Like they say every year, this was a big one for music. But what set 2012 apart was the diversity among both artists and songs. This year lacked an overarching theme or genre or artist, which makes it fantastic, and genuinely interesting. So to celebrate a year in which preconceptions went out the window, behold: this list.
10. Azealia Banks, 212
Technically, 212 came out in 2010, but her EP, 1991 came out this July. Thank heavens, too: an artist who legitimately does her own thing, Azealia makes zero apologies while representing herself. For further proof of that, you need only listen to the song. (And if you want an Azaelia song from 2012, look no further than “Jumanji” or “1991” which are equally great.)
9. Grimes, Oblivion
While it was Genesis that she played on Jimmy Fallon, Grimes opened her world to use through Oblivion, the first song off her 2012 full length, Visions. Both parts pop and bona fide art, she made the underground accessible to all of us, and proved that you can still be unique and creative while earning mainstream recognition.
8. Drake, The Motto
Drake’s Take Care may have come out in November of last year, but it was The Motto you heard everyplace all summer. And rightfully so! Keeping the spirit of #YOLO alive, you weren’t the only one cruising with the window down pumping the bass and feeling cool. (I was too. And it was glorious.)
7. Flo Rida featuring Sia, Wild Ones
Not only did “Wild Ones” rival David Guetta and Sia’s Titanium, but it killed anything else Flo Rida did, too. Thus, we have a winner “ or at least a chart placer. Because more importantly, we have a reason to dance.
6. Nicki Minaj, Starships
Here’s the thing. Most people either like the Beez In The Trap version of Nicki or Sound the Alarm” version of Nicki, so we’re going to compromise and go by what was literally played constantly. First, Roman’s Revenge was one hell of an album. And second, if you’re really a Minaj fan, you’ll agree that any song she came out with is worth a shout-out. (Sophie and her Hype Girl would agree, too.)
5. MIA, Bad Girls
Thee words: the music video. And another six: The Mindy Kaling Project‘s opening montage. Now one more: RIGHT?
4. Fun., We Are Young
Love them or hate them, you’ve got to admit that Fun. made an indelible mark on the charts this summer. And understandably so (at least for the first few weeks): they teamed up with Janelle Monae to bring our ears and hearts quite the anthem, which we can admit meant a lot more before it was literally inescapable.
3. Taylor Swift, We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together
It is T-Swift’s world, guys, and we’re just living in it. So while this track may have only been released over the last couple of months, you know it’ll be the one to replace Enchanted. Or Mean. Or the last Taylor Swift song you thought was her best.
2. Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know
Full disclosure: we had to. To make this list even remotely legitimate, we had to. And we’re sorry, but you know you would’ve secretly been kind of mad had it not been included. (Don’t hate us.)
1. Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
You know this song. You love this song! We all know and love this song. And while we may be a little sick and tired of it ten months after it first came out, it still deserves acknowledgement as the cré¨me de la cré¨me of top 40 jams.
– Rhianna, Where Have You Been
– Justin Bieber, Boyfriend
– One Direction, One Thing
– Kanye West, Mercy
– Lana Del Rey, Blue Jeans”