The Briefing > December 17, 2012

The Top 45 Singles Of 2012

Well here we are.

We’ll be honest, there are loads of incredible singles that didn’t make it into the Top 45. But don’t complain to us. Complain to the people responsible for the amazing singles that did make it.


This is better than at least half the One Direction album, and that is a solid gold pop fact that you can take straight to the bank.  Just think, if Jedward’s 2013 Eurovision entry improves on ‘Waterline’ as much as ‘Waterline’ did on ‘Lipstick’, it could be the greatest song of all time. (This said, we’re not sure what to make of one school of thought that suggests being ‘close to the waterline’ is something about either pissing or ejaculation.)

Looking Hot
No Doubt
Don’t be put off by the shonky X Factor performance, the dubious ska breakdown or the fact that this single went on to sell just 680 copies in its first week on sale: ‘Looking Hot’ could have been a Gwen single, and there are few greater compliments. (Being higher than 44 in a singles of the year countdown would be one such greater compliment but you get the point.)

Call My Name
The first 19 seconds of this are what it’s all about. After repeated plays ‘Call My Name’ did turn out to be less of a ‘We Found Love’ knockoff than we’d at first thought. Unfortunately, it also turned out to be more of a ‘Let’s Go’ knockoff than we’d at first thought. Regardless, it’s still the best Cheryl single since ‘Fight For This Love’ and justification for the greatest primetime swandive of 2012.

Your Drums, Your Love
On paper – if you’re going to be strict about BPMs – this is a ballad. But ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ always feels like a banger. Despite doing very little in this video, A & G exhibit more star quality here than many other pop artistes muster in an entire career of over-the-top jazz hands awfulness.

It would be fascinating to see a list of every artist who could, at one point, have recorded or released this single. We’d say it must have been run past at least Kelly Clarkson, Christina and Adam Lambert. In the end, though, the enormoballad fell in Pink’s lap. It’s just as well; as one commenter on a YouTube version of GoNorthToGoSouth’s demo notes, “Pink sings it with a lot more emotions”. So true.

Feel The Love
Rudimen-tal feat John Newman
As well as being the best song of the year to feature a man standing on a horse, ‘Feel The Love’ should also serve as the blueprint for James Arthur’s big first single (even if Syco will likely opt for something more like that Alex Clare snoozeathon). The best bit of this song is when it crashes back in after the middle eight and turns into ‘Mambo #5’. (Shame the follow-up was such a bore but what can you do, eh viewers?)

#1 In Heaven
One of several songs in this Top 45 countdown which, outside a handful of blogs and style mags, might as well not have existed at all. Perhaps it didn’t exist. Perhaps we dreamt the whole thing. Either way it’s a shame, because ‘#1 In Heaven’ passes the strenuous but effective ‘Would It Sound Amazing If The Saturdays Covered It?’ test with flying colours, and MNDR’s equally ignored album is full of great bits too.

Drive By
On a rainy Tuesday night twelve years from now you will be standing in a queue at Chicken Cottage at 1am. ‘Drive By’ will come on the crappy sound system. And it will sound immense. In some ways, readers, the fact it that this single was simply ahead of its time. (“My love for you went viral” – what a great line.) (“When you move me, everything is groovy” – this is also a great line.) (The follow-up, ’50 Ways To Say Goodbye’, was equally excellent, and had a good video.)

National Anthem
Lana Del Rey
2012 wasn’t short of Marilyn Monroe pop references, with Madonna, A*M*E, Nicki Minaj and someone else we’ve forgotten for the time being all getting in on the act, but the video for Lana Del Rey’s big summer single was the smartest, most audacious (she’s Jackie O as well!) and most winningly ludicrous of the lot. As for the song itself, this would have been a lot higher on the Top 45 if she’d stuck with the (very obviously superior) demo version that leaked but there’s no telling some people is there.

Everything Is Embarrassing
 Sky Ferreira
This wasn’t a proper single, just a lead song from an EP, but we are letting it on the list because it’s brilliant. Sadly this is not on Spotify which buggers up our Top 45 Singles Of 2012 playlist a bit. We’ve put ‘Sky Ferreira Is A Nice Lady’ by Papa Razzi & The Photogs in its place.