Top 15 Songs of 2012

P.G. Wodehouse

To my daughter Leonora, without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.

 

So. . . title is self-explanatory, right?

15. Halie LorenFeeling Good

As far as I’m concerned, Halie Loren is jazz.

14. Riddle the SphinxOne Man Band

A sad little paean which kicks up into rock ballad territory halfway. Showcases Christiane’s voice and pianowork, as well as Christo’s “world percussion.” He’s the only drummer I know who hits the cymbals with his hands.

13. Paulina LoganRoad in the Sky

Paulina is known for her sad songs of longing, but with the exception of “Shut the Door,” this is her hardest rockin’ tune, incredibly catchy as she sings about the “trip” she’s embarking on. . . and I’m gonna keep on going here just so I don’t end in a preposition.

12. Cindy AlexanderGrow Up

Not to take anything away from the verses, but Cindy’s strength has always been in the chorus–or as they call it now, the “hook”–and this song is another great example. The only other of my fave musicians who is such a master is Kari Kimmel.

11. Shannon CurtisBook of Fiction

If you subscribe to the theory of infinite universes predicated on every choice you make–or counter-factuals–this is the song for you. Still a love song, though; be warned. {Shannon is still giving away her entire new live album, at the link above.}

10. Scout SmithLoverboy

Everything you need to know about Scout’s voice and song-crafting ability is right here in this very heartfelt tune. Can get overly dramatic, but hopefully she’ll prune that as she leaves her teens.

9. Kat ParsonsLove Changes Everything

Kat-nip is the cutest little thing to hit the airwaves since. . . you get the picture. Whereas it was a bit incongruous to see that sweet face singing about her former lover on her last album, this song–and video–is so perfectly Kat. . .

8. Riddle the SphinxProfessional Pretender

After an unintentional laugh at the thought of a lawyer singing about a liar. . . I had no idea my buddy Christiane could craft such elaborate lyrics, or that she knew how much I love internal rhymes.

7. MeikoLeave the Lights On

If there’s anyone who could beat Kat-nip for the title of “cuteness personified,” Meiko is the challenger. Don’t remember how young she was when I first met her, when she was waitressing at Hotel Café, but I am in shock to find she’s in her 30s now, cuz she looks exactly the same. On the other hand, as much as I’ve loved her previous songs, this one shows her evolution as a crafter of fine tunes. One of the very rare songs I loved the first time I heard it.

6. Lindsey Yung—Hold

The music can get a little slow and ponderous, and Lindsey’s vocals go a bit drama queen–especially in complete contrast to her Scent of Summer–but in this case those qualities fit well with the lyrics and make the song what it is. {You can get a free download at her website—link is on her name.}

5. RushThe Wreckers

Sometimes it takes me 10 years to get into a Rush song; this one did the trick immediately. I supposed it helps that I understood what was going on in the lyrics right away, as well as the historical background of it. I specifically love the way Neil took a chance by making some of the verses with the same rhyme in all four lines, which is not easy.

4. Natalie GelmanLaugh So Hard You Cry

Speaking of emotional vocals! Natalie has a gift for converting real life into catchy tunes. Check out Streetlamp Musician and The Lion as well.

3. Riddle the SphinxSkies of Aleyeska

Five or six years ago I heard Christiane solo this song at a Borders, and never heard it again until this CD. You can almost transport yourself to the tiny island–Scotland or Ireland, I forget–although I imagine most women wouldn’t find it a compliment to have their blue eyes described as “glacier.” That fact, as well as having been on quite a few of those desolate islands, gives me a chill every time I hear this song.

2. Far Beyond FrailA Changed Man

Speaking of loving a song the first time. . . This duo has always been fantastic with music and vocals, but this time it’s the lyrics that shine the brightest. I can hear the anger and frustration in Sharilynn’s every note as she divests herself of the man she can no longer love. . .

1. Marina VRun

Vaguely stalkerish in the most catchy way; in fact, she almost makes the stalker seem sympathetic, especially if it’s her in the role. If you listen closely there’s a touch of wurly-like keyboard that lightens the tone a bit.

So this is the second time in three years that Marina V has taken the title of my fave song of the year. Wonder how she does it. . .

;o)

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