As chosen by the Arts Staff of The Cornell Daily Sun:
1. “Pyramids” by Frank Ocean: This year’s darling of the R&B genre, Frank Ocean isn’t too keen on holding back. His debut album, Channel Orange, was pushed out a week early due to fawning reviews, and he publicly discussed his sexuality on Tumblr. Similarly, “Pyramids” breaks a whole lot of precedents. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, our favorite song of 2012 is a sprawling, ambitious track that contains more ideas than most discographies. It moodily explores the limits of R&B, wedding early Prince and Daft Punk to extraordinary success. Ocean even throws in an angsty John Mayer guitar solo. The lyrics, meanwhile, weave together ancient history and a sexy fantasy in which our doleful singer is Cleopatra’s pimp. A daring affirmation that Ocean is here to stay, “Pyramids” glides from melancholy to celebratory with audacity and sophistication. 10 minutes have never gone by faster.
2. “Wasted Days” by Cloud Nothings: In an interview with Stereogum last year, Cloud Nothings mastermind Dylan Baldi bluntly revealed, “The Wipers are undoubtedly the biggest influence on Attack On Memory. Nowhere is that more evident than on “Wasted Days,” the eight minute epic that is the standout track on one of the year’s strongest albums. Like the Wiper’s “Youth of America” — always worth a listen — “Wasted Days” is a complex and intricate musical achievement that stays within the realm of rock, but also tests its boundaries. What makes Baldi stand apart from his acknowledged predecessors is his penchant for introspective lyrics, centering his composition around the revealing and repeated refrain, “I thought I would be more than this.”
3. “The House That Heaven Built” by Japandroids: Hipster evocations of irony, acoustic guitars and pretension have ruined rock music. Japandroids are here to remind you that all you really need to change your life is a guitar, a drum set and lyrics screamed at the top of your lungs. “The House That Heaven Built” mixes heart-on-your-sleeve (read: emo) introspection with Springsteenian grandeur. The key line sounds like the greatest epigraph ever scrawled onto a bathroom stall: “It’s a lifeless life with no fixed address to give / But you’re not mine to die for anymore, so I must live.” This song is the sound of riding your bike in a thunderstorm with a thirty rack in your backpack, not giving a damn if you crash. Anybody who’s too cool for this kind of stuff is lying to themselves.
4. “Myth” by Beach House: W
Original Author: Sun Staff