2012 is coming to a close. Musically, new acts made a name for themselves and pop veterans returned with a vengeance. The next 30 songs burned up radio, tore up the clubs, or blew up in the blogosphere this past year. It’s a mix of songs you’ve most likely heard with tracks you ought to know. The list continues with Calvin Harris, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran, and Phillip Phillips.
No. 10 Christina Aguilera – “Cease Fire” / Lotus
After she was dragged through the mud for 2010’s electronica Bionic album, Christina Aguilera released the pop-driven Lotus this year. Among the empowering anthems on the record is an endearing armistice to end all mudslinging entitled “Cease Fire.” Backed by an army-like drum line and surrounded by ghostly production, The Voice judge’s gargantuan vocals masterfully emote a woman down and ready to raise her white flag. “I’m gonna announce somebody hurt me/I need you now,” Aguilera admits with complete vulnerability. It was a genuine moment for the strong-willed singer.
No. 9 Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch – “Sweet Nothing” / 18 Months
Scottish DJ Calvin Harris teamed up with powerhouse singer Florence Welch for the song, “Sweet Nothing,” from his 18 Months album. The surprise pairing made was a match made in EDM heaven. Welch takes the house track’s heartbroken lyrics and turns the sorrow into a declaration of independence. “So I put my faith into something unknown, I’m living on such sweet nothing,” she sings over Harris’ sonic assault of relentless synths. It made for one hell of a breakup jam.
No. 8 Ed Sheeran – “The A Team” / +
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has been making waves with his music in the U.K. since last year, but he is just recently catching on in the U.S. through his collaborations with pop acts Taylor Swift and One Direction. Now with a Grammy nomination under his belt for “The A Team,” his intelligent song composition is getting the attention it deserves. In the soft rock ballad with elements of folk music, Sheeran’s dark lyrics detail a girl’s downfall from drug addiction. “And they say she’s in the Class A Team / Stuck in her daydream,” he softly sings, turning a touchy subject into an honest and tactfully written pop tune.
No. 7 Demi Lovato – “Give Your Heart a Break” / Unbroken
Pop singer Demi Lovato released her Unbroken album at the tail end of last year, which allowed its second single to prosper in 2012. “Give Your Heart a Break” was crafted by “Like a Virgin” writer Billy Stein with Josh Alexander. The X Factor judge puts her own stamp on the track as her big voice seamlessly glides over its sophisticated strings and piano. The pop ballad becomes especially spellbinding with the sweeping grandeur behind its colossal chorus. “Give” offered a unique sound compared to the electronic music that occupied the radio airwaves this year. It was a refreshingly mature outing for Lovato as well.
No. 6 Phillip Phillips – “Home” / The World from the Side of the Moon
This year’s American Idol winner, Phillip Phillips, released the coolest coronation song ever with his show victory. While most of the past champion singles have been cheesy pop ballads and covers, Phillips put out the folksy “Home” as his hello to the music industry. The serene tune is the most relevant song from the series, capturing that indie rock thump from inspirations like Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire. “Just know you’re not alone ’cause I’m gonna make this place your home,” he sings with a raw warmth in his voice. Phillips definitely hit home with this standout track.
Did your favorites make the cut? Stay tuned tomorrow as the 2012 countdown continues with the finale: Nos. 5-1!
Listen to Nos. 10-6 on Spotify here
Here’s the list for Nos. 5-1: link
Here’s the list for Nos. 15-11: link
Here’s the list for Nos. 20-16: link
Here’s the list for Nos. 25-21: link
Here’s the list for Nos. 30-26: link
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