The best singles of 2012 | EW.com

Music

The best singles of 2012

The tunes that kept our feet tapping this year

1 Carly Rae Jepsen
”Call Me Maybe”
Before the countless YouTube lip dubs, the nine weeks at No. 1, and the 1,000th time you heard it at a barbecue, there was just a song: a purple-ink love letter with a tiny voice whispering about wishing wells and ripped jeans like it was a secret she wanted you to keep forever. It might have been the soundtrack of your summer, or you might’ve rolled your eyes at parties but then secretly put it on your workout mix. But every time it played, life sounded just a tiny bit different. Better, maybe. —Adam Markovitz

2. Gotye feat. Kimbra
”Somebody That I Used to Know”
When a funny-named Aussie and his New Zealand sidekick first emerged with a quirky, minimalist breakup ballad, it seemed like the least likely candidate for a Hot 100 No. 1 since ”The Macarena.” Yet ”Somebody” connected with everybody, as covers by artists from Kelly Clarkson to prog-metal band Coheed and Cambria (and you in the bathroom mirror — don’t lie) proved. —Ray Rahman

3. Japandroids
”The House That Heaven Built”
Fueled by a closed-fist intensity and approximately one thousand oh-oh-ohs, this fiery punk manifesto does everything a great guitar-band anthem is supposed to do: rally the troops, disturb the peace, and make some ?#@!ing noise. ”If they try to slow you down/Tell ‘em all to go to hell,” frontman Brian King shouts. Consider it the most badass fortune cookie you’ve ever come across. — Ray Rahman

4. fun.
”Some Nights”
While ”We Are Young” spread its show-choir pop gospel to every corner in 2012, ”Some Nights” stealthily found the glee club all grown up. Earnestly asking the hard questions, the fun. boys tapped into that particular cocktail of joy and melancholy that sets in between last call and the snooze button. —Kyle Anderson

5. Taylor Swift
”I Knew Your Were Trouble”
In classic Swift style, she didn’t just jump on the dubstep bandwagon — that thump-a-whumping, suddenly everywhere jalopy that already had Britney and Bieber in the backseat — she grabbed the wheel. Backhanding a no-good ex, Taylor never loses her country-strong edge, even when she’s singing over beats that would shake the rafters off the Opry. —Adam Markovitz

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