20 Best Songs of 2012: Critics' Picks

20 Best Songs of 2012: Critics' Picks

20 Best Songs of 2012: Critics' Picks

Chart Article

20 Best SONGS OF 2012 CRITICS PICKS

A year of singles has come and gone, but when it came time for the Billboard.com staff to choose our 20 favorites we thought, fought and lobbied -- and most of all we listened. These 20 tunes cover the gamut from hip-hop (Nas, G.O.O.D. Music) and pop (Carly Rae Jepsen) to country (Love and Theft) and rock (Bruce Springsteen), but we all agree they're 2012's best.

Best of 2012: Billboard's Year-End Charts & More | 10 Best Albums: Critics' Picks
VIDEO: Katy Perry, One Direction & More Pick Favorite 2012 Songs

20 "Feel So Close"
Calvin Harris


EDM wizard and "We Found Love" maestro stepped out on his own and scored.

CALVIN HARRIS

19 "Bad Girls"
M.I.A.


We're still waiting for that fourth full-length, but this whiz-bang one-off single almost made us forget the Super Bowl debacle... almost.

M.I.A.

18 "Elephant"
Tame Impala


Standout from indie rockers' "Lonerism" album rumbles along with melodies that Paul McCartney would appreciate.

TAME IMPALA

17 "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)"
Ne-Yo


After his "Libra Scale" misstep, Ne-Yo returned in full force with an ode to much-needed support (see: song title).

NE-YO

16 "You're The One"
Charli XCX


U.K. pop auteur released a string of dazzle pop singles this year, none quite as fluttering as this synth-laden love song.

CHARLI XCX

15 "Wrecking Ball"
Bruce Springsteen


The Boss soldiers on, fists clenched, and hollers "Bring on your wrecking ball!" For those who thought his last few albums underwhelmed, "Wrecking Ball" proved that the fire was back.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

14 "Bye Baby"
Nas


A startlingly vivid portrayal of a dissolved marriage, with Nasty Nas lobbing both potshots and heartfelt memories at Kelis.

NAS

13 "Angel Eyes"
Love And Theft


In a year full of strong country singles, Love and Theft crafted a repeatedly enjoyable ode to a rebellious female heart.

LOVE AND THEFT

12 "Wildest Moments"
Jessie Ware


For many people, "Wildest Moments" served as the ideal introduction to Jessie Ware, its thwacking drums and quivering emotion inviting listeners to dig deeper into this sublime new artist.

JESSIE WARE

11 "The House That Heaven Built"
Japandroids


Japandroids' "Celebration Rock" album lives up to its title, and "Heaven" is the moment the duo graces the upper reaches of its ideals, one "Oh-OH-oh-oh-oh-oh" at a time.

JAPANDROIDS

text by Jason Lipshutz

Chart Article

text by Jason Lipshutz

VIDEO: Katy Perry, One Direction & More Pick Fave 2012 Songs | 10 Best Albums of 2012: Critics' Picks


• Q&As: One Direction, 5 Interviews
• COVER STORY: One Direction
• OVERVIEW The Year in Pop
• YEAR-END ISSUE: Order It Here

• HUB: The Year In Music 2012
• 2012 CHARTS: Hot 100 Songs
• 2012 CHARTS: Billboard 200
• 2012 CHARTS: Top Artists

2012: The Year In Music - Main Page