(PART 1) Safety In Sound's Top 50 tracks of the year 50-41

by - Thursday, December 27, 2012

When faced with the prospect of rounding up 2012 in music, I thought I'd try something new this year. Having done album countdowns in the past, I wanted to test my writing abilities by picking out specific songs that I have been listening to on repeat, rather than repeating things I have already written throughout the year in my full album reviews by harping on about whole records. It also means I get to pick out some of my favourite lyrics from the year, which means a lot to me as someone who thinks words are often the most important part of a great piece of music. But that's a different argument entirely...

As usual, the same rules apply as last year.The order of songs is entirely my own personal opinion, based mainly on what I have played most and enjoyed over the year. It is uninfluenced by record sales or critical reception. Do not expect everything on here to be entirely to your tastes. I have rather eclectic interests!
Naturally writing these sort of things is not an exact science. No doubt there will be some glaring omissions that I grow to despise myself for in a few months, or songs that I end up hating myself for liking. Such is the nature of music journalism!

So, without further ado, here is part 1/5 of  Safety In Sounds Top Tracks of 2012, 50 to 41. 

50) Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier

It’s a very late entry, but kicking the list off is Biffy Clyro’s Black Chandelier. Starting with a verbal riff that evokes wistful memories of Diary Of Always , it bolsters claims that 2013’s double album Opposites will be a return to form, striking a balance between pre-fame biffy and the arena worthy, chorus driven band that have become one of Britain’s biggest live acts. More imminent than Stingin’ Belle, the bagpipe tooting album preview released back in September, it displays their softer side without descending into Americana radio rock fodder. Nice to have you back boys.

Key Lyric: ‘You left my heart like an abandoned car/Old and worn out, no use at all/But I used to be free/We’re gonna separate ourselves tonight’

49) The Vaccines – No Hope

Delivering what I thought to be a somewhat disappointing second album, No Hope proved to be a somewhat bittersweet highlight on the quartets ‘Come Of Age.’ Throwing aside the garbled drawl that characterised his vocal style on the bands debut, Justin Young appears to be singing properly for the first time. It takes some getting used to, but after a few listens, No Hope unveils its charms as a open letter from a band clearly coming to terms with the stupendous fame that lies at their feet. It might not be as charming and gleefully frivolous as Noorgard, but I wouldn’t give up on The Vaccines just yet.

Key Lyric: ‘And I could make an observation/If you want the voice of a generation/But I’m too self absorbed to give it clout’

48) Azealia Banks – Jumanji 

Despite delaying her long awaited debut album yet AGAIN in 2012, Hip Hop’s favourite brat made up for it with the release of her free mixtape, Fantasea. Jumanji displays her rapid tongue to best effect over a sing-song, childlike beat that exemplifies her age and youthfulness. Accompanying her tireless underground campaign with high profile make up campaigns, mermaid parties, headphone endorsements and cheeky tweets, it appears Azealia is set to shake off even 212’s tag in 2013. Let’s just hope that album finally sees the light of day…

Key Lyric: ‘They want my photos and pictures/Inside of they candid cameras/Bloggers, critics, and scandals/Man-handle-savage, I damage ya’ 

47) FIDLAR – Cheap Beer

If we’re talking TRULY underground, 2012 looked to Los Angeles. Cheap Beer, by Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk, commonly known as FIDLAR, took what The Vaccines dream of doing, scuzzed it up to 25 and barked nonsense over the top, nonsense that in places sounds more than a little like The Bird Is The Word, becoming clear only long enough for the chorus to ring out. I Like/Cheap Beer/So What/Fuck You.’ Clever? No. But big? Most definitely. Lorded by everyone from NME to Pitchfork, this outfit are likely to be causing their racket throughout next year.

Key Lyric:The above says it all really. What are they like eh?

46)Peers – Night Driving

Smacking somewhere between a less gleeful Spector and Maximo Park of the good old days, Peers are relative newbies on the scene, but Night Driving solidifies them as one of 2013’s brighter guitar hopes. With a soaring, caution to the wind chorus that could soundtrack any coming of age American teen sitcom, the Berkshire four piece are a much more promising alternative to the other hype acts circulating Hoxton, and seem to possess a lot more staying power.

Key Lyric: 'silhouettes/I don't give a f***'. Charming.

45)Blood Red Shoes – Cold

Having given me one of the most insightful and honest interviews on Safety In Sound all year, I’m somewhat disposed to having a little place in my heart for Blood Red Shoes. Cold sees them at their Grungiest and best, In Time To Voices an album that really displays their strides as a sonic outfit. Drums and guitar bigger than ever, both Laura Mary and Steve’s voices have grown to scale, meaning the music they make is very much about the way they complement one another rather than just kicking up a racket. They may deny a lustiness for arena’s, but this is a track that wouldn’t be difficult to imagine booming from some very large academies, at the very least.

Key Lyric: ‘Take a step out into the daylight/I don't wanna fight for it all/And forget it when we fall’

44) Sigur Ros – Fjogur Piano

Boasting a somewhat… provocative video (Transformers hottie Shia La Beouf doing some naked frolicking and angry destruction), it natural that Fjogur Piano is the work of Sigur Ros, emotional, genre transcending melodies their calling card. Nearly 8 minutes long, it’s an utterly heartbreaking instrumental piece, the perfect soundtrack to visual that video director Director Alma Har'el states is about "addiction to drugs, or sex, or anything–and how you get stuck in a cycle.’ Not exactly one to listen to when you’re getting ready for a night out then, but bleakly stunning in its own right.From Sigur Ros, I would expect nothing less.

Key Lyric: In typical Sigur Ros fashion, there are none. But the music paints a million, billion words.

43)Passion Pit – Take A Walk

At the more lighthearted end of the spectrum is Passion Pit, who have certainly benefited from some well-placed advert syncs this year. The now almost ubiquitous Take A Walk sounds much like its name, a glam-rock diplodocus marching with purpose towards a fist-pumping chorus. With the bangs-and-whilstles gimmerkery of their debut cast aside, darker themes of money, marriage and ageing are allowed to present themselves, showing there is more to this band than a dodgy falsetto.

Key Lyric: 'You'll see I am no criminal/I'm down on both bad knees/I'm just too much a coward/To admit when I'm in need’ 

42)Theme Park – Jamaica

Who says everything has to be deep and meaningful? One of my favourite breakouts bands of the year, Theme Park unashamedly bring the 80’s party the same way Mystery Jets once did – smartly dressed, slickly executed and with a penchant for a repeated chorus to fade. Jamaica brings all these elements to the fore, putting the fun back into indie by injecting it with a good, old fashioned dose of funk. Just imagine that sticky sweet cocktail in hand…

Key Lyric: ‘We can let it go cause summer girlfriends house in Jamaica/Said we've got a drink we can bring/This is modern life’

41)Two Door Cinema Club – Sun

Two Door Cinema Club’s second album Beacon sounded like it needed a little dose of what Theme Park were having. Exploring more downtrodden themes than it’s predecessor Tourist History, it appears the perils of touring and being apart from their love ones dampened some of their more unique edges, but luckily Handshake pepped up the tonic. Bringing brass and bouncing beats to the fore, it’s by far the most interesting track on the record, and the kind of thing they should look to explore further in the future.

Key Lyric:All I see now/Are distant drumlins/The roads I knew became a city/And I wonder/Will you wait for me?’

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