At the end of every journey there’s an inescapable need to pick a winner. From high school yearbooks to Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year,” superlatives are an extremely important part of our culture. Who did it best? Who will be remembered 25 years in the future and who will fade into obscurity?

In early December of every year, end-of-the-year lists pop up, seemingly everywhere, some much more honest than others. In the music scene, this can be an especially sensitive topic — how many of these lists are a popularity contest and how many take the time to really think about which artists produced truly innovative songs this year? Just because “Diamonds” and “Call Me Maybe” are feel-good (arguably excellent) songs and have the most views on YouTube doesn’t mean they captured the essence of 2012 or changed the way we hear music. The song of the year doesn’t necessarily have to have made it on the Billboard Top 40, or get a nod from The Grammys, those accolades certainly help sell records, but it doesn’t measure a song’s innovation or ingenuity

Likewise, the song of the year isn’t something esoteric. It’s a song you first heard on your best friend’s Spotify playlist, or that song you fell in love with at that summer festival you went to, or the song you heard on the Noise Pop Podcast. The song of the year is catchy without sounding cheap or formulaic.

Most importantly, the song of the year isn’t momentary — it’s gushing nostalgia even on the first listen. The song of the year is a feeling — it’s blasting “The House That Heaven Built” by Japandroids while driving down the highway with a car full of friends. It’s clinking your champagne glasses and indulging in a New Year’s Eve kiss while Sam Smith’s velvety vocals on Disclosure’s “Latch” emerge in the background. It’s that effortless feeling when Cloud Nothings’ “Fall In” comes on your playlist at work, and for three solid minutes you’re so unproductive that you need to play it over again.

It’s the songs that make you want to dance, change your life, and all the while hitting a truth chord in your heartstrings. It’s something Fiona Apple achieves but LMFAO can only mimic.

So as we count down the last days of 2012 and attempt to choose the best songs of the year for this week’s Noise Pop Podcast, we’re looking for songs that remind us of the magic of music. Songs that not only beg to be played over and over, but that put all the best parts of being human into a bottle and then pour those out through headphones.

The next episode of the Noise Pop Podcast will be a collection of all the best songs of the year, chosen by you! We want to hear from you, our tasteful and discerning listeners, and have you determine the tracklist of the final episode of 2012. Please email your suggestions to, or or if you’d like to have your voice played on air record your suggestion below in the Soundcloud widget or call in and leave a message with your suggestions on the podcast hotline, (585) 4NOISE5.

Share Your Pick for 2012’s Song of the Year 12 December,2012KQED Arts

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