“What are you listening to right now?” If you work around music, you get this question a lot. The following list is my way of answering. Every year about this time, I like to take a quick look back at the best songs released so far. Music comes at us so fast and furious that it can be hard to keep up, but these are the songs I keep returning to.
But this is far from an exact science. These are songs that came out from Jan. 1 to March 31 in some fashion, regardless of whether the album is out yet or the song appeared on a previous EP or was already out in the U.K. (or Iceland). And this just represents my opinion with suggestions from other staffers here at Paste. Our year-end list is bound to look a lot different. Here are my picks for the best songs of 2012 so far
25. Bahamas – “I Got You Babe”
Afie Jurvanen’s resume includes piano and guitar work with Feist, Great Lake Swimmers, PasoMino, The Stills and several others, but he shines out on his own here.
24. Reptar – “Sebastian”
The Athens band released one of my favorite EPs last year and will be following it up with a full-length shortly. The already-released single “Sebastian” is the best song on that album, sounding a little like Vampire Weekend’s much weirder cousin.
23. Fun. – “We Are Young” (featuring Janelle Monáe)
Indie-pop band Fun. rose from the ashes of The Format and immediately began aiming for the pop stars. They achieved escape velocity with this gigantic anthem. It was covered by the cast of Glee and included in a Chevy Super Bowl commercial all before the record was released. We include it here just because it’s catchy as hell.
22. Chiddy Bang – “Handclaps & Guitars”
Few rappers sound like they’re having as much fun as Chiddy Bang. This silly, little ditty would be our guilty pleasure if we felt the least bit guilty about it.
21. Ben Kweller – “Jealous Girl”
Is it possible Kweller is just now hitting his stride? On his latest single, he shows off pop chops worthy of Elvis Costello and Ron Sexsmith.