Monday, 10 December 2012

Top 112 Songs of 2012 - #30 - 21

The Jezabels!

#30 - City Girl
by The Jezabels (AUS)

And someone will hand you a sweet proposition one day,
And you'll say, say G'day,
How you doin' Fortune? 

'City Girl' brings to mind the old story of the naive small town girl who moves to the big city with the intention of making it big. In a Hollywood film she'll get a job at bar and get discovered singing some silly empowering song when a performer dramatically walks out on a scheduled gig. The reality is, rarely does someone get their fairytale story and a happy ending. More often than not, the darkness of the city will swallow her whole and break her down until she doesn't even know who she is anymore. Hayley Mary and The Jezabels have written about the heartbreaking reality of a girl who loses her way in the surrounds of the city and its bright lights. This is more Pretty Woman than Burlesque, but without any redeeming conclusion for our leading lady. Allusions to a life as a prostitute are littered throughout as she says goodbye to "the sweet simple life that you knew" and truly becomes a city girl. Life is not a Hollywood movie. (Matt Bond)    


#29. Oblivion
by Grimes

See you on a dark night...

It’s awesome, because the album cover for Visions, which this single comes from, looks like something a metal band would release. It’s weird because Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) sometimes looks like she stepped out of the 90’s, even though the song takes its sounds from the 80’s. It’s awesome because even though the 80’s were responsible for some hilariously terrible sounds, Grimes has chosen the Blondies and the Kraftwerks to emulate. It’s weird because Claire’s childlike voice sings dark lyrics like “if someone could break your neck, coming up behind you always coming and you'd never have a clue” in a sweet innocent way. It’s awesome because it just is, alright? (Jo Michelmore)  

This is the first I’ve heard of Grimes, and I’m totally and utterly mesmerized. Loving the angelic voice over the funky electronic beats. I only wish I knew about this a few weeks ago when she toured. (Katie Langley)

When I hear 'Oblivion' I get this sudden urge to get in a cab, head into the Valley, consume copious beverages and dance. And then dance some more. Sometimes you just need a good dance and sometimes you just need to be told that you need to dance. Now. (Matt Bond)  

#28. We Are Young
Fun. ft. Janelle Monae

So let's set the world on fire,
We can burn brighter, than the sun. 

Sometimes you just need a reminder that you have to make the most of your day, your night, the week, the month, the year, your life. When the chorus to Fun.'s 'We Are Young' kicks in with "toniiiiiiight" you don't need anything else to appreciate what it means to live in the moment. To have as much fun (oy vey) as you possibly can. Because YOLO you only live once. Right? The catchiest of pop-rock, a chorus that lifts your spirit higher than it should possibly be able to go and Janelle Monae. Because everything is better with Janelle Monae. (Matt Bond)

The songs that define a year, that define a time, they have a certain sound, a something that makes them memorable. They’re songs that will be played a million times on the TV, that advertising companies will clamour over and they’re songs that will be sung along to years from now, in pubs and cars and lounge rooms, over and over again. From the very first pounding beats and lyrics that make you want to be involved, We Are Young is perfectly one of those songs, its anthemic chorus begging to be repeated and its theme making every listener feel a part of the song. It sounds exactly like now, if 2012 was a movie and had a theme song, this would be it. (Jo Michelmore)  


#27. Comeback Kid
by Sleigh Bells

I know you tried so hard, but you can't even win,
You gotta try a little harder, you're the comeback kid. 

It was kind of unavoidable that I like this song, as the person I share my house with loves Sleigh Bells. I’ve heard this song, lots. Luckily, I have a respect for the taste of the person I share my house with and sometimes, every now and then, we even like the same things. Here’s a perfect example of when that has happened. Comeback Kid is lots of rough guitars and big fat beats with Alex Krauss’ vocal floating above; it’s confronting and harsh and pop-like all at once and I’ve got to respect a band that calls a song from their second (comeback?) album ‘Comeback Kid’. (Jo Michelmore)   

This is a real mish mash of genres. It’s a kind of weird electro, rock mix offset with sweet vocals. But you know what? It works for me. (Katie Langley) 

Is there anything sexier than sugary sweet pop vocals over a heavy electronic-rock track? Maybe. But Sleigh Bells work their butts off to convince you that there isn't on 'Comeback Kid.' You can literally rock out to this, jumping up and down, fist-pumping like there's no tomorrow. Wait, sorry... you will rock out to this. P.s. Jo's totally talking about her boyfriend above. Hi Cordell! Sorry fellas, that saucy rock vixen is off the market. (Matt Bond)   

#26. Walk On By
by Noosa

So walk on by, I've got no reason to love you,
But I do, I do, I do... 

There will always be a deep appreciation from yours truly for a song that slowly builds upon itself, adding layer upon layer throughout. The track escalates with more instruments, a fuller sound, multiple vocal lines... it washes over you and for a moment you immerse yourself in someone else's world. Noosa's Sky Barbarick and Matt Buszko might not have been around for too long, but they know how to craft an engaging, layered tune and that's exactly what 'Walk On By' is. To make it even better, it puts me in one of those bizarre happy/sad state of minds. Stop acting like you're confused, it happens. You know, you don't even feel a little bit weird about listening to something that's tinged with sadness and when it's done you smile a little and find yourself wanting to do it all again. You still don't get me? It's like when you watch The Notebook every weekend while you eat a tub of ice-cream while drinking a bottle of red wine. You get me now, don't you? (Matt Bond)   

I remember hearing this track in the middle of the year and wishing it was summertime and I was lying on the grass somewhere staring at a blue sky. I don’t really know why. It just seemed like the dreamy kind of pop song I might do that to, on a Sunday afternoon. It still gives me that feeling now, Sky Barbarick’s sweet voice singing “so walk on by I’ve got no reason to love you but I do, I do, I do” somehow sticking in my head, it makes me yearn for a sunny day and a piece of grass. Where are you next weekend? I already know what I’m doing with you… (Jo Michelmore) 


#25. Take A Walk
by Passion Pit

I'm just too much a coward,
To admit when I'm in need. 

You know what I like about Passion Pit? Their lyrics are easy to remember. Do you recall that song they had about strawberries? That basically involved the words “wild” and “strawberries”. This song is much the same. I like that. I like knowing what to expect. Fun boppy music, with catchy repeatable lyrics. (Katie Langley) 

If we put aside lead singer Michael Angelakos’ emotional journey through life and constant internal battles, Passion Pit are a cute little indie band from Massachusetts and Take A Walk is a slice of indie pop perfection. If we mention lead singer Michael Angelakos’ emotional journeys and internal battles, what we have is a cute little indie band from Massachusetts and Take A Walk is a slice of life in America, dark lyrics combined with bouncy sounds which makes a delicious little song. What I’m saying is, Take A Walk is perfect indie pop and regardless of what Passion Pit go through in their personal lives, that indie pop perfection cannot be denied. (Jo Michelmore) 

I'm a lyrics man. I appreciate an artist that puts pen to paper and writes a song that speaks to my cold, cold heart. In the case of 'Take A Walk' I find myself paying very little attention to the lyrics because the music is just too good to ignore. I want to strut, dance, run, jump, do a back handspring (which would not end well)... whatever. It makes me want to move. When I do finally take the time to really listen to the words though, that's when I love 'Take A Walk' and love Passion Pit just a little bit more. (Matt Bond)    

#24. Warrior
by Kimbra, Mark Foster and A-Trak

What am I thinking,
If you're so sure it's rational... 

Beside the fact that this track is dance pop genius and one I dance to at home, on the dance floor, in my car and at work; the timing of this track in May this year was absolutely perfect for me. I’d almost killed Kimbra’s Vows, having listened to it that many times that I was verging on the point of dislike, but I just couldn’t stop myself from listening. I’d only just taken it off my own high rotation playlist and was almost ready to put my love for Kimbra to the side when I heard Warrior and suddenly, everything was refreshed and amazing again. Mark Foster and A-Trak, they’re alright you know, but Kimbra, as usual, is where it’s at and the clip features lucha libre. That’s Mexican wrestling for those who don’t speak Mexi-wrestle. Can’t. Not. Love. (Jo Michelmore) 

Converse's 3 Artists 1 Song campaigns have been hit or miss in the past, but 'Warrior' is nothing but a massive smash-you-in-the-face hit. Why, yes... it is because Kimbra takes the lead her, finding herself perfectly at home amongst A-Trak's electro goodness. That Foster the People fella does something in the chorus, but let's not pretend this isn't the Kimbra show. She performs it solo during live sets... it's her song. And it's awesome. (Matt Bond)   

Yeah! Passes the dance test! *robot arms* (Katie Langley)  


#23. Love Is A Devil
by Laneway (AUS)

Walking on fire is what you do,
You know I liked it till you stole my shoes. 

“Getting to know you was quite a battle, trying to lose you is another matter, love is a devil and the devil wants more”. That was all I needed to hear in August this year to know I’d found a new love and if love was the devil, then yes, I definitely wanted more of this talented little duo. Paul Hannan and Louise O'Reilly seamlessly blend country, folk, pop and heartbreak in this awesome mellow song and like I suggested earlier this year, they have this ability to write songs that slowly seep into your consciousness, gently wrap themselves around your heart and never let go. Love Is A Devil did just that and is one I keep returning to, just to hear that awesome first line again and again. Yes, Louise, the devil does want more.  (Jo Michelmore) 

They say that country music is the music of pain. They say that rock music is sexy. What happens when you combine the two?! It's a little confusing and hard to explain, but you get a track like 'Love Is A Devil' that features a story akin to the greatest country tales of the Cash era and sultry vocals that lure you in, working in tandem with a guitar line that makes you want to grab the nearest busty bar matron and do a sexy Spanish dance like Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zorro. What? I said it was confusing. But I love it. (Matt Bond)  

#22. Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You
by The Hello Morning (AUS)

Right in my arms is where you belong.

This is a pretty bold statement to make, but I’m going to do it. I only heard The Hello Morning’s rendition of “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You” a couple of weeks ago, but it’s already made its way into my list of favourite songs. Ever. Yes! I told you. Bold statement. Sometimes I find that this song really chokes me up. It speaks straight to my heart. It makes me close my eyes and croon right along. (Don’t judge me) (Katie Langley)

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a band does that thing where they cover a song and do it almost better than the original. They perform it like it came straight from their hearts and make it truly their own. How incredible for a band from Melbourne to take a song originally performed in 1970 by a soul singer from Alabama and then totally break my heart with it. When Steven Clifford, alone with piano, sings that line “I'm tellin' you don't let the green grass fool you, don't let it change your mind” I gasp a little and know this is what music is meant to be. It’s meant to be songs from any year and performers from anywhere, taking your breath away. The Hello Morning manage to do just that numerous times in this beautiful ballad. This is beauty in music. Sigh. (Jo Michelmore) 


#21. Cast The Net
by Sarah Blasko (AUS)

You're a victim of your changing heart.

There are those songs that you feel have been written specifically for you. You hear the words and wonder if someone out there is taking a good look at your life and putting it into a song. You sit and listen, over and over again, until you know it word for word. It's easy to learn something that you feel you've already told yourself a hundred times. When you stop and accept that someone else is feeling exactly how you are, it's pretty awesome. You're not alone and right now, there is someone in exactly the same situation that thinks the way you do. Sarah Blasko and I have been here before, but 'Cast The Net' hits just that little bit closer to home. For an artist who has never been short of ambition, this song stands out for its lack of 'bells and whistles.' It's just Sarah Blasko, a Bulgarian String Orchestra, a simple piano melody and a collection of words that I'm sure speak directly to so many people. You're not alone, Sarah Blasko is right there with you. It's beautiful and it's why I love music. (Matt Bond)  

Perhaps I am a victim of a change of heart, because I’m cursing myself for not having my own change of heart and becoming a fan of Sarah Blasko’s sooner. With the help of the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, this is the type of song that has convinced me of Sarah’s beauty, her emotional vulnerability on show, her haunting vocal encouraging yet tender, without sounding overconfident she holds me in the palm of her hand, safe and secure. Cast The Net is tremendous, it’s flawless and it’s fabulous, if this is Sarah Blasko I’m more than happy to now call myself a fan. (Jo Michelmore)  

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