Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ending 2012 on a high note: My favorite downloads of the year (Part 2)

Yesterday I posted the first half of my favorite downloaded tracks of 2012, which you can read here

As a reminder, before we go into part 2, to qualify for "favorite download" status, the song had to be downloaded by me this year. This doesn't necessarily mean every song on here is new - it's more a reflection of what I was listening to this year, and in some cases, oversights on what I thought I had in my music collection. With that, here we go!

Note: You can scroll to the end of this article to hear the full list of songs on Spotify.

The Lumineers - Ho HeyI still call this song, "Greetings, Prostitute", but you can't ignore that it's a classic.

Madness - Uno Paso AdelanteDid you know Madness recorded a Spanish version of One Step Beyond?!?!? Neither did I! I also love that it's 16 seconds longer than the original.

Madonna - Give Me All Your Luvin': Remember how I said that Kylie Minogue's been phoning it in for a few years now? Well Madonna's been doing the same for dog years, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself downloading this one.

The Monkees - Star Collector and The Rubinoos - ValleriTV does a horrible thing to your memory. Davy Jones will forever be the teen heart-throb lead singer of The Monkees, until you realize he's not around anymore. This song was one of the few big Monkee songs that I didn't have. I downloaded this on the day Davy died. As for the Rubinoos, they do a nice cover of Valleri.

Mumford and Sons - I Will Wait and The BoxerIs the hipster revolution dying out? And if it is, will Mumford and Sons' banjo-tinged melodies capture the ears of young music lovers? It remains to be seen, but these two songs stack up with their best music from a couple of years ago. Besides, you can't go wrong covering Simon and Garfunkel's Boxer.

Muse - MadnessThis, hands down, is my favorite song of the year. I keep playing it...over and over and over. It's infectious. Muse wears their U2 influence on their sleeve on this album, but this track goes beyond anything Bono and crew have written in a very long time.

Nena - Das ist Nicht Alles: Since I'm throwing superlatives out right now, at the mercy of being ridiculed, I'll say this: This is the best Nena song that's come out in years. And I like Nena! And I'm one of the few people on this continent that can name way more than one Nena song off the top of my head that's not 99 Luftballoons. Look, I know I have a soft spot for Nena - she became popular around the time I was living in Germany. She was one of the few German acts back then that had catchy tunes and enunciated, which meant that I could understand...and learn what she was singing. There are worse ways to learn German. Download this's German pop at its finest. And, Nena trivia time...did you know she's a judge on the German version of The Voice?

Neon Trees - Everybody Talks: I should have added this to yesterday's trifecta of ubiquitous songs of 2012, but I'm not sure this one captured the zeitgeist (see, continuing with the German theme!) as much as the others. Incredibly catchy though!'

Newcleus - Jam On It: Ever have a song that's in your everyday vernacular? Sadly, this one's in mine. I'm not sure a week goes by where I don't say or sing "wicki, wicki, wicki, wicki, SHUT UP!" Despite that, I never owned the track. And did you know that this song is eight minutes long? That's a lot of song just to own "wicki, wicki, wicki, wicki, SHUT UP!"

The Offspring - Days Go ByThere are bands you expect to stay in one decade an never hear from them again. That's what I've always felt about the 90s and The Offspring, at least until they put out this track that channels The Cult and Green Day more than anything The Offspring put out in the 90s. Pretty fly for band of old white guys...

Rick James - Give It to Me Baby (Instrumental)Words can't describe how much I love this version of this song. To call it an instrumental just doesn't do it credit. That's because there's enough vocals in here to not call it an instrumental. Rick was at his funkiest in this track, but my favorite part comes in around 2:16. It's worth downloading just for that! You can just hear the piles of coke in the studio where this was recorded!

Robyn - Dancing On My OwnSome songs you just associate with a movie or a TV show. This song is now lockstep with HBO's Girls for me.

Sam and the Womp - Bom BomIf you don't know this song yet, you will. It's as infectious as anything out there. It has that "Big in Europe" label attached to it, but I think it will catch on here to. It reminds me of Dee-Lite's Groove is in the Heart. And I like their style of womping.

School of Seven Bells - Kiss Them for MeTake one of Siouxsie and the Banshees best songs, ramp up what makes it great and here's what you end up with. 

Sisters of Mercy - This CorrosionAs long as I've had a CD player or something to play digital audio, I've had this song. What I didn't have was the 11 minute version. Yes, there's an 11 minute version of this Meat Loafy/Gothy goodness. Hey now, gimme the ring!

The Sockapellas - F**k YouNo this isn't a Cee Lo cover, this is a Lily Allen cover. Even better, it's a sock puppet a cappella version of a Lilly Allen song. This is a last minute addition to my faves of 2012 thanks to the film, Pitch Perfect. It's everything great about a singing club movie or TV show that Glee is not. Imagine Bring it On but with singing and that's what you get.

The Sugarhill Gang - Apache: Sometimes you have a craving for old school rap. It don't get much older school than this. And sometimes that craving isn't particularly politically correct.

Sweet - Wig-Wam Bam and BlockbusterSpeaking of politically incorrect, here's a story for you. A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded The Best of The Sweet. For those of you who don't know...they were a minor big deal in the 70s, particularly in Britain. Many of you may know The Sweet as the band that originally sang Ballroom Blitz, a song featured in Wayne's World:

So anyway, I was getting my Sweet fix on, when I suddenly had a flashback as Wig-Wam Bam was playing: "Hey, I remember our teacher making us sing this song in chorus when I was a kid!"  Then it dawned on me that it probably wasn't the most culturally-, or sexually-sensitive or appropriate song for an 11 year old to sing. Times were different then, I guess. Regardless, Blockbuster's still a great song. I never understood why Blockbuster Video never procured it for using in ads. I mean, hell, one of the key lyrics is "does anyone know the way to Blockbuster!?!?" Maybe if they had used the song they'd still be in business...

Tone-Loc - On FireI have a good friend who shares my love of late-80s hip-hop. We'll chat about, quote and spout trivia Tone Loc, Young MC, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, etc. Well, the other day, the "Deluxe Edition" of Tone-Loc's first album, Loc-ed After Dark caught my eye at the iTunes Music Store. And like most people, the only Tone-Loc songs I had were Funky Cold Medina and Wild Thing. I mean, yeah, somewhere in my parents' attic there must be a dusty cassette of that album, but it hadn't been heard in years. So I downloaded the Tone Deluxe! I had forgotten how good this album was, particularly this track. I'm still down with the L-O-C!

Van Halen - TattooSince we're stuck in the 80s right now, it seems a perfect time to visit this song. This is off of this year's Van Halen album with Diamond Dave back on vocals. The albums a hot mess, but this track, which I believe was a reworked demo from the 70s, would have fit perfectly on 1984 or Diver Down.

Ellen and the Escapades - Addicted to Love: As promised, let's end on a high note. Here's a clip I discovered on Youtube this year. It's a nice little cover of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love. It starts slow, but let it play out.

Happy New Year everyone!