Love & Sex

The Greatest Love Songs of 2012

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All that apocalypse panic made for some great love songs.

Man. 2012, huh? 1 in 5 of us thought the world was going to end last Friday, 3 in 5 of us recorded a YouTube cover of "Call Me Maybe," citation needed and Anne Hathaway dreamed a dream. Anyway, it was a great year for love songs across a wide variety of genres, so let's get right down to it, shall we? Let us know if we missed your personal favorite in the comments — the more the merrier. 

 

10. J. Cole ft. Missy Elliot, "Nobody's Perfect"
Ok, it's not the most romantic song, but that's what Michael Buble's for. Let's look at this as a narrative of 2K12 love: a couple smokes weed together, sneaks around avoiding their roommates, and heats up some leftover lasagna. Nobody's keeling over from infatuation, but at least they have solid, regular companionship with someone who accepts their flaws — and hey, isn't that love?

 

9. Fiona Apple, "Anything We Want"
Sometimes I feel like Fiona Apple's lyrics have been culled from Lewis Carroll's nonsensical word-orgy "Jabberwocky," but "Anything We Want" manages to wring equal parts lust and affection from Apple's musings. "Let's pretend we're eight years old playing hookey / I'll draw on the wall and you can play UFC rookie / and then we'll grow up / and take our clothes off" — pirouetting from childish innocence to knowing lust has always been one of Apple's strong suits, and "Anything We Want" finds her still in great form. 

 

8. Leonard Cohen, "Crazy To Love You"
Ah, Leonard Cohen. Once I was stuck in immobile traffic on the hottest of hot summer days with nothing but a Leonard Cohen CD in my car. It was a strange experience: on one hand, it was like I had been transported a to world where the car fumes pouring through my window no longer mattered and everything was ok; on the other, I was going insane and it seemed a mind-numbingly slow death was imminent. It felt like I was in love.

 

7. Beach House, "Other People"
Even the most furious of one-night-stands can turn into something pre-matrimonial if you throw in a Beach House soundtrack. Victoria Legrand warbles, "Other people want to keep in touch/Something happens and it's not enough," as couples everywhere carve hearts and initials into tree trunks. Bittersweet, but heartfelt.

 

6. Willis Earl Beal, "Away My Silent Lover"
Willis Earl Beal makes me cry — because I'm lonely — but I'm sure if I were in love his music would make me feel really nice. The theme of the song is kind of like, "if you love something, let it go," but Beal seems to believe in a sort of adorable boomerang effect: "When my heart disintegrates and my voice is no more, we'll eternally be mates… but for now it's all nostalgia." Doesn't that make you feel like you need to go out on the porch and make a phone call?

5. Alabama Shakes, "I Found You"
There's been plenty of e-ink spilled over Brittany Howard's towering voice (to say nothing of her band's wrecking-ball swing), so just shut up and listen: "This isn't sometimes / this is for always." Yeah, it is.  

 

4. Adam Green & Binki Shapiro, "Here I Am"
Adam Green and Binki Shapiro's old-fashioned heteronormative love duet is almost grossly sweet. But I said almost grossly sweet, because it really is just plain old sweet in a way that makes you want to nestle into your lover's neck, or even the neck of a nice stranger. Sample lyric: "Taking you from the back of my mind, to keep you with me always, all the time". D'awww…

 

3. The XX, "Angels"
The XX is one of those bands whose name will elicit a "Oh, yeah, I had sex to their first album" a lot. (This happens all the time, I swear.) If you're looking for something to whisper into your significant other's year come midnight on New Year's, you probably can't do much better than: "A silent devotion / I know you know what I mean / And the end is unknown / But I think I'm ready / As long as you're with me."

 

2. Chairlift, "I Belong in Your Arms" 
For all the world-music chanting, layers of '80s synths and general wackiness surrounding this gem from Chairlift (including an alternate version in Japanese), it all boils down to one indelible chorus hook and one direct, devoted sentiment: "I belong in your arms."

 

1. Frank Ocean, "Thinking About You"
I know Frank Ocean was on our Sexiest Music Videos of 2012 list too, but it's just a reflection of his ubiquitousness this year. Everyone loved this song. My mom loved this song. Everyone loves love and loving love and everyone loves Frank Ocean, which is good, 'cause he's "thinkin' bout forever."