Top 89 Staff Picks: Scott Olstad, Associate Web Producer

Top 89 of 2012
Top 89 of 2012 (MPR Graphic)

Songs

1. Wishbook — "Makes Me"

Their album, Happy Garden, is an honorable mention for Top 89 Albums. This song makes me say AAAH.

2. A$AP Rocky — "Goldie"

A$AP Rocky would have had a legitimate shot at my top albums list if he could release his record on time. Instead he'll settle for this. It was tough picking my favorite A$AP track of the year. "Goldie" just edged Theophilus London's "Big Spender feat. A$AP Rocky" for this list.

3. Foxy Shazam — "Last Chance at Love"

Foxy Shazam's best singles sound like they belong on a Queen "Greatest Hits" record.

4. Kanye West — "New God Flow"

My favorite Ye verse from this year.

5. Amadou & Mariam — "Cherie"

This song reminded me of that vintage Gilberto Gil sound, and I'm a sucker for using a chorus of children as backing vocals.

6. Bobby Womack — "Please Forgive My Heart"

Former backing guitarist for my main dude, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack's record this year was fantastic. I'm a huge fan of juxtaposing seemingly disparate influences and Bobby's combination of old-school soul with digital sounds is marvelously satisfying.

7. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — "Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert)"

Taking a look at the Top 89 Staff Picks, it's clear that I'm not the only one who was deeply affected by this song. It's a magnificent song, but the "right place, right time" nature of its release vaulted it to a higher level in my consciousness.

8. John Mark Nelson — "Reminisce"

My definitive version is Nate Ryan's excellent video of John Mark Nelson performing the song here at The Current.

9. Bruno Mars — "Locked Out of Heaven"

I never paid attention to Bruno Mars until his stint as SNL host/performer earlier this season. This guy has talent! "Locked Out of Heaven" is a magnificently catchy pop song that feels like Michael Jackson covering Big Boi's "Shutterbug."

10. Willie Nelson — "Just Breathe"

Willie isn't reinventing the wheel here, but what a pretty little song! I remember hearing this for the first time while driving my car and listening to The Current this summer. It was one of those terrific scenarios where The Current introduces a new song to you while you're in the perfect setting to hear it. That summer sunset drive and this song were the perfect combination in that moment. But this song stands on its own — even without the sunset.

Honorable Mentions

Grouplove's "Tongue Tied" is a perfectly infectious pop song with fun drums, "Some Nights" by fun. is as radio-ready as pop songs come, Passion Pit's "Carried Away" recalls fond memories of time spent with Manners, Lupe Fiasco's sax sample from "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)" should be illegal, and "Mind Your Manners" was a highlight in a year of solid releases from Chiddy Bang.

Several songs from the Searching for Sugarman soundtrack would have made my list if Rodriguez hadn't originally recorded them in the 70s, "Hot Cheetos and Takis" from Y.N.RichKids is an unexpectedly solid hit that influenced me into trying Takis (bad idea), and Earl Sweatshirt's verse on Frank Ocean's "Super Rich Kids" is the perfect dose of Odd Future sprinkled in one of this year's best albums.

Albums

1. Frank Ocean — Channel Orange

My love for this album is inappropriate.

2. Field Report — Field Report

Don't sleep on Field Report, unless you're falling asleep to Field Report.

Because it's good to listen to before bed.

3. Fresh Espresso — Bossalona

The Seattle hip-hop duo surprised me with this remarkably consistent album. Every track feels like it could be the lead single.

4. Reptar — Body Faucet

If Vampire Weekend and Architecture in Helsinki had a baby, it would be Reptar's Body Faucet. Catchy indie-pop that never lets experimentation obscure the sonic hook.

5. Beach House — Bloom

I was such a big fan of 2010's Teen Dream, I don't hold it against Beach House for giving us essentially more of the same with Bloom.

6. Kendrick Lamar — good kid, m.A.A.d city

Most of my favorite hip-hop artists released mixtapes instead of records this year, but Kendrick's good kid, m.A.A.d city is so far ahead of the pack, I doubt it would have been matched even if the field was more crowded.

7. Dan Deacon — America

BBBBZZZZZZZ BOOOOOOOM DUGGADADUGGADA VVVVVRRRRRR SSSSSSSSSS daDAdaDAdaDAdaDAdaDA!

Some of Dan's techniques have stayed a little too unchanged since Wham City, but whatever. The same rule from Beach House's Bloom applies here. I haven't found this sound anywhere since Bromst, so I won't argue with more of the same.

8. David Byrne & St. Vincent — Love This Giant

I love the heavy beats and bumpin' horns on every track. Collaborative projects often struggle to find their identity on early releases, but not here.

It feels like David Byrne and Annie Clark had a clear vision of what they were trying to accomplish. The result is a conceptually-consistent record filled with fun ideas and catchy hooks.

9. P.O.S — We Don't Even Live Here

I'll never pass on a chance to see P.O.S live, but the production on previous releases always left me wanting more. This is the first P.O.S record that may be better than the live-equivalent ... but we'll find out about that later. (Get healthy soon Stef!)

10. G.O.O.D. Music — Cruel Summer

A collection of summer singles from the G.O.O.D. Music record label, Cruel Summer lacks the cohesion of an album from a single artist, but the individual songs are strong enough to warrant the record's inclusion on this list.

Honorable Mentions

Releasing a musically-derivative album is all about timing. Too close to your previous album and the music sounds redundant (Two Door Cinema Club), but too far away and fans will wonder why the sound didn't change more during the hiatus (Passion Pit, The xx). Beach House and Dan Deacon nailed that timing with Bloom and America, many of my Honorable Mentions came close.

Wishbook — Happy Garden

Killer Mike — R.A.P. Music

Bobby Womack — The Bravest Man In The Universe

Japandroids — Celebration Rock

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis — The Heist

Rodriguez — Searching For Sugarman Soundtrack

Night Moves — Color Emotions

More Top 89

Polls


Top 89 songs of 2012

Top 89 albums of 2012

Staff Picks

Mark Wheat, Host

Mary Lucia, Host

Barb Abney, Host

Steve Seel, Host

Jill Riley, Host

Bill DeVille, Host

Jim McGuinn, Program Director

Jade Tittle, Assistant Producer & Host

David Safar, Music Director

Mac Wilson, Host

Jacquie Fuller, Host

Derrick Stevens, Production Manager

Lindsay Kimball, Assistant Program Director

Jon Schober, Local Music Assistant/Music Assistant

Brett Baldwin, Managing Digital Producer

Leah Garaas, Intern

Nate Ryan, Associate Web Producer, Multimedia

Jake Rudh, Host

Matt Perkins, Marketing Manager

Scott Olstad, Associate Web Producer

Peter Valelly, Associate Web Producer

Andrea Swensson, Local Current blogger