Here we are again with another year passed and 20 more songs to present to you as our choices for the best songs of 2012.
2012 was definitely a very hectic year that was full of so. much. music. So much that at points it became overwhelming but thankfully it’s just about over so we can start the process all over again!
Just like every year, the selections were made based on 3 main criteria:
1. Replay Value – how many times did you replay the song over and over?
2. Longevity – how long did the song last before you got sick of it?
3. Lyric Reciting – do you know all of the lyrics?
With these criteria in mind, below is Hillydilly.com’s top 20 songs of 2012. If we missed anything or we’re way off on some of our selections let us hear it in the comment box below.
“White Walls” starts off auspiciously with Mack rapping about his affection for Cadillac’s over a crescendoing beat. When the beat finally drops, Hollis soars in on the chorus and turns this track into a MONSTER. Mack follows up the epic chorus with double time raps over the thumping combination of richter scale bass and ass shaking percussion. “White Walls” is a instant classic and truly rings out to me as the best song in 2012.
Whenever you hear a song for the first time that instantly gives you goosebumps, you know it’s going to stick with you. With “Ready To Rock” it’s impossible to not listen to this track and not get completely hype. This is one of those songs that you can never get sick of. The beat that Oddisee provides on “Ready To Rock” is beyond epic; it’s the equivalence of musical bliss and perfection. The second verse on this track is mind blowing — how he can rap that fast, make sense of it and keep the subject matter within the theme of the song is unbelievable. Oddisee is one of the best rappers is the world and “Ready To Rock” is the best example of this so far.
When a song can change slang and culture from rap lyrics, you know that it’s much more than just another rap song. Besides “Ya Bish” being the most memorable part of this song on the surface, it’s the writing that really makes this song a huge standout. You will remember Kendrick’s chorus on this one for the rest of your life. It go Halle Berry or hallelujah… see it’s already in your head.
By the time “2020” dropped we were all sold on Sol because by then “Stage Dive” was already released and we were all loving that. Then he dropped “2020” a couple weeks before ‘Yours Truly’ and then from there on out it was a wrap. Led by the super clean production of Neema Skeemz, “2020” is Sol’s masterpiece. Chances are pretty good you can rap this song word for word. Sol’s writing on “2020” is memorable, admirable and resonates on you as the true reflection of a man who was destined to write rap songs. Life is what you make it, you can give it you can take it, or you can waste it chasing bitches or listening to what I’m saying…
“Ten Thousand Hours” is a celebration. I have been listening to Macklemore for a long time (no that doesn’t make me special) and have been lucky enough to be apart of his career in small regards so this song to me is a celebration of what has happend to Macklemore in the last few years. It’s a “Yes we fucking made it” (from his point of view, NOT MINE) kind of song that makes you stretch your arms out and breathe a sigh of relief. Ryan’s production on this one fits perfectly. A lived for art is never a life wasted….
“Paint” had to be one of the easiest songs to love in 2012 because every time that vocal sample dropped a wave of excitement always rushed over you instantly because you knew for that two minutes and forty seconds that it was going to be great. With references to Bob Ross and letting you know to don’t ever waste your life, “Paint”, is a track that will forever resonate as one of 2012’s best.
Diafrix one upped everyone else in 2012 and gave us the best ‘feel good song’ of the year, with “I’m A Dreamer”. When you have one of the best pop crossover producers on the planet providing an immaculate beat like this, it becomes a normal occurrence to play this song over and over. “…I live my life, live my life to the fullEST, I walk around all peaceful like a budIST.”
“Shoulda Known” is a slightly ominous track with minimalistic production and low key demeanour — so seeing this song on our year end list might surprise you, but hear me out. On “Shoulda Known” it was all about Childish Gambino’s delivery. With memorable line after memorable line, Donald was absolutely captivating on this. “Shoulda Known” was a shoe in for this list.
“Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” was another huge record in 2012 for Kendrick Lamar and is also arguably one of Kendrick’s most impressive songs on GKMC. The bridge in this song fucking nuts. Its one of those songs that just glues you into the vibe. “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” cements Kendrick as one of the best rappers alive today.
For pop hits in 2012, it’s hard not to argue that RAC’s collaboration with Penguin Prison was one of the years best in that department. With catchy hooks, lucrative melodies & memorable lyrics, this track is the kind of song radio should be playing.
The sky rocketing UK production duo, Disclosure, gave us the best song in 2012 to get HELLA down on the dance floor with. The vocal blast on chorus is body possessing good. Singer Sam Smith has definitely arrived with the vocal performance he dropped on this one. Although this song came out a few months ago, it’s still on steady replay.
“Get Free” was the Summer anthem of 2012 and it was a song that got better with each listen. The amalgamation of beautiful sounds on this one was orgasmic. It makes me wish I had this song when I was younger during the “mushroom phase” — oh my!. Originally when I posted this I said “Get Free is a tantalizing piece of music that may just undress your consciousness and leave you stuck within the music”. I don’t think I can top that description.
With Chiddy Bang’s debut album, it was the title track (“Breakfast) that took home the title for being the best track off the album. The big reason behind that was the mega-ultra-filthy beat from Xaphoon Jones who slayed dragons with this one. Mornings with Lucky Charms will never be the same again. “LETS HAVE BREAKFAST“.
Was it the video? Was it the thrift store steez? Naw it’s just that guy Macklemore making smash radio hits and taking over music on the whole. No big deal here. Actually “Thrift Shop” was arguably one of the years best singles across all genre’s of music. “This is fucking awesome”
Ghost Beach took over most of the Summer with their soaring single “Been There Before”. When your music is described as tropical grit-pop you know its going to be bad ass and indeed it was. “Been There Before” receives the grit from singer, Josh Ocean, the pop from the 80’s synths and the tropical comes from Eric Mendelsohn’s hair. The fact that this song isn’t on the radio right now just shows you how out of touch these labels and radios are. To me this is a hit song, no question.
“Swimming Pools” was the lead single for GKMC and instantly set the tone for what was to be a very good debut album that would go on to sell 240k copies in it’s first week. Kendrick displays his immaculate gift for rapping with the 2 verses on this one.
Just when you think Macklemore couldn’t get anymore honest, he goes and writes this one. The crazy thing about “Starting Over” is that not many people around him even knew about his relapse and actually found out from this song. With the driving force of honesty & a beautiful chorus from Ben Bridwell, “Starting Over” is a encapsulating song that evokes heavy emotion.
K’naan’s biggest mark on 2012 was not left by his 4th album, Country, God or the Girl, it was left by “Nothing To Lose” from his More Beautiful Than Silence EP that dropped back in January. With an unforgettable chorus and a timeless verse from Nas, “Nothing To Lose” was one of 2012’s best.
“Thin Line” is another great pop sensible record from The Heist. With a sing along chorus and relatable content, Macklemore displays his hit writing abilities once again with another song that could be played on the radio.
2012 was a breakout year for Diafrix and what kicked it all off for them was the debut single, “Running” that set the tone for what was to be their superb sophomore album, Pocket Full Of Dreams.