When we began compiling our Best Songs of 2012 list, there were many differing opinions, and after briefly toying with the idea of pitting all our staff against one another in a Hunger Games fight-to-the-death scenario against the backdrop of Times Square, we conceded that the most diplomatic and least murderous thing to do would be to each submit our own list. You know, in the name of preserving a civil work environment and whatnot (not to mention our longstanding policy of avoiding contact with the human resources department). So while we didn’t battle it out in a conference room or some such nonsense, each one of us faced an internal battle — choosing our favorite songs of the year.
As far as consensus is concerned, there were 21 songs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only eight that appeared on three or more lists: Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe” (4 ballots), Frank Ocean‘s “Pyramids” (4 ballots), fun.‘s “We Are Young” (4 ballots), Gotye‘s “Somebody I Used To Know” (3 ballots), P!nk‘s “Just Give Me A Reason” (3 ballots), Usher‘s “Climax” (3 ballots), Azealia Banks‘ “212″ (3 ballots), and Miguel‘s “Adorn” (3 ballots).
(Btw, before we get into this, we’d like to note that we put together the following Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure: VH1 Staffers Pick Their Favorite Songs Of 2012. It’s sequenced in alpha order by artist first name, so we wholeheartedly recommend you hit Shuffle while listening to this 92 track playlist. Now, on with the show…)
2012 has been an interesting year for the music business. As chart genres shift and technology continues to influence how and what we consume, in-flux trends seem to fly in out of nowhere.The viral sensation breakout star, for example. But can we go back to basics for just a moment? These people are here to entertain us and sing, right? Like, into microphones and send sound waves into the universe. Whether their songs permeated the charts all year or their pipes are ones to keep an eye out in the future, the following 15 voices were the most noteworthy in 2012.
Having created what’s sure to be a sing-along bar anthem for years to come, Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” is a monster. Shout out to Kimbra for the solid assist, too!
In addition to being the voice behind David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” this year, Sia also wrote the lyrics and melody for Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and her talent should be recognized, damn it.
Through storytelling, K-Dot has the versatility to sound nervous, vulnerable and shrieky, macho and intimidating, soft and robotic, Compton tough, and instructively monotone.
Ellie Goulding had a particularly busy day yesterday, performing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the morning and then again on Conan late last night, and she seemed to enjoy every bit of it. Goulding’s excellent Haylcon has officially entered the Top 10 on the Billboard charts and her back-to-back performances felt like a celebration of it. Haylcon is dance-y and dazzling, like the scene Goulding and her boyfriend, Skrillex, run in; and it’s also a meant to be a breakup album, and so it’s often dark and dramatic (think: Florence + The Machine‘s Ceremonials). “Anything Could Happen” is an exception to this — “But you know, then I wrote ‘Anything Could Happen’ because suddenly my life changed again, and I met someone new,” she says — and it’s fun to see how she gets swept up and away again each time she performs it. Read more…
Last night, Ellie Goulding stopping in on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to celebrate the release of Halcyon, her highly anticipated follow-up to Lights. Goulding has been big in the UK for a few years now — and even with the Royals — but she only really started getting buzz over here this summer, when everyone at once decided to make “Lights” the glittering soundtrack to all late-night happenings. “Lights” shot up the charts as a result, and our ears were perked by the time “Anything Could Happen” dropped. We really love her coo of a voice, but were have always wondered what it would sound like when separated from the gauzy production its typically packaged with. Her appearance on Fallon last night quashed our concerns, though, as she easily proved that the voice is all hers and that she’s really good. Or, as Jimmy tells her: “That’s the way to do it.”
Dressed plainly in all black leather and with the sometimes vibrant pink in her hair toned-down to just a tint, she performed her uplifting new single “Anything Could Happen.” The bouncy Halcyon track gives her more leeway to show off her voice than the more insistent “Lights,” and live she really lets her voice flare and fill that space. And she looked and sounded every bit the veteran pop star she already is, even if this was technically her U.S. television debut. Maybe if we ask nicely, England will let us keep her?
British dance-floor darling Ellie Goulding has joined forces with Scotland’s club king Calvin Harris for “I Need Your Love,” a shimmering new cut from Harris’ upcoming album 18 Months and a bonus track off of Goulding’s own Halycon. It has only ever been a matter of time before these two found one other, and it was inevitable that their meeting would result in such a spark. They shouldn’t have to ask, though — of course they can have our love!
The stripped vocals on “Anything Could Happen” had us thinking that Goulding might be edging out of “Lights” Lite-Brite like glow for this second round, but Harris seems to have dragged her back to the dance floor, and to an ecstatic effect. “I Need Your Love” bleeps and bloops and bounces along an electronic beat, which might have sounded two-bit if not for that piano line. Goulding meanwhile returns to her signature smoky-cooing, begging that: “I need your love, I need your time/ When everything’s wrong, you make it right/ I feel so high, I come alive/ I need to be free with you tonight.”
What do you think, does “I Need Your Love” earn your love?
A huge congratulations goes out to Katy Perry, whose relationship rebound anthem “Wide Awake” bested all of the competitors for the 2012 Song Of The Summer title! You might remember that Katy took home the 2011 Song Of The Summer prize, too, for “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).” And, just like last summer, we have a very special acceptance speech from Katy herself, in which she accepts our supremely summery VH1 Snow Cone Trophy and thanks all the Katycats out there.
Continue along for more details about the Song of the Summer voting!
It’s a sad love story in Ellie Goulding‘s “Anything Could Happen.” Something tragic has left a pink haired Ellie on a rocky beach searching to piece back the broken fragments of whatever has happened to her. Filled with sadness, a teary eyed Ellie sings, “After the war we said we’d fight together.” When her lover appears he’s bloody and bruised, which leads to Ellie’s own nose bleed. As she looks over her deceased lover she reflects back to the accident. The car crash has left both of them injured, but more than the physical injuries the collision is a metaphor for their dying love. Read more…
But Goulding is moving on. Her sophomore album Halcyon is due out in October, and today she debuted and perfectly named lead single, “Anything Could Happen.” A bit more thumping but still swaddled in shimmery synth, “Anything Could Happen” shows off Goulding’s optimism and also a new, soulful edge to her voice that we haven’t heard in her other stuff. It’s a little different, but in a good way. And really, with “Lights” making the final push to the top and with Halcyon on the horizon, all eyes are on Goulding. Anything could happen.
While the top of the chart didn’t see much movement this week, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some movers and shakers on the chart with their eyes on the Song Of The Summer prize. Flo Rida‘s latest jam, “Whistle,” jumped from #7 to #4 this week, and Cher Lloyd‘s girl power hit is gaining some serious momentum; it debuted at #11 on our weekly chart, propelled by strong sales in the iTunes Store and a rising spot on the Billboard 100 Chart.
When it came to our reader votes, though, the Directioners and Lovatics made their mark; One Direction‘s “That What Makes You Beautiful” lead all SOTS contenders, with Demi Lovato‘s “Give Your Heart A Break” coming in a close second. Your votes really do count, so keep those votes coming! Head over to SOTS.VH1.COM and vote for your favorite artist today.