To say 2012 has been one for the books would be a gross understatement.
When I think back on the past year, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. Carly Rae Jepsen is a household name now, not just the new girl who has a great tune. And Taylor Swift seemed to be too busy breaking hearts to write any songs for new fans.
But the artists have done it again, leaving the year on a great finale with some albums likely to garner serious recognition having been released just weeks ago.
Below are 10 songs that I can’t picture 2012 without. And frankly, whether you love them or hate them — because there is a mix of both — crank up the volume and give yourself a study break. Finals can wait. The last days of 2012 will not.
1. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift:
It wouldn’t be a year in review without the blond bombshell herself. The Pennsylvania-native has been defining the new age love song for quite some time and this year was no different. Her summer smash hit about moving on and letting go stole the hearts of women across the country, myself included. Props to T. Swift for a song that keeps even the men in our lives singing along.
2. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen:
Another female superstar tops this chart for her catchy single released last spring. The pop song that found its way into playlists everywhere is easily one that will around for quite some time and has left many music critics asking if Jepsen will be more than a one-hit wonder. Lucky for her fans, she’s already teamed up with Owl City to make sure that’s not the case.
3. “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber:
The little popstar has dropped his pre-pubescent roots and gotten into music that even the strongest of hearts have trouble resisting. Though Bieber continues to release the hits, this summer’s sultry swag of “Boyfriend” is one that is still being remixed and talked about. His most recent appearance at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show marked his own personal goal: Bieber Fever may be here to stay.
4. “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons:
This folky country-tinged group delivered its sophomore album in late September, only to be devoured by eager fans ready for more of the same. The album “Babel” continues to deliver weeks after the first listen, with stand-out hit “I Will Wait” keeping fans reminded that music outside of autotune and synthesized beats really still does exist. Again, always good to know the music scene hasn’t lost its roots.
5. “Bangarang” by Skrillex:
Dubstep has to make an appearance somewhere and this year’s choice goes out to Skrillex’s bass-dropping sound, “Bangarang.” Penn State’s own college community has taken electronic dance music under its wing and grown a coveted following in the younger generations. Spring’s DAYGLOW concert even furthered the music following. From the looks of it, dubstep is here to stay.
6. “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction:
From the Backstreet Boys to the Jonas Brothers to One Direction, it’s comforting to know that boy bands will never quite be a thing of the past. These five British heartthrobs are the newest to the scene, with a summer favorite that no road trip would be complete without.
7. “We Are Young” by fun. and Janelle Monáe:
This light-hearted group has made a quick impression with its first single earlier in the year. But as fun. has shown, one great song often leads to another, crashing onto the Billboard charts and sticking around for quite some time. You can’t deny the tune and you can’t deny the words. Face it, it’s just plain fun.
8. “The Motto” by Drake:
Not quite an official 2012 song, but Drake’s sound has continued to grow as the year progressed, his life motto — “YOLO” — picking up some serious steam. Despite the overused phrase, it’s hard to deny the rapping talent from the former Degrassi star and the more than catchy lyrics delivered in every beat. The young rapper seems to be on to something, and I have a feeling we’ll be hearing him for quite some while.
9. “Mercy” by Dave Matthews Band:
After years of quality music and even better live concerts, Dave Matthews released another chart-topping album full of hits that our kids will most likely be singing years later. “Mercy” is no different. If you don’t have it by now, it should be the first one in your download queue.
10. “Gangnam Style” by PSY:
I’m not quite sure any playlist reflecting on 2012 would be complete without this number. After all, even the producers at Beaver Stadium can’t resist the quirky dance and the “sexy lady” references. Though I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song, I somehow have the feeling that we won’t be hearing the last of this song for a long time.