5. Diiv – Oshin
A late entry to this list, and one that may not stay this high at year’s end. But Oshin is exciting and emotive, even with few lyrics.
4. David Crowder*Band – Give Us Rest
The Waco band’s big finale goes on a little too long, but it must have been hard to close out a career filled with such highlights at A Collision and Church Music. Still, it’s fitting for the greatest Christian band of all time to close on such a high note.
3. fun. – Some Nights
Rising from the ashes of The Format (perhaps the greatest forgotten band of the ’00s) and improving on their debut Aim and Ignite, Nate Ruess finally got the audience he deserved. Here’s to their bright future.
2. Sarah Jaffe – The Body Wins
Working with St. Vincent producer John Congleton, the Dallas area’s greatest singer-songwriter goes deeper and darker on her follow-up to 2010’s masterful Suburban Nature.
1. Beach House – Bloom
Dreamy rock like this should lull you to sleep, but the California duo force you to pay attention with layered compositions that transport you to another world entirely.
5. Gotye featuring Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
Are you sick of this song? You shouldn’t be. Gotye represents a new hope for Top 40 radio. Here’s a song the man wrote himself, featuring not Rihanna, but a fellow singer-songwriter. This is a song that uses actual honest-to-God instruments, not a beat produced by a glorified wedding DJ. Plus, it’s the best kiss-off song to hit the airwaves in quite a while and made for the second-best music-related meme of the year (see below for the No. 1)
4. David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Who”
A taste of a great collaboration to come.
3. Beach House – “Myth”
The best cut from the year’s best album.
2. fun. – “Some Nights (Album Version)”
Adding the choral intro, the band’s second single becomes a powerful, bombastic pop tune. It all but defined me for the first few months of 2012.
1. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”
Go ahead. Try to resist it. You can’t. Jepsen will likely end up as a one-hit wonder, but what a hit.