Lucy Carter, (Director, triple J news)
Chet Faker – ‘I’m Into You’ [LISTEN]
To be honest this was a tie between ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepsen and this tune by my favorite hirsute Melbournite. Call Me Maybe may be the year’s most perfect pop confection, with THOSE STRING SYNTHS and THAT CHORUS. In fact a little bit of me hopes it’s stuck in your head right now…But I think enough paragraphs have been poured into print about that particular ditty in 2012. So enough of that. Let’s talk Chet, let’s talk seduction. Let’s talk BEARD.
The whole of the ‘Thinking in Textures’ EP is pretty sexy, but for me the highlight is ‘I’m Into You’ the opening track. His voice half-mumbles over some wonderfully languid piano – it’s like he’s hitting on you at a crowded bar. Then later, in the chorus it’s kind of like he’s pushing you against a wall and begging to take you home – with his voice. It’s simple, but layered. Catchy as hell but never irritating. I love it. Happy Festivus all.
Bridie Connellan (Artist Marketing Manager, Universal Music Group)
Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch – ‘Sweet Nothing’ [LISTEN]
I’m a hater of pop haters. This goddamn song gets me every goddamn time I powerwalk any goddamn place ever and it’s just the nazz. Both Calvin and Florence were once über-nerds making tunes in their bedrooms with Dumb Posters as their audience. Now they whisper (read: blast) sweet nothings to a bunch of silly arm-flailers who just want a stupidly phat hook to match their strides. Pop haters be damned, you give meeeee notthhhaaannnnggg BEW BEW BEW BEW BEW…
Chris Zaijko (Project Manager, MusicNSW and FBi Radio Host)
My Best Fiend – ‘Cracking Eggs’ [LISTEN]
I found this li’l gem right at the bottom of my (very messy) pigeon hole at FBi – it must have been sitting down there for a while. I’m so glad I finally came across it and gave it a spin. Sure, they’re pretty derivative – bands like The Verve and Spiritualized immediately spring to mind. Sure, it’s not really the trendiest sound right now either – but the gradual build in pace and noise and sustained climax of ‘Cracking Eggs’ make this a perfect slice of uplifting, gospel-psych-whatever, which is totally up my alley.
Far from any trendy top 10 lists this year, but someone’s gotta represent for the little guy.
Greg Constantine (Touring Manager, Fuzzy Entertainment)
Disclosure – ‘Latch’ [LISTEN]
There are a lot of love songs written about lust and the immediacy of falling in love with someone – many even this year – but ‘Latch’ is without a doubt THE song of 2012. Featuring vocals more full-bodied than your favourite wine, London new-comer Sam Smith reminds us exactly what youthful love is all about with his soulfully smooth melodies that build to a climatic chorus as he rips shreds off of his own hyper-falsetto. Accompanied by the downtempo UK garage-bass instrumental that Disclosure have now become so well-known for, it’s the perfect love song of 2012 and is a sure winner to get you that much closer to the girl’s panties you’ve always wanted. Whats not to love?
Youth, sweat, those drums!! This gets my heart racing every single time I listen to it. I’ve never punched anyone in the face in my life but im sure if I did this song would be playing in the background of the slow-mo replay.
Mark Poston (Chairman and Senior VP Marketing, EMI Australasia)
Bat For Lashes – ‘Laura’ [LISTEN]
I had to send this before I changed my mind because it was too hard to choose only one.
Mark Di Stefano (ABC News)
Diplo – ‘Express Yourself’ [LISTEN]
When Wes Pentz’ dirty hands weren’t retweeting twerking selfies, they were producing the best music this year. Bieber and Usher’s best tracks, Snoop Lion’s reinvention, the phenomenal downplay dub of Get Free. His music embodies everything fun about dancing to a DJ. ‘Express Yourself’ is at the centre of that. Last year I nominated a Calvin Harris track (We Found love) as my favourite tune. It’s only right, because while Calvin dominated my ears in 2011, Diplo had them by the nuts throughout 2012.
Adam Lewis (Host of FBi’s Radiant, Legend Of The Year)
Jeremih – ‘Fuck U All The Time’ [LISTEN]
For an R&B artist that’s so often traded in excess – not least his one-off pseudo-novelty hit ‘Birthday Sex’ – Jeremih’s ‘Fuck U All The Time’ is a left-field exercise in restraint. Natasha Mosley’s hook is chopped, slowed and stuttered into something alien across FKi’s slow, lingering beat, while Jeremih’s short, single verse is a lethargic mess in which his falsetto duets with a screwed, drugged out alter ego. It’s an unfinished, studio-manipulated sketch, and the mystery of what remains is exactly why it’s one of the year’s most curiously alluring songs. Case in point – would it feel as dirty without that brazen, unexpected beep that punctures the chorus?
Dom Alessio (Host, triple J’s Home and Hosed)
Deftones – ‘Poltergeist’ [LISTEN]
I’m sure there’ll be songs on this list by Frank Ocean or Grimes or Tame Impala – and they’re some of my favourite songs of the year too – but I wanted to give props to something that’s definitely not cool. Not only is it not cool, but it’s a band that’s been labelled “nu-metal” or “alternative rock” in the past, two of the most pejorative genres you can sling at a group. But Deftones’ focus was never narrow enough to fit those labels. And they were plainly better than those bands that couldn’t spell the words corn or stained.
Koi No Yokan isn’t the best album of the year, nor is it Deftones’ best album, but it is their best album in a long time, and it captures what’s so great about their sound. It’s The Cure covering Helmet. It’s not the sound of heavy metal falling from the sky, it’s being drowned by a tsunami. It’s claustrophobic and spacious, dynamic and sledgehammer heavy.
‘Poltergeist’ is one of the record’s more turbulent moments. The centrepiece of the song is that verse riff, with guitars tuned so low it sounds like the strings are going to slide off the neck. The chorus soars, as Deftones choruses do, with emotion that’s intimated more than it’s poured out. There are hints of new wave (this is a band that’s recorded covers of Sade and Cocteau Twins) mixed with the energy of D.C. hardcore.
While most of their contemporaries have either faded into Wikipedia or turned to shit, Deftones have relentlessly pushed forward, subtly evolving their sound, never afraid to let new influences like dream pop or drone music in. They’ll never be cool, but cool music is overrated, and that’s kind of what makes them so appealing.
Adrian Gidaro (The Harbour Agency)
Band Of Skulls – ‘Bruises’ [LISTEN]
My smart playlist for 2012 albums sorted by most played tells me that Band Of Skulls’ ‘Bruises’ is my favourite track/album for the year. It’s raw, powerful, beautifully simple, and I sincerely hope that there are many more albums like it in 2013.
Joe Laney (Goodgod Small Club)
No Zu – ‘Fa Foma Fi’ [LISTEN]
I still remember hearing ‘Fa Foma Fi’ for the first time. I was totally in awe… That new York punk-funk bass line, the keys drenched in reverb like something out of King Tubby’s dub chambers, the afro-centric percussion, the David Byrne-esque voodoo chants, and that anthemic trumpet. How could something so exotic come out of suburban Melbourne?
Calling No Zu a ‘dance’ band doesn’t really hit the nail on the head. Granted ‘Fa Foma Fi’, like most of No Zu’s work is rhythmic and free flowing and it does summon the loosening of limbs. But it’s not the kind of dance akin to hands in the air euphoria, or fist-pumping boisterousness. No Zu’s dancefloor is completely chaotic and confusing. One big cauldron of sound and rhythm. Just when you think its all too much, you meet front-man Nicholas Ooges, whose trumpet befriends you and tells you ‘it’s all going to be okay.’ And it is okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. It’s good. Life is good.
Zara Seidler (Sister, Very Important Teenager)
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – ‘Thrift Shop’ ft. Wanz [LISTEN]
Definitely the years best song, disregarding the unnecessary playing time it has had on the radio. Bringing real rap (i.e. no flo Rida) onto mainstream radio, Macklemore’s addictive sax riffs and beats combine to make one hell of a song.
You start to hear them well before you seem them. It’s hard to mistake the sound – what else sounds like mechanical bees? Be thankful that they’re in the distance, that you can’t see them. But your heart’s pace quickens nonetheless. You can feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins. Sure, it’s a sound that’s in the distance. But that’s now. You will see them before too long.
You say nothing, fairly certain that whatever you said, some crack in your voice would betray your panic. Nobody needs that now. Imperceptibly, the bees are getting ever louder. They’re self-replicating, breeding. They built them that way, of course, with some pretty severe programming restrictions. Was it faulty programming, a programmer leaving out a comma? Or did the file go corrupt in one bee, now the ancestor of trillions?
You hear the sound of metal tearing in the distance. The one with the best eyes in your group? Suddenly, she pales. She can see the swarms. In a minute, you can too. That’s when your heart really starts pounding. You have ten minutes to prepare now, ten minutes before they’re here.
The only thing that will stop them, really, is a short-range electromagnetic pulse, caused by a high energy explosion. Like all the lightning in the world going off at once. The reason the bees are coming straight for you? The metal, the electricity needed to create the pulse is basically a mechanical bee’s wet dream. Oh, the bees they could create with your pulse-making machinery. Your heart pounds faster and faster as you set up the machine.
You can hear the scout bees now, buzzing around the building. They are going to gouge away the shell of the building for materials for their self-replication. Before long you hear the eerie sound of the concrete shell of the building being gouged away in a million. It won’t be long now.
You have to time this perfectly. You and the other four retreat to the treated cage. The bees – all of the swarm – have to be in range so the pulse wipes them. But the bees will attack the machine and anyone who stands in their way.
That’s why there’s five of you. It’s a suicide mission, they said, but living in a world with these bees is a suicide mission. And now the window of opportunity approaches. First, you send out the fastest. For a brief moment, you hear the roar of mechanical bees, until the door closes again.
Then, nothing. You hunt down the three or four mechanical bees that get inside the cage when the door opens. After 10 seconds, it’s clear that the first sacrifice failed. Now for number two. The process repeats and repeats. You’re the last one of the five now. The slowest, the one with the smallest chance of the five of setting off the machine. This is the only reason you’re the one left.
Instead of going out 10 seconds after your compatriot after hearing nothing, what do you do? You sit there for a minute. You know you are a worthless failure now. But you are paralysed.
The door opens from the outside.
See also: The One Song, 2011 – The Industry