2012 was blessed with some fantastic rock songs, and it has taken weeks to whittle down the long list of worthy songs to find the 25 best of the year. Not quite sure this is perfect, but damn sure that these are 25 great rock songs. Check out the list and see if you agree.
At the conclusion of the list, you’ll find a playlist on iTunes that links to all 25.
25. “It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons: It’s Addictive. It’s always cool when the drummer is lead vocalist. It’s great to hear a viola in a rock tune. It’s good stuff.
24. “Bully” – Shinedown: Love the message in this one, and the song is pretty damn good, too. One of three bands with two songs on this year’s list.
23. “Little Talks” – Of Monsters and Men: It’s Mumford & Sons with a bit more of an edge from the amazingly talented band out of Iceland.
22. “45” – Gaslight Anthem: Great straight forward rock tune from the Garden State’s newest successor to the Boss. Also love the lyrics and the 45 metaphors.
21. “We Take Care of Our Own” – Bruce Springsteen – Yup. still on top of his game. At times this reminds you of vintage E-Street band, but it also has a nice modern flair, and a big sound.
20. “Oh Love” – Green Day: What’s old is new again. this one brings back nice memories of songs from across the band’s past two decades. Billie Joe sounding great again.
19. “Love Interruption” – Jack White: The sparse arrangement works great. The guitar and Wurlitzer fling you back into the 60’s but the vocals and lyrics are totally 2012.
18. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers: Amazingly successful debut song from American Indie rockers that’s impossible not to singalong to and as a nice bonus, it features nice mandolin.
17. “Gold On the Ceiling” – Black Keys: Great organs, hand claps and a blast to listen to. Dan Auerbach channels his inner Paul Rodgers. Nice guitar solo, too. They had two songs on last year’s list and two more this year!
16. “Simple Song” – The Shins: Beautiful harmonies, chaotic guitar played off against sweet piano and James Mercer singing fantastically.
15. “Reboot the Mission” – Wallflowers: Jacob Dylan makes a killer comeback – with a ska single! And, joined by Mick Jones of The Clash. Super cool.
14. “Tongue Tied” – Grouplove: Another great song off of 2011’s Never Trust A Happy Song. It’s a blast to listen to with great boy/girl vocals and stellar music.
13. “Hold On” – Alabama Shakes: It’s an instant classic with such a comfortable Southern Rock feel, coupled with Brittany Howard’s soulful vocals that evoke memories of the great Janis Joplin.
12. “Burn It Down” – Linkin Park: The same roaring electro-power rock we’ve come to expect from the lads from Aurora, California – this time with even more memorable hooks.
11. “Breathing Underwater” – Metric: Excellent song in which Emily Haines offers up beautiful vulnerable vocals in a song about a relationship still struggling to survive against the odds. The only band with two in our Top Dozen.
10. “Default” – Django Django: A cool dance rock track that at different times reminds me of surf rock, classic T-Rex and 80′s new wave. Yeah, it’s a crazy mix, but it’s pretty damn fun.
9. Polarized – Luke Dowler – Great song about a relationship that just isn’t working. The music is excellent, but the lyrics are phenomenal. So many different scenarios where they are perfectly fitting. Every time I hear this, I think about our dysfunctional government (both parties) in the nation’s capital.
“He’s left, you’re always right
Polarized, You think he’s weak because he won’t decide
We’re disconnected – we’ve been infected
We’re building up defenses – protecting deadly interests”
8. “Kill Your Heroes” – AWOLNATION – My favorite inspirational lyric all year in a song that is both powerful and addictive. “Never let your fear decide your fate.”
7. “Little Black Submarines” – Black Keys: Really two songs in one love the tender opening, and LOVE the electronic jam on part two – sweet, powerful guitar and drums.
6. “Runaways” – The Killers: They’re back after a four year hiatus, this saga is a Springsteen-esque anthem that is pure old school Killers. Brandon Flowers at his best.
5. “What Makes a Good Man?” – The Heavy: Soulful rock from the Bath, England quartet with screaming guitar that would make Jack White proud.
4. “Youth Without Youth” – Metric: A great driving beat on a song that reminds me a bit of the most rocking Smiths’ tunes. This is a dark one about a young person who has grown up in a troubled environment and raced past their youth.
3. “Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well” – A Silent Film: It’s a grandiose rocker you’d have expected from The Killers. Love the keyboards, the vocals and the story!
2. Unity – Shinedown – Soaring melodies, Brent Smith’s superb vocals and fantastic guitar in yet another uplifting song from one of the year’s best albums, Amaryllis.
1. “Everybody Talks” – Neon Trees: OK, so, this is a wee bit overplayed – Got it. But it is an absolutely fantastic song. Tyler Glenn’s vocals are mesmerizing, and the guitar and drums are pure old school rock.
Let us know what you thought. Was your favorite on our list? Also, we’d love to see what you think about our 2012 Rock Albums of the Year.