Hard to believe February’s in a few days, no? In a little while, artists will actually be releasing albums en masse again! A few albums and mixtapes have already trickled in, and there’s been far more than a trickle of new singles. And maybe in a little while, one of them might displace Adele at either the top of the album or singles charts. We keep track of our favorite songs of 2012, and we’ve already got several entries lodged in there. A few of them are on this year’s playlist, plus a few older, somehow timelier tracks. So let’s get to it.
1. ICE CUBE, “IT WAS A GOOD DAY”
We missed the 20-year anniversary of Ice Cube’s meticulously determined good day (since posting, plenty of people have volunteered to be that guy who argues it’s probably not an actual day, but who needs that?) So let’s celebrate it late, while acknowledging that this is pretty much a classic in the hip-hop pantheon. If you listen to this track then accomplish at least three things Ice Cube does, you can call this a good day. Need a head start? Yo! MTV Raps is unsurprisingly on YouTube. (We were going to tie this in to other famous days, but among the tracks considered but discarded: Hoku’s “Perfect Day,” too vague; Vanessa Carlton’s “Ordinary Day,” too ordinary; Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” too much of a Daniel Powter track.)
2. SANTIGOLD, “BIG MOUTH”
There are two things worth noting about this track, and none of them have anything to do with any overblown disses. The first is that it’s done by producers Switch and Buraka Som Sistema–if you’re somehow a reader familiar with those two but not with this song, you can already guess how frenetic it sounds–and includes a fairly major sample. The second is that it’s great; mere listening should tell you this, but I heard this earlier this week in a DJ set, and you really need that sort of experience to fully grasp this.
3. ARCTIC MONKEYS – “ON A MISSION”
Remember how we said this could be mistaken for an Arctic Monkeys original? Lo and behold, a guy has washed up on YouTube’s comment shores with this: “anyone heard that katy b cover this song?” Yes. We have. And we refuse to let any good Katy B cover go unplaylisted.
4. KELLY CLARKSON, “MR. KNOW IT ALL (COUNTRY MIX)
We take back everything we said about “Mr. Know It All,” Kelly! All the track needed was a fiddle-and-livelier drums makeover. We’ll stop mentioning Bruno Mars now, and we won’t feel so bad watching the video and reading our headlines in the video’s headlines. (In all seriousness, though, this should have been the original mix.)
5. SEAN PAUL FT. KELLY ROWLAND, “HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE”
And speaking of artists we generally tend to like named Kelly, this track has Sean Paul and Stargate doing their respective things (rapping, synthing), but they know that the point of “How Deep Is Your Love” is to hear Rowland’s rich alto sing things like “it might run down to the ocean floor.” Her voice probably could.
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