Congratulations, you've survived the apocalypse. Now, it's time to celebrate the end of the year (but not the world) with the best songs of 2012. We remember how alt-pop songwriters made it big, indie-rock heavy weights returned with awesome new records, beloved songwriters reappeared, and fresh new voices redefined hip-hop. To get the party started, we collected the tracks that stuck with us, listen after listen. Read on and let us know what other songs you had on repeat. Then, take our Spotify mix on the road. Dancing not required, but definitely recommended.
29. Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”
Technically, "Call Me Maybe" wasn't even released in 2012, but don't tell that to the Olympic swim team. Quite simply, no track had the staying power, the catchiness, or the charm of Carly Rae Jepsen's mild-mannered anthem. Love it or hate it, "Call Me Maybe" was undeniable.
28. Tomas Barfod — “November Skies” [MP3]
"November Skies" was subtle and infectious in all the right ways: a perfect mix of mid-tempo house and Swedish pop that expertly employed Nina Kinert's pillowy vocals. The track also spawned a great remix EP featuring folks like Jerome LOL, Nite Jewel, and Sepalcure that is well worth checking out, too.
27. HAIM — “Forever”
These Los Angeles sisters have been on the scene for a while, but 2013 is looking like the year they'll blow up. And if they do, "Forever" will be the reason. The song's '80s pop and funk grooves has already brought the HAIM sisters from the clubs of L.A. to the pages of Vogue (not to mention Refinery29).
26. Tanlines — “All Of Me” [MP3]
Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm's tropical pop project took a huge leap forward with the release of the band's debut LP, Mixed Emotions. "All Of Me" is the best of what they do: danceable, anthemic, and, yes, emotional.
25. Wild Nothing — “Paradise” [MP3]
Earlier this year Jack Tatum's dream pop act, Wild Nothing, released a great sophomore album, Nocturne, and "Paradise" shows the band to be capable, yet again, of boyish melodies that hearken back to the days of C86 indie pop. Jangly guitar and bittersweet lyrics at their best.
24. Blood Orange — “Champagne Coast”
This isn't the last time you'll see producer/writer/bandleader Dev Hynes on this list, but "Champagne Coast" was a standout for his R&B-leaning debut as Blood Orange. For smooth vibes and subtle pop, Hynes owned 2012.
23. Azealia Banks — “Van Vogue”
While Azealia didn't quite reach the impossible heights of her first smash, "212," 2012 saw a series of singles that broached new territory and solidified her star status. On top of fantastic production from Machinedrum, Banks' flow on "Van Vogue" is an unstoppable cascade of high fashion and pure personality.
22. Beach House — “Lazuli”
There's something to be said for consistency, and Beach House may be the most even-tempered band in music today. Beach House completely owns its dreamy corner of the universe that 100 more songs like "Lazuli" couldn't make us happier.
21. How To Dress Well — “& It Was U” [MP3]
Tom Krell is known for his heartbreaking experimental R&B, but occasionally he throws together a pop song that's more dance-y than it is dire. "& It Was U" is his catchiest track to date, and also his best.
Illustrated by Riikka Sormunen
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