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The Best Fit Fifty: Tracks of 2012

The Best Fit Fifty: Tracks of 2012

10 December 2012, 12:02

Sticking to last year’s guns we’re not going to be so trite as to rehearse the old argument about iTunes having killed the album, but we can’t ignore the fact that the way we listen to music today is almost unidentifiable to the way in which we listened but just a few years ago. Single sales might be collapsing but with mp3 blogs going from strength to strength, the cult of the DJ enjoying a continued resurgence and the endless stock of individual remixes that have dominated our pages, the stock of the individual track is as strong as ever

Whilst some of the greatest albums of the year have struggled to hold our collective attention, some of our favourite artists have been honing the art of the discrete track to perfection, whilst a whole handful of newcomers have offered up the most addictive, moreish songs we’ve ever heard. And whether you believe the cult of the new has turned us all into consumers with the attention span of a goldfish or not, quite frankly, makes no difference, because for us this is what 2012 was made of, in all its ephemeral and enduring beauty.

Check out the full list of tracks via the Soundcloud player below – all grouped together into one handy playlist.

Wolf Alice – Leaving You

London based newcomers Wolf Alice more than deliver with ‘Leaving You’. A track that possesses that rare but oh so perfect blend of elation and forlorn sentiments: wrapping up melancholic lyrics in warm, breathy vocals and Americana inspired sonics with a twist.
- Lauren Down

The Magnetic Fields – Quick!

Taken from this years Love At The Bottom of the Sea, ‘Quick!’ is another example of Stephen Merritt’s sharp lyricism, the uplifting bass-heavy synths and talk of sarcastic sharks saving phrases like “you better think of something quick! / Before I don’t love you know more” from crushing you emotionally.
- Lauren Down

Taken By Trees – Dreams

A stand-out moment from one of the year’s most beautiful records, Taken By Trees’ third album Other Worlds immersed itself in full on tropicalia: heaven sent melodies, soothing pedal steel guitar and oceanic waves of synth flirting gently over a dub backdrop – all blending effortlessly to recount Bergsman’s time in Hawaii.
- Rich Thane

Dinosaur Jr. – Rude

Lifted from this year’s excellent I Bet On Sky album, ‘Rude’ was perhaps the surprise stand-out on a release that elsewhere (reassuringly) lacked innovation from the indie-rock veterans. Infectious, warm-toned and almost wholly lacking in bluster, this was as close to a “perky folk tune” as we are likely to ever hear from Dinosaur Jr. An upbeat, short and to-the-point, delight.
- Jude Clarke

John Talabot – Destiny

An album with its origins aimed directly towards the dancefloor, John Talabot’s fin was undoubtedly one of the most satisfying electro releases of the year. ‘Destiny’ – a song co-produced with fellow Spanish DJ Pional – is just one of many highlights on a record that hits hard at the jugular and never lets up. Irresistible and captivating from the off, a future club classic if ever there was one.
- Rich Thane

Lykke Li – Silver Springs

Although profusely keeping her private life as just that, tales of burned out love are something Lykke Li has pretty much built her entire career on. With that in mind, there was no artist better suited to cover the Stevie Nicks classic than she. Ridding the original of its smooth FM soft rock vibes – breaking the melody down to its bare bones – Lykke recites fragile after brutally fragile verse. The result so deeply effecting that it, almost perversely, demands repeated plays – just so you can feel as bad as her.
- Rich Thane

HAERTS – Wings

A brand new duo straight outta Brooklyn, HAERTS’ first offering ‘Wings’ has had us chomping at the bit for more since we first heard it back in early October. If you can imagine how M83 might sound if fronted by Belinda Carlisle you’d be halfway towards approaching the splendour that St. Lucia’s flawless production and Nini Fabi’s power-ballad vocals reach over the course of the song’s five minutes. More please.
- Rich Thane

Savages – City’s Full (Live)

With only a handful of recorded tracks under their high-waisted belts, here Savages reiterate to the foolish few that haven’t seen them yet what the very many know all too well: that they’re the best touring band at the moment. Ferocious, bleak and fuelled with bile and movement – ‘City’s Full’ is the future sound of British guitar music.
- Luke Morgan Britton

Disclosure – Latch

One of the most impressive options in the current crop of bass-inflected pop acts, young London siblings Disclosure released ‘Latch’ featuring the vocal talents of Sam Smith via PMR Records back in November. With glitchy cyclic beats, warm synths and romantic pop driven lyrics, it’s a future club anthem if ever we heard one.
- Lauren Down

Purity Ring – Fineshrine

A dark and sinister track, this. Opening with curious “Yip yip” percussive vocalisations, Corin Roddick’s hard electronic sounds juxtapose with Megan James’ naïve, often-child-like vocals to conjure up an unsettling, something-here-is-definitely-not-quite-right atmosphere. Now listen to what Megan’s actually saying: “Cut open my sternum”… “Pull my little ribs around you”… A metaphor for obsessive love or something more literal, visceral? Either way, Purity Ring’s uniquely curious track is as concerning as it is blackly addictive.
- Jude Clarke

M.I.A – Bad Girls

The dawn of 2012 was all about the return of the ever wonderful M.I.A. Her most instantly accessible song to date, ’Bad Girls’ had it all. Brilliant, bombastic pop chorus lines that punctuate the overall middle-eastern inspired, mid-tempo r’n’b vibe. And then there was that video. Flawless.
- Rich Thane

Doldrums – Jump Up

Montreal noise-merchant Doldrums’ ‘Jump Up’ first appeared as a b-side to ‘Egypt’ back in May. A baffling tout de force of relentless acid drenched beats and psychedelic wails. ‘Jump Up’ is the sound of a riot taking place on the dancefloor… The kind of thing Kasabian have spent the past 10 years trying oh so desperately to make.
- Rich Thane

San Zhi – Ice Light

Bournemouth via Egypt boy-girl duo San Zhi blew us away with their debut EP Ice Light, the title track from which has earned its place our list through its dreamy, reverb drenched pop, wonderfully understated eighties nods and siren like vocal harmonies.
- Lauren Down

Luke Abbott – Modern Driveway

With its bulbous, gloriously analogue melody – all rough around the edges and unassuming – Abbott once again captured pure melancholy in aural form. ‘Modern Driveway’ is the sound of early morning, no-sleep heartache set against a rolling, distinctly English panorama.
- Josh Hall

Chvrches – The Mother We Share

A brilliant mix of bedroom producer electronics and the kind of fizzy melodies you’d expect to hear on the Disney channel, these hotly tipped Glaswegians defined the term ‘indie pop hit’ in 2012. About as addictive as a can of Irn Bru dropped in a deep-fat fryer.
- Luke Morgan Britton

Little Nikki – Intro Intro

The video for ‘Intro Intro’ – the debut single from Little Nikki saw one Nicole Shortland roaming the streets of North London whilst mainlining Red Bull and pic n mix, intimidating OAP’s and playing baseball with fruit stolen from a market stall… All of which might seem like standard fare for most 16 year olds nowadays, but add to the mix one of the most infectious ballsy pop songs of the year and you’ve got yourself a sterling introduction to an artist that remained unsigned for all of about 6 weeks.
- Rich Thane

The Neighbourhood – Female Robbery

Intelligent and expertly crafted AOR that doesn’t make you want to gauge your eyes out is a rare phenomena. Just ask Ben Gibbard. California’s The Neighbourhood more than pulled it out of the bag though with ‘Female Robbery’. A dark and brooding number that channeled Maroon 5 pop sensibilities with hip hop ‘swagger’. Somehow, it worked. Massively.
- Rich Thane

King Krule – Rock Bottom

Teenage angst in its most danceable form, ‘Rock Bottom’ is the sound of one Archy Marshall having the worse day of his life. Schizophrenic in its delivery, the track arrives in dangerous Jamie T territory before breaking free of its shackles come the chorus with a thuggish breakbeat so offensive you’re not sure whether to dance or punch yourself in the face. Or both.
- Rich Thane

Postiljonen – How Will I Know / All That We Had Is Lost

The euphoric eighties girl-power anthem that pretty much made a household name out of Whitney Houston gets stripped to its bare bones and turned into a downbeat, wistful emo-fest courtesy of unknown Swedes Postiljonen. Drenched head to toe in autumnal tones and teenage longing. Hands down one of the most beautifully crafted songs to emerge from Scandinavia this year.
- Rich Thane

Iberia – An Ending (Ascent)

If you ever had to define the aural equivalent of paradise, the debut single by Berlin via Gothenburg duo Iberia would be a worthwhile candidate. The sound of a million adjectives colliding against wave after serene wave of electronic texture. Dream pop in its truest most delicate form.
- Rich Thane

Rhye – The Fall

Formerly anonymous LA duo Rhye, aka Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal, aren’t set to release their debut full-length Woman via Polydor until March next year but we’re already unbelievably smitten. ‘The Fall’ is one of the most heartbreaking songs to have graced our ears this year, its simple piano driven melody underscored with textured instrumentals and almost jazzy, smoky vocals. This is the kind of song you can’t help but sink into.
- Lauren Down

Lianne La Havas – Forget (Shlohmo remix)

The appropriately named Shlohmo has, over the past year or so, just about mastered the ability to make you sit down and take things easy to the point that rivals that of Yorkshire Tea. The LA-based mixman’s most impressive feat to date has been his twisting take on London songstress Lianne La Havas, reworking ‘Forget’ with skittering and crackling blips and beats, but all the while keeping the soft sorrowfulness of the original right at the centre.
- Luke Morgan Britton

Katy B - Aaliyah (ft. Jessie Ware and Geeneus)

Aaliyah’s predomination in UK ‘bass’ music reached absurdity over the last 24 months, with pitched up samples of the singer’s voice becoming mind-numbingly, nail-pullingly ubiquitous. In this tribute, though, Katy B, Jessie Ware, and Rinse’s Geeneus take a different tack, imagining the now fully canonised singer as a girl in a club, her magnetism so strong that she seems to produce a gravity around which everyone else orbits. Please god let this be the full-stop to the endless pitch-shifting sentence.
- Josh Hall

Angel Haze – New York

To make the comparison that Angel Haze is another Azealia Banks is bordering on the ludicrous. Such a statement is made by someone only listening to verses and choruses and completely missing the lyrics, heart anger that pierces your flesh and digs in like a needle with every line she drops. With her ferocious quick-witted rhymes about the gritty circumstances surrounding a life not so uncommon, Angel Haze makes a case for her place at the winner’s circle every time she drops a new track. ‘New York’ being no exception to the rule.
- Andriana Albert

Beach House – Wild

The return of Baltimore duo Beach House saw the group further cement their position as true bearers of the dream-pop crown. Bigger, bolder and more expansive than ever before, fourth album Bloom saw the group play on their tried and tested blueprint of yesteryear and apply an anthemic quality like never before. On a record of many highlights, ‘Wild’ stands proud and tall as perhaps the ‘biggest pop hit’ of their career.
- Rich Thane

Usher – Climax

The most productive year of Diplo’s career peaked with ‘Climax’, by some margin the most impressive track in either his own or Usher’s catalogue. The crux of ‘Climax’ is in its details: the hats, panned so far left that they sound almost on the boundary of your peripheral hearing; the moments during which vocal harmonies fall over one another into occasional, fleeting triplet patterns; the sheer lustre of the production, an icy plushness in which the track luxuriates. Genuinely very close to the perfect song.
- Josh Hall

Elliphant – Ciant Hear It

One of the most captivating artists to emerge from Sweden in 2012 is one Elliphant (aka Ellinor Olovsdotter), a foul mouthed Stockholm resident whose music is so addictive it should carry a public health warning. ‘Ciant Hear It’ Olovsdotter’s tour de force; her ’212′, if you will. The NSFW lyrics climax with the vocal refrain “I’m like a finger up your ass, why not give it to me?” whilst a raucous dancehall beat does its very best to destroy the bass cones on your speakers. Outrageously good.
- Rich Thane

Haim – Don’t Save Me

Haim’s second single sounded like the soundtrack to an imaginary teen movie starring John Cusack and Molly Ringwald. We think that would be the best film of all time, and this song would more than compete with it too.
- Luke Morgan Britton

Tamaryn – I’m Gone

The shoegaze indebted San Franciscan duo’s woozy theatrics are very much centred around the vocals of New Zealand born Tamaryn, while Rex John Shelverton’s production provides the hypnotic sounds that make the pair’s output so intoxicating. Taken from this years Tender New Signs, the swirling heady number that is ‘I’m Gone’ is undoubtedly one of their best. It sounds just like a Mexican Summer signed band should, all psychedelic riffs and romantic sighs, with just enough distinguished elements standing out of the reverb filled, krautrock indebted landscape. Finding yourself somewhere in between The Cocteau Twins and Beach House is really not a bad thing.
- Lauren Down

Echo Lake – Even The Blind

Taken from their long awaited debut Wild Peace, Echo Lake’s ‘Even The Blind’ is a beautiful, timeless piece of jangly guitar pop that sees 80s synths and elements of 90s shoegaze cozy up to the modern predilection for lo-fi production. Cautiously beginning its journey with rattling snare drums the wonderfully textured number is emboldened by cascading guitar strums whilst Linda Jarvis’ whispery vocals help retain its delicate intimacy. With a strong percussive back bone keeping the warm, hazy, ambient atmospherics in line their stunning effort feels as floaty as it does focussed, not only preventing it from washing over you without impact but propelling it to the front of your mind for days. As subtle as it is forceful, as smooth as it is awkward ‘Even The Blind’ is a track deserving of your highest attention and your highest volume settings.
- Lauren Down

DIIV – How Long Have You Known

Signed to rightly revered label Captured Tracks and formed by part-time Beach Fossil live guitarist Zachary Cole Smith with ex-Smith Western Colby Hewitt on drums, DIIV’s sound is as dreamily reverb-heavy and ridiculously cool as you might expect. But there’s a compelling depth to their playing and ethos that marks them out as more than just another bunch of cute, well-connected Brooklynites. Debut album Oshin offered us many highlights but it’s with the swoonsome melodies of ’How Long Have You Known’ that really had us smitten.
- Camilla Pia

Foxes – Echo

We’ve been smitten with Louisa Rose Allen – aka Foxes – since she release of her flamboyantly brilliant Warrior EP earlier in the year, but it’s with ‘Echo’ that turned our perpetual crush into a full blown love affair. Featuring anthemic production and a chorus line so defiantly huge that the induced goosebumps can be seen through clothes, this young Londoner may have accidentally produced one of the most perfect pop songs of 2012.
- Rich Thane

World Tour – Believe

For a roster so heavily influenced by the sound of Sweden, World Tour are one of only two Swedish acts on the Cascine label’s increasingly impressive roster. ‘Believe’ is a glorious piece of transcendental pop: as wintery and desolate as the surroundings the band write and record amongst, yet brought to sparkling life with dreamy reverberating vocals and mesmerising synths. A staple of Best Fit DJ sets from now until eternity.
- Rich Thane

Bondax – Baby I Got That

Teenage production duo Bondax have quickly made a name for themselves dropping dancefloor obsessions throughout 2012 . ‘Baby I Got That’ laces Bondax’s signature waves of booty slapping effects through high pitched snaps, coupled with an uncanny ability to build up beats and cleverly let them drop, like a water balloon on the pavement on the hottest day of summer. Looping snippets of soul-drenched vocals through brazen piano keys, twinkling percussion clicks and atmospheric bass, Bondax have delivered one of the hottest tracks of 2012.
- Andriana Albert

Sharon Van Etten – Serpents

One of the prime cuts from her world class album Tramp, ‘Serpents’ find Sharon Van Etten in angry, animated mode. Reflecting the sibilance of the eponymous snake, she spits accusations at a former lover, who she venomously and vehemently accuses of “sucking on dreams” at the dramatic core of the song. A furious diss, that hits its target to devastating effect, while still rocking out, this compelling and driven track serves as very clear notice: Sharon is not to be trifled with.
- Jude Clarke

Kilo Kish – Navy

Brooklyn-via-Orlando upstart, Kilo Kish makes it look far too easy. Sewing together pieces of lounge room R&B, loose-lipped rap and hip-hop grooves to the point that you can’t even work out the stitched seams, ‘Navy’ is an effortless, and nigh flawless, starry-eyed snippet of propelling future-pop. Luckily Melo-X has delivered a pretty sublime remix of the track also, so you can listen while you’re in the club too. Listen to the original cut below.
- Luke Morgan Britton

Mikky Ekko – Pull Me Down

No doubt one of the most emotionally moving vocal performances of 2012, the juxtaposition of Ekko’s yearning lyrics together with Clams Casino’s beats and atmospheric production recently ignited the blog world with absolute fervour. For once, it was more than justified. ‘Pull Me Down’ is sheer perfection; Ekko’s front and centre vocals are jaw dropping in their dexterity whilst his lyrical prowess is filled with lovelorn angst.
- Rich Thane

Bobby Womack – Please Forgive My Heart

The first single and clear highlight from perhaps one of the defining records of 2012, Bobby Womack’s ‘Please Forgive My Heart’ cuts like a knife on every play. A perfectly considered composition with Womack’s heaving vocals hanging in the air with an incredible poignancy whilst the outré-sounding bass balloons around a squeaky, skittish beat. Destined to be cherished as a true classic of Bobby Womack’s 60 year career. Flawless.
- Lauren Down

Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t

Taken from this year’s album of the same name, ‘I Know What Love Isn’t’ epitomises everything we love about Jens Lekman: a wry wit and humble sense of self-depreciation clinging to every word, a beautifully woven tapestry of acoustic instruments producing a juxtaposing, jovial atmosphere. Being part of such a strong cohesive record at large makes it difficult to assess Lekman’s individual offerings in their own right, out of the heart broken context within which they reside side by side but the title track stands tall, owning its own corner of melancholy and affirmation. Instead of concerning itself with the personally crushing loss of a clearly dear relationship it sees Lekman recognise the universality of the sentiment that the only certainty in love is knowing when it’s gone.
- Lauren Down

El Perro Del Mar – Walk On By

‘Walk On By’, the lead single from El Perro Del Mar’s fourth and most sonically adventurous album to date, saw Sarah Assbring’s fascination with classic house music and nineties production bloom throughout its ten exquisite songs. ‘Walk On By’ is a testament to shrugging off the demons of a past love affair but also zones in perfectly on the emphasis that Pale Fire is very much a solo record. The opening line, “solitude’s my best friend”, all the proof you need.
- Rich Thane

Flume – Holdin’ On

Fusing futuristic hip hop beats with what seems to be this year’s secret weapon, Flume adds a dimension of depth to his music with the addition of cleverly stitched together soul samples. In this case the iconic vocals being borrowed from Otis Redding. Flume then intravenously drops these echoes of the past into pockets of synth-crusted beats, at just the right angle, ensuring they truly sparkle.

Even after just one listen it’s not hard to tell why ‘Holdin On’ is one of the very best tracks to grace 2012.
- Andriana Albert

Syron – Breaking

The return of Katy B, the rise of Jessie Ware and AlunaGeorge, and the arrival of Syron: 2012 certainly seemed to be the year where genuinely enthralling female led talent was at the forefront of London’s underground nu-garage scene that remains ever teetering on the edge of mainstream acceptance.

Stylistically on-trend with the current flock of nu-Garage acts flooding the internets, Daisy Syron Russell arrived late in the Summer months with ‘Breaking’ – a song that pitched Lowe head and shoulders above her peers with one of the most original and infectious songs around.

A shameless nod to the golden era of commercial dance music, Syron has rapidly blossomed into a ready made pop star for the Rinse FM generation, and there’s no doubt Syron is destined for great things over the next twelve months.

For now, indulge in the ever wonderful ‘Breaking’. Easy on the ear, Syron’s easy-breezy vocal dexterity is at the fore with the hook “I keep forgetting that I’m not allowed to love you” a guaranteed ear worm for the foreseeable.
- Rich Thane

S O H N – The Wheel

Described by the man himself when speaking to Dummy as being about “the end of something, the beginning of something, and the over-thinking of that time in between”, S O H N’s words most accurately some up ‘The Wheel’ as “like a big sigh.” Combining intricately woven layers of electronics, delicate vocals and inexplicably catchy hooks, the Vienna-based artist seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate the internet’s airwaves for days. As with all flash in the pan stories though, there are years of hard work and craft behind them. S O H N has been making music for years, pursuing his sound and well, it feels like he might have finally stumbled onto it.

Pushing play is like sinking into a familiar, hypnagogic state: everything is dreamy, comforting and somehow surreal – those flickering images and fleeting, intangible trails of thought represented by the clattering percussion and auto-tuned heart beats. Cyclic rhythms drive the song relentlessly forward whilst keeping it somehow stationary as his vocals add an honest warmth to the minimal proceedings. We don’t throw the word perfect around lightly, but boy is this close.
- Lauren Down

Solange – Losing You

Taken from Solange’s brand new, Dev Hynes-produced EP True, this track is just about as perfect as any piece of pop music you’re likely to hear this year, or any year for that matter. Coming complete with funky guitar licks, buoyant snapping drum beats, smooth romantic vocals and jubilant samples, ‘Losing You’ is built around the simple, forlorn, repeated refrain “Tell me the truth, boy, am I losing you for good?”

Not that the song is by any means simple, it’s glitchy, trip-hop beats are textured layer upon dance-inspiring layer. It’s addictive, moorish and it has taken us just about everything we have to not rinse it to within an inch of its life.
- Lauren Down

Caitlin Rose – No One To Call

Caitlin Rose’s music is the equivalent of a smoke-filled whiskey-soaked back street bar when compared to the ultra slick, over-styled and over-produced country superstars that clog up the Nashville airwaves and give country music – as a whole – a bad (or at least misunderstood) reputation.

The epitome of modern day Americana; all aching telecaster twangs and weeping pedal steel – shot through with unapologetic hooks and melodies sweet like honey nectar.

‘No One To Call’ is the lead track from The Stand-In, Rose’s second album and the follow up to the universally acclaimed Own Side Now from 2010. Flanked by band mates Jeremy Fetzer and Spencer Cullum, alongside a whole host of key Nashville players – ‘No One To Call’ sounds instantly timeless. Bursting out of the gates with a bar room honky-tonk swagger, Roses’ undeniable croon instantly disarming. Like all truly great country songs, it’s simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting – life affirming even.
- Rich Thane

Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together

Do you ever sit and ponder who, in forty or so years time, will be remembered as ‘the’ great songwriters of our generation? When it comes to universally appealling art of writing a ‘classic pop song’, which names will replace Lamont Dozier, Burt Bacharach, Smokey Robinson, Lennon & McCartney et al? Our money is on Max Martin.

Responsible for more hit singles, career overhauls and reinventions than perhaps any other writer of his generation, this unassuming Swede – only in his early forties – is a modern day pop genius. A quick re-cap? ‘Quit Playing Games With My Heart’ (Backstreet Boys), ‘Show Me Love’ (Robyn), ‘Baby One More Time’ (Britney Spears), ‘Since U Been Gone’ (Kelly Clarkson), ‘Teenage Dream’ (Katy Perry). A selection of songs that don’t even scratch the surface of Martin’s work, but each track mentioned has one consistent thread – regardless of whether you’re a fan of the music or if the sheer thought of hearing any one of them makes you want to peel off your ears in dread, you know the songs. And, regardless of your ‘musical intelligence’ or bullshit excuses for dismissing the above as throwaway pop music, I’m betting there’s a tiny part of you that has a soft spot for a least one of them (if not all).

The release of uber hit ‘We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together’ saw former Country princess Taylor Swift transform into a global phenomenon of Justin Bieber proportions. She was on the lips of everyone. Even hipsters. And Max Martin was responsible. The bastard.

‘We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together’ has pop bombast in spades. But it’s the tiny attention to detail and the fine placing of little hooks scattered throughout that triggers the part of your brain that screams “play me again, play me again and again and again. You’re mine. I own you. PLAY ME AGAIN YOU WEAK IMBECILE”.

Loved by teeny bobbers right the way through to music snobs (although most will never admit it) – Taylor Swift and Max Martin is a union made in pop heaven.
- Rich Thane

AlunaGeorge – Your Drums, Your Love

As if their 90s nodding beats weren’t enough to trigger the nostalgist within you, the fact that this pair met via MySpace definitely will. Having spied Aluna Francis’ previous band on the home page George Reid asked if she would work with him on some remixes. Musical chemistry ensued and he effectively stole her away from her left-field avant garde experiments and into the glorious R&B infused pop project that is AlunaGeorge. On the evidence of ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ alone, we think we speak for everyone when we say we’re glad Aluna chose this path.

The follow up to debut release ‘Just A Touch’, ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ took the pair’s affection for glitchy production and modern dub and filtered them through a slick pop lens resulting in one of the most irresistible tunes of the year. The unashamedly radio-friendly chorus “I’ve been treading water for your love / Whether I sink or swim, it’s you I’m thinking of” sit perfectly on top of George’s trip-hop beats, Aluna’s saccharine vocals off setting the harshness of the electronics. We were hooked within the first couple of seconds, we dare you to listen and not feel the same.
- Lauren Down

Frank Ocean – Thinkin Bout You

Even before the (thankfully largely positive) media furore regarding Ocean’s sexuality, lead cut from his first album proper, Channel Orange, ‘Thinkin Bout You’ was already up there with the best R&B songs of the year. But true appreciation of the track blossoms only further after the aforementioned revelation.

A brave exploration of confused love, Ocean investigates those conflicted feelings that we all have from time to time, and in doing so, propels the lyrics to a universal plateau. But really, on top of all things, it’s really just a great tune. So much so that it received its own head-nod in another major track of 2012. How many songs can say that?
- Luke Morgan Britton

Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments

‘Wildest Moments’ distills everything we’ve loved about South London’s Jessie Ware this year into four glorious, fragile minutes. The magical ingredient is, as always, Ware’s vocal. Honest and humble, it’s a beacon of proletariat charm that conveys a connection to the listener.

The result is transcendent; pop-with-gravitas. Yet stripped down to its constituent parts, it shouldn’t work and in the hands of anyone else, it probably wouldn’t. As with the best pop musical, lyrical cliche requires a vessel of both presence and vulnerability in order to suggest a narrative that creates that link. Ware has it in spades.
- Paul Bridgewater

Icona Pop – I Love It (ft. Charli XCX)

Penned by goth-pop upstart Charli XCX and produced by Swedish superhero Patrik Berger, Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’ was always destined to be “a bit good”.

A duo we’ve followed closely (read: obsessively) since they first emerged with the electro stomp of ‘Manners’ nearly two years ago, we’ve watched Stockholm girls Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt blossom into an unstoppable hit factory. As the summer of 2012 dawned, the group finally found their theme song.

‘I Love It’ is escapism. Pure and simple. Three minutes of towering beats, brattish vocals and a firmly raised middle finger to, well, anything you want. The sentiment of course is focused around our heroes getting wise to a bad relationship and throwing (his) “shit down the stairs” in disgust. But ultimately, it’s about embracing the good stuff that surrounds you. A modern day hymn to independence. A big fat declreation of “fuck it”. The fact that it’s wrapped up inside the most infectious and re-playable packaging of the year is merely a bonus.

Purists may be expecting to see something of more gravitas in the number one position. We disagree. ‘I Love It’ has defined The Line Of Best Fit throughout 2012 in more ways than can be possibly imagined. We love it.
- Rich Thane

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