming back to. A smooth and reflective slow jam that will go down as a modern soul classic. 

66. Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson (Video)

The lead single from Kelegend's greatest hits package represents a slight change of pace. "Catch My Breath" is softer and prettier than her usual Max Martin/Dr. Luke produced fare - and all the better for it. Nice lyrics, great vocals and dreamy production make this an understated winner.

65. Everything Is Embarrassing - Sky Ferreira (Video)

I give up on trying to work this bitch out. I loved "One" and thought Sky was the real deal but lost interest with each subsequent single. And then she goes and releases this gorgeous electro-anthem, which stood out as one of the year's freshest indie-pop jams. Best song title of the year too.

64. Don't Fail Me Now - Melanie Amaro (Video)

I feel sorry for this poor bitch. Melanie won X Factor but was paid dust when she finally got around to releasing original material despite the fact that "Don't Fail Me Now" is an over-the-top dance-pop triumph. If this didn't click nothing will but I'm here for her soon-to-be-shelved debut album.

63. Adorn - Miguel (Video)

A massive R&B hit in America that found no love in this country. The ultimate baby-making anthem. If that's how you roll.

62. White Foxes - Susan Sundfør (Video)

This is the kind of bleak, sparse electro-pop that you can only find in Scandinavia. Norway's grimmest diva is my new obsession.

61. Dancing To The Same Song - Elen Levon (Video)

I really don't know what to say about this. The original 3OH!3-produced demo was absolutely flawless. It was gusty and edgy - just what Elen needed to breakthrough. But then the label dumbed it down and added insult to injury by slapping on the bored real housewives of Sydney cover you see above. Don't get me wrong - it's still a great pop song that should have been massive but why make things worse for the hell of it? Her time will come. 

60. Laura - Bat For Lashes (Video)

More awesomely depressing shit from the Queen of misery. 

59. Try - Pink (Video)

This faithful cover of an obscure GoNorthToGoSouth song was the standout track on Pink's lazy The Truth About Love album. Unlike most of the junk on that mess, "Try" is understated and emotionally authentic. Nice video too.

58. Wild Girl - Kat DeLuna (Video)

Queen Kat kept on winning in 2012 with gem after gem that hopefully found some love in one of the obscure European countries she still has success in. "Wild Girl" finds the Dominican treasure in full dance diva mode and she proves she has what it takes for total club domination in 2013 when Viva drops and decimates the game.

57. Shine Ya Light - Rita Ora (Video)

I'm here for Rita but the person who chose her singles needs to be fired. "Roc The Life" should have been the lead, followed by this soaring urban-pop gem that sounds like it was scientifically engineered for radio airplay. Epic chorus!

56. Rosebud - The Jezabels (Video)

The Jezabels turned out to be the Australian pop discovery of 2011 but finally got around to releasing the best single from their excellent album this year. "Rosebud" is the kind of sweeping, sad, atmospheric and beautiful synth/guitar-pop that just doesn't get made in this country very often. Gorgeous.

55. Pistol - Mia Dyson (Video)

The most gritty, soulful rock ballad to be produced by an Australian act in 2012. Shame then that no one heard it - let alone bought it. Think vintage Melissa Etheridge for some indication of the treat that awaits you.

54. Next To Me - Emeli Sandé (Video)

A simple gospel-pop song sublimely performed by one of the best voices in the world.

53. Wide Awake - Katy Perry (Video)

How does she keep churning out these brilliant pop songs? Katy is on a once-in-a-career roll at the moment. I hope she enjoys it while it lasts because nobody can keep this up indefinitely.

52. I Don't Like You - Eva Simons (Video)

Eva cements her reputation as the Dutch doyenne of dance with another incredible floorfiller. I need an album now!

51. Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia (Video)

The best commercial house record of 2012.

50. Guardian - Alanis Morissette (Video)

Time is a cruel mistress. 15 years ago Alanis was the hottest name in music - selling CDs in volumes that would make Adele's head spin. Cut to 2012 and nobody gives a shit if she's alive or dead. At least judging by the response to her severely underrated Havoc and Bright Lights album. I like every song on that chilled pop/rock opus but there's something special about "Guardian". Alanis has worked through the angst to a happy place and it's kind of touching to hear. Her best track in a decade.

49. King of Hearts - Cassie (Video)

I always thought Cassie was the biggest joke in R&B. A washed-up nobody at the ripe old age of 26. But then she released "King Of Hearts" and snatched enough wigs to make a coat for Diana Ross. This is so slick and catchy. I'm still not convinced about Cassie's musical chops but in a perfect world this would have been a massive hit.

48. Black Heart - Stooshe (Video)

I still haven't forgiven these girls for destroying TLC's "Waterfalls" but fuck this is a fantastic song. "Black Heart" single-handedly revived Motown with its glorious harmonies and old school production. It's not easy to step back in time without sounding desperate or lazy but Stooshe do it effortlessly. Little Mix could never.

47. Chasing Satellites - Thomas Fiss (Video)

In an alternate universe, "Chasing Satellites" is a "Call Me Maybe"-sized hit. In this one Thomas has to make do with ruling my iPod. This is an incredibly catchy pop song that deserved a hell of a lot more attention than it go.

46. Stardust - Lena (Video)

Gorgeous, ethereal, quirky pop from Germany's reigning pop princess.

45. Miriam - Norah Jones (Video)

If you told me in January that Norah Jones would be in the top 10 of my best albums of 2012 countdown and a bunch of tracks on my best singles list, I would have laughed in your face. But here we are and I wouldn't have it any other way. "Miriam" is basically a gruesome conversation with her husband's mistress before she kills her. It's dark, twisted and starkly beautiful in a way that stays with you long after the record ends.

44. Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen (Video)

This should be higher because it is a modern pop classic but I'm just so sick of it. I need a couple of years without hearing this shit every day before I'll be able to give it the love it deserves.

43. Play The Game Boy - A*M*E (Video)

Did this actually get released? If not why not? A*M*E is one of the most exciting new pop stars to emerge in a long time and "Play The Game Boy" is a killer shot of slick, 80's-inspired pop. Think Grace Jones meets Nicki Minaj (before she became an embarrassing clown) for some idea of this girl's fresh sound.

42. Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey (Video)

A massive hit in Europe, this is probably the most commercial offering on Born To Die. Sure, it's gloomy and depressing and Lana dies in the video but it has a fairly traditional structure and the chorus is as pretty as it is sad.

41. Looking Hot - No Doubt (Video)

The triumphant comeback hit that never happened. Oh well, fuck it. I love it and think it stands toe-to-toe with any song in the band's canon of hits.

40. Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys feat. Nicki Minaj (Video)

Alicia refreshed her sound with "Girl On Fire" - aiming at a slightly younger demographic - and hit a home run. Some critic's dismissed the production as overly generic and they might be right but the R&B icon's spine-tingling vocal and soaring chorus more than make up for it. I can take or leave Nicki's rap but I will admit that her verse is vastly better than her usual shit.

39. Runaway - Mr. Little Jeans (Video)

Ladyhawke called and wants her career back. Pitch perfect, 80s-inspired synthpop.

 38. Numb - Usher (Video)

 The best generic urban-dance song of 2012.

37. Free - Haley Reinhart (Video)

It takes a brave girl to launch a post-American Idol music career with a '70s-inspired piano-pop song. The risk didn't pay off on the charts but announced Haley as one to watch. I love every second of this.

36. Give Your Heart A Break - Demi Lovato (Video)

I'm so happy Demi scored a sleeper hit with this incredible power ballad. It's like she's finally found her niche as the new Celine Dion. Rock on.

35. What You've Done To Me - Samantha Jade (Video)

I heard the Tania Doko-voiced demo months before it was offered to Samantha and fell in love with it instantly. The original version had a harder edger - think Kelly Clarkson in angry mode - but DNA did an amazing job tailoring one of their finest singles into a Fever-era Kylie dance-pop anthem. It's so nice to see Samantha experiencing the success that cruelly eluded her the first time around.

34. Dance Bear - Snakadaktal (Video)

I like dancing and bears and psychedelic pop songs - so this quirky jam pushed all my buttons.

33. Ready Or Not - Bridgit Mendler (Video)

America's new teen queen came tantalizingly close to joining Selena and Demi on the top rung of the Disney pop ladder with this addictive jam. With the exception of a couple of dodgy lyrics (what's that shit about buying a house next to Oprah all about?), "Ready Or Not" is surprisingly credible. This girl can sing and her album is stunning. Better luck next time.

32. I Am Yuo Ledear - Nekci Menij feat. Medoner, Gags & Bayonse (Video)

It says volumes about the state of pop music that a spoof of a flop album track by a fictional character is one of the best pop songs of 2012. Everything about this is genius - hilarious lyrics, catchy vocal hooks and endlessly quotable lyrics. "I sell hundred of copies, Keri Hilson shaded me and now she's making my coffees!" Genius.

31. Get Up (A Cowboy's Anthem) - Kelly Clarkson (Video)

Kelly recorded this all-conquering pop anthem as part of a football promotion and gave it away for free online. That's a pretty good deal considering this is an absolute career highlight.

30. Wish U Were Here - Cody Simpson feat. Becky G (Video)

If I had any shame I'd probably be embarrassed for loving this Dr. Luke/Taio Cruz-penned club banger as much as I do. "Wish U Were Here" is an atomic-powered pop song that would have spent a month at #1 if Justin Bieber recorded it instead of Cody. Also pay attention to Becky G's amazing rap. 

29. Sobredosis - Kat DeLuna feat. El Cata (Video)

"Sobredosis" would have been a massive international hit for Shakira or Jennifer Lopez. How many incredible records can one woman release without denting the charts? This is the year's ultimate Latin party jam and further proof that Kat is better than all your faves put together.

28. We Own The Night - Tiesto & Wolfgang Gartner feat. Luciana (Video)

Three titans of EDM join forces for a bone-crunching club anthem that topped the UK club chart and set dancefloors on fire around the world. Which makes it doubly odd that "We Own The Night" was completely overlooked in Australia.

27. Bless This Mess - Lisa Mitchell (Video)

This demented, upbeat lullaby of a song captured my imagination from the very first listen. I guess this is the closest Lisa Mitchell will ever get to recording a straightforward pop song, which is a shame because this is a kooky triumph. More addictive than chocolate, crack and ice cream.

26. Your Body - Christina Aguilera (Video)

Sometimes the stars align and sometimes they don't. I'm not sure why "Your Body" crashed and burned like Brandy on a highway - and I really don't care. This Max Martin-produced gem is pretty close to the perfect pop song. Snappy production, nuclear-powered chorus and killer vocal. There's no shame in being a washed-up flop when your shit is this good.

25. 212 - Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay (Video)

Azealia Bank's calling card turned "imma ruin you cunt" into the year's hottest catchphrase and established the new Queen of rap as the thinking man's alternative to Nicki Minaj. Beyoncé is apparently working with Lazy Jay on her new album. If he gives her beats anywhere near this hot, your fave might as well hand over her wig now.

24. I Love It - Icona Pop (Video)

The saviors of Scandipop channeled Luciana's trademark electro-shouting on "I Love It" and scored the hit of the Australian Summer. Well played.

23. Now Or Never - Outasight (Video)

If Ke$ha was a man her music would sound like this.

22. Call My Name - Cheryl Cole (Video)

A great song by a vile cunt. 

21. When It Feels This Good - Luciana (Video)

After creating and perfecting the still hot electro-shouting genre (see Icona Pop's current success), Luciana decided to mix it up with a bit of singing on "When It Feels This Good". The result is one of the dance deity's most commercial songs and one of 2012's best party anthems.

20. Climax - Usher (Video)

"Climax" stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I heard it. Diplo's production is breathtaking, Usher delivers the vocal of his career and the lyrics are unusually raw and honest for a genre marked by songs about poppin' bottles and fucking hoes. "I gave my best, it wasn't enough." Know the feeling.

19. Euphoria - Loreen (Video)

Loreen validated the continued existence of Eurovision with this glorious pop song.

18. Back To Love - Estelle (Video)

A beautiful pop song about growing up and moving on.

17. Boys Will Be Boys - Paulina Rubio (Video)

This Mexican pop goddess made all our faves redundant in one fell swoop and nobody noticed. "Boys Will Be Boys" is better than Madonna's entire career and should be played loudly at every party and gathering from now until her next English language album. Which, on past experience, should take about a decade.

16. Born To Die - Lana Del Rey (Video)

A sweeping, cinematic modern classic that established Lana as the Queen of everything.

15. Closer - Tegan And Sara (Video)

Dear Canada, can we swap you The Veronicas for Tegan and Sara? Ta.

14. Picking Up The Pieces - Paloma Faith (Video)

I never really understood the appeal of Paloma Faith until hearing this song. Equal parts orchestral ballad and nu-disco floorfiller with generous lashings of synths and strings, "Picking Up The Pieces" examines a crumbling relationship from an unusually honest perspective. "I watch you cry but you don't see that I'm the one by your side." Time to throw in the towel, sweetheart. Trust me.

13. Dance Again - Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull (Video)

"Dance Again" is The Empire Strikes Back of song sequels - effortlessly eclipsing the dubious charms of the first installment (ie. "On The Floor"). Jenny channels Donna Summer and Kylie on this ridiculously cute and catchy club banger. I can't even fault Pitbull's contribution. Oh and "I want to dance! And love! And dance! Again" is the best chorus of the decade.

12. Eyes Open - Taylor Swift (Video)

How strange that Taylor's non-single contribution to The Hunger Games soundtrack was better than anything on her album. Her reed thin voice survives the unexpectedly heavy rock production to make this the new and improved "Eye Of The Tiger". Make sure you track down the Jason Nevins remix, which turns the song into a fabulous Shania Twain-tastic square-dancing number.

11. Roc The Life - Rita Ora (Video)

A staggeringly catchy pop song that should have spearheaded Rita's semi-successful debut album. The production is insane and her vocal is slicker than anything on Unapologetic but more than that, I like the message. This track is about getting off your fat arse and having the balls and backbone to follow your dreams/passions. "Baby watch it from the sideline, while I rock the life" is a motto to live by.

10. Losing You - Solange (Video)

"Tell me the truth am I losing you for good?" implores Beyoncé's hipster-goddess sister on this synth-heavy break-up anthem. Solange needs to explore the whole retro-electronica sound further on her next album. I think she's finally found her niche.

9. Youth - Foxes (Video)

Foxes was one of the most exciting newcomers of 2012. "Echo" was great and I loved her collaboration with Zedd but neither of those gems comes close to the towering brilliance of "Youth". This song is such a statement. The Brit's gorgeous voice soars over apocalyptic beats on this ode to fading youth and lost dreams.

8. Happy Pills - Norah Jones (Video)

Norah ditched her staid jazz sound for a new breezy approach with a little help from Danger Mouse and delivered the best song of her career. "Happy Pills" is the wryest break-up anthem of all time. She's not sad or even particularly bitter. Just happy the whole mess is behind her.

7. Zero Gravity - Kerli (Video)

Kerli finally lives up to the hype with "Zero Gravity". The Estonian dance diva gets everything right on this one. A soaring chorus hovers over crashing techno beats, while the lyrics manage to transcend the usual dance-pop rubbish about looking sexy in a club. There's something distinctly lush and wistful about "Zero Gravity" that is completely at odds with Kerli's Eurotrash image. A very big step in the right direction.

6. Wild Love - Gossling (Video)

This was an early frontrunner for the best single of the year. Gossling's voice is jarring at first but it is perfect for this smouldering love song. Poetic lyrics, atmospheric production and a generous dose of melancholy make "Wild Love" unforgettable.

5. Ride - Lana Del Rey (Video)

Lana leaves the understated, doomed elegance of the Born To Die era behind with "Ride". It's tougher and earthier and generally free of any flaw. This is a mouth-watering glimpse of the next step in the diva's musical evolution.

4. Don't Save Me - Haim (Video)

Who are these girls? They came out of nowhere with very little fanfare to drop one of the most glorious pop songs of 2012. This is some quality shit. Think Fleetwood Mac meets The Go-Gos for some idea of their Californian dreaminess and no frills retro sound. I've been playing this on repeat for months. They are my new favourite band until proved otherwise.

3. Dance For You - Beyoncé (Video)

Jay Z is doing something right. "I want to show you how much I appreciate you," coos Beyoncé on this surprise R&B hit. She sounds so loved up and manages to pull off the impossible - a romantic love song that doesn't descend into complete and utter filth. "Dance For You" proves that you can do sexy without sounding like a prostitute. Someone needs to strap Rihanna to a seat and force her to listen to this on repeat.

2. Die Young - Ke$ha (Video)

It amuses me when wildly uninformed individuals claim "Die Young" is Ke$ha on autopilot. Bitch - fucking - please. Lady Dolla switches up her iconic sound by introducing new elements like that catchy snare drum and those hippy hand-claps before unveiling a typically gigantic chorus and witty lyrics. A modern classic.

1. Part Of Me - Katy Perry (Below)

This song basically sums up how I felt for much of 2012.