Turn It Up 2012: My top 10 songs, albums of the year (and then some)

For some, 2012 was the year “Twilight” ended but the world didn’t. For me, it was another chance to discover great music from surprising sources — when I was obsessed with ’90s big beat like The Chemical Brothers, who would’ve guessed that 15 years later I’d become a fan of alt country (Drive-By Truckers! Tift Merritt!) or folk rock (Brandi Carlile!) or Swedish indie pop (Jens Lekman! First Aid Kit!)?? My tastes have changed, evolved, and broadened over the years — perhaps even more so now that I don’t work in radio and my hunger for finding great new artists is just as strong as ever. I love reading year-end music lists, and then comparing them to my own. Below are my favorite songs, albums (and then some) of 2012. Tune in and turn it up, kids!

BEST SONGS OF 2012
10. R. Kelly – “Fool For You”
9. Missy Higgins – “If I’m Honest”
8. The Shins – “Simple Song”
7. Elle Varner – “So Fly”
6. Shearwater – “You As You Were”
5. The Coup – “Magic Clap”
4. Frank Ocean – “Bad Religion”
3. Regina Spektor – “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)”
2. Blackberry Smoke – “Everybody Knows She’s Mine”
1. Jason Mraz – “I Won’t Give Up”

BEST POP/ETC. SONGS OF 2012
10. Usher – “Climax” (Flosstradamus and Diplo Remix)
9. Nas – “Reach Out” f/ Mary J. Blige
8. Little Mix – “Wings”
7. Rita Ora – “How We Do (Party)”
6. will.i.am – “Scream and Shout” f/ Britney Spears
5. Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”
4. fun. – “Some Nights”
3. Gotye – “Somebody That I Used To Know” f/ Kimbra
2. One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful”
1. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”

SONGS I LOVED AND WAS OBSESSED WITH FOR TWO WEEKS
10. Lana Del Rey vs. Notorious B.I.G. – “Notorious Origin”
9. Adele – “Skyfall”
8. Kid Koala – “3 Bit Blues” <— blues meets hip-hop turntablism
7. Jackson 5 – "If The Shoe Don't Fit"
6. The Rolling Stones – "Doom and Gloom"
5. Chiddy Bang – "Ray Charles"
4. Rye Rye – "Never Will Be Mine" f/ Robyn
3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – "Mayla"
2. Carolina Chocolate Drops – "You Be Illin'" <— Run DMC cover for Record Store Day
1. Masters in France – "Playing With My Friends"

2012’s BEST ALBUMS
*Honorable mentions: Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, Plan B, Bettye LaVette, The Little Willies, Jason Mraz, Fatboy Slim
10. Joss Stone – The Soul Sessions Vol. 2
9. Green Day – Uno!, Dos!, !Tre! <— yes, that's three albums
8. Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
7. Melanie Fiona – The MF Life
6. Grace Potter – The Lion The Beast The Beat
5. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
4. Brandi Carlile – Bear Creek
3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
2. Solange – True (EP)
1. K’Naan – Country, God or the Girl <— guests incl. Bono, Keith Richards, will.i.am, Mark Foster, Nas, Nelly Furtado

BEST SHOWS I SAW LIVE IN 2012
5. Arrested Development / Sophistafunk
4. ‘Here Lies Love’ (musical written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim)
3. Yellow Dubmarine
2. LL Cool J / DJ Z-Trip
1. DJ Shadow

THE YEAR’S BIGGEST MUSIC DISAPPOINTMENTS
5. Re: Generation (collaborations like Skrillex with The Doors, Pretty Lights with Ralph Stanley & LeAnn Rimes? Good, fun concept but bad sounds.)
4. The Avalanches (still no new album yet! Again!)
3. Dubstep (the genre’s already starting to sound played out)
2. The Civil Wars (everyone just discovered how awesome they are, and they broke up)
1. The Ting Tings (their second album bombed… what happened to all those fun hand claps??!?)

What were your favorite songs/albums/etc of the year? Leave a comment below! I love listening to and discovering great new music!

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My Top 5s of 2010 – the year in music, movies and more

I’m a firm believer in Top 5 lists. It’s a great snapshot of not only what a person likes, but what a person is like. Here’s what I liked in 2010:

Top 5 People to Follow on Twitter in 2010 (that you might not already be following)
1. Tracey Thorn (@Tracey_Thorn)
2. BT (@BT)
3. Kelly Lux (@KellyLux, @SyracuseU)
4. Chris Pinckney (@cpinck)
5. The Kirkegaards (@andCKsays, @RexyMamaK and @BabyRex)
Thorn is the voice behind Everything But The Girl (“Missing”) and still does solo albums, but her tweets are the cutest/funniest things you could expect from a 50-year old woman who loves posting about her kids, TV shows, her DJ husband (formerly the other half of EBTG) and how weird it is to hear remixes of her old songs played during group classes at the local gym. BT tweets about music, his beautiful daughter Kaia, spirituality and genuine positivity. Kelly Lux is the wisest lady in Central New York’s social media clique, and she balances sharing wisdom, interesting stories and local information (she also runs Syracuse University’s Twitter account). Chris Pinckney usually doesn’t post more than 2 or 3 times a day, but he’s always cracking me up with observations like “I wonder if bi-curious cats have to pay double for life insurance.” The Kirkegaards are the proud parents of the too-cute-for-words BabyRex and his Look Who’s Talking-esque inner monologue, but I get a kick out of what mom and dad add to my daily conversation, too.

Top 5 Albums of 2010
1. The Black Keys – Brothers
2. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
3. Scissor Sisters – Night Work
4. Tracey Thorn – Love & Its Opposite
5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Eels put out two great albums this year, and I also loved the latest releases from BT, David Gray, Robyn, Bettye Lavette, and Ben Folds’ ambitious co-writing project with Nick Hornby. The most interesting music of 2010 had to be David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love, a double-disc mega-collaborative dancefloor-musical ode to Imelda Marcos.
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