Mark’s Top Five Tracks of 2012

Channeling my inner Cusack via Nick Hornby, here are my Top Five Tracks of 2012.

5. “Don’t Stare At The Sun” – Richard Hawley

Haunting and evocative of another time, this song has been stuck to me for the past few months and won’t let go. Certainly, it’s reminiscent of Tonight-era David Bowie but there’s something more than that here. It’s echo-y…shimmery…like memories…simply wonderful…

4. “I’m Not The Same Without You” – Donald Fagen

The more things change, the more they stay the same..a cliche, I know, but I’ve been struck how this year saw me listening to the same bands I did 30+ years ago. This list (along with new releases by Joe Jackson and Bruce Springsteen) is certainly indicative of that. It’s not that I’m old and crabby about music or anything (I have plenty of new bands that I love) but these senior farts are still making exceptional music that, in many ways, is superior to some of the new stuff coming out.

This is certainly true of Donald Fagens’ new album, Sunken Condos.┬áThis track is a great example of how the good ol’ style of music still sounds great today. In fact, no one really makes music like this anymore so it’s actually very refreshing!

3. “Take Me Home” – The Stereo Pirates

Almost my track of the year and not just because they are local boys. The LA sound here is absolutely perfect in this stunner of a track. I challenge anyone to listen to this from start to finish and not well up a little bit. A stadium anthem for 2012 if there ever was one…

2. “Summer’s Gone” – The Beach Boys

Brian finally got the remaining boys back together for one last (?) go around. This is the closing track on a truly exceptional album and it acts as a possible epilogue to the 50 year career of the Beach Boys. Brian has hinted for many years that he had a song that would be the last song on the last Beach Boys album and this is it. Who knows if this is really the end (they are all in their 70s now, after all)?

If it is, “Summer’s Gone” is a perfect track for taking your best gal for that last stroll home, past the white picket fences or through the fields or under the boardwalk, in early September right before you head off to college…with the leaves…and the co-eds in sweaters…and textbooks…and the life of the mind…

1. “A Study In Blue” – Paul Weller

The Modfather came up big this year, as I discussed previously, and there was never really any question after I heard this track, that it would be my top choice for 2012. The duet with Hannah Weller (his wife) is what really makes this song shine in its trippy, chill-outedness. This song has been floating next to me all year and has been a very soothing companion.

Tomorrow I’ll put up my Top Five Albums of the Year.

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