2012 marked the rise of The Lumineers, further dominance from Rihanna, and many other great musicians hoping to make an impact on the music industry.
So let’s take a look at those who succeeded with our list of the best songs from 2012.
“Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber
Heartthrob Justin Bieber was just beginning his career a few years prior, but it's safe to say that the release of “Boyfriend” in 2012 helped boost his already growing fanbase. Bieber sings about how if he was someone's boyfriend, how great he'd treat them. This of course went down well with his largely female audience.
The song is so popular that the singer performs it many years later.
“Payphone” by Maroon 5
Maroon 5 has always been a great group that people of all ages appreciate, and in 2012, “Payphone” graced our ears for the first time. This catchy tune has some pretty sad lyrics, but the upbeat and great vocals quickly made it a hit. It even peaked at the number one spot on the Billboard Pop Charts.
“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
Before the release of “Ho Hey,” a lot of people hadn't even heard of The Lumineers since they're more of a folk band. But this song resonated with so many people and was a widespread hit regardless of people's preferred genre. It's a slower song with great music and even better lyrics.
“Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees
Neon Tree is a pop-punk band, and this song was a huge song across radio stations around the country. The singer belts the chorus making it a fun sign to jam out to and blast while driving with your windows down. The lyrics are about how people will talk about everyone's relationships and how they can sometimes get in the way.
“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
It's safe to assume that everyone's heard “Call Me Maybe” at least a few times in their lives. This pop hit is what put Carly Rae Jepsen on the musical map and prompted a massive trend on the internet, with people making dance videos to it. There are even soldiers overseas dancing to the song, which helped boost the song in the charts.
“50 Ways To Say Goodbye” by Train
Train is an excellent band with many hits like “Soul Sister,” but in 2012, “50 Ways To Say Goodbye” came out, and everyone who's ever gone through a breakup can understand. The lyrics are a little funny and exaggerated as the singer talks about all the different ways to say what happened to their now ex, like getting eaten by a shark.
“Take a Little Ride” by Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean is a staple in country music, and he released this excellent song in 2012. The song is about the girl he likes and how he wants to drive around town with her in his passenger seat.
“We Are Young” by Fun
All the students graduating in 2012, whether in high school or college, were huge fans of this song. Fun sings about how they're young and can live recklessly and have as much fun as possible. Even for those not graduating this year, one of the main lyrics says, “so tonight, we are young,” saying anyone can live like they're young regardless of age.
“Mercy” by Kanye West
Kanye West is arguably one of the most famous musicians worldwide, and his song “Mercy” was a massive hit in 2012. Even if you never listened to the whole song or knew what the lyrics were, everyone knows the main line, “Lamborghini mercy,” and knows exactly what song it is when that line starts.
“Don't You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia
Electronic dance music (EDM) was starting to rise in popularity around this time, and Swedish House Mafia helped pave the way for those outside the genre with their song “Don't You Worry Child.” The music is lively and fun to dance to, and the lyrics are meaningful but not overly sentimental. It's a great song to dance to or even work out to.
“Brokenhearted” by Karmin
Karmin wasn't as successful in the music industry as others on this list, but there's no way we could talk about good music from 2012 without mentioning “Brokenhearted.” The song is upbeat and fun to listen to, and the lyrics are relatable. She sings about how she's been waiting all day for her crush to call her back, and we've all been there.
“Let's Go” by Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris is known for his great music, and “Let's Go” is one of his best from 2012. The lyrics are simple, mainly “let's go,” but the song was very popular years back and a great song to add to any playlist.
“Good Time” by Owl City
Owl City paired with Carly Rae Jepsen for this 2012 hit, “Good Time.” The song is lighthearted and upbeat and reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The lyrics are all about how they don't even have to try to enjoy each other's company and have a good time.
“Drive By” by Train
Train was releasing great song after song in 2012, and “Drive By” was another worth mentioning. Their music is always emotional, and despite the song's fast pace, the lyrics are all about trying to convince this woman that they'll be there for her and that they aren't just going to be around for a short time.
“Glad You Came” by The Wanted
The Wanted is a British-Irish boy band, so they weren't very popular in the United States, but when they released “Glad You Came” in 2012, people around the world went crazy. The lyrics are all about being happy that the person they're interested in showed up, but there are some sexual innuendos throughout too.
“Diamonds” by Rihanna
Rihanna has no shortage of amazing songs. “Diamonds” was one of her best from 2012. Her musical brilliance features great instrumentals, and the lyrics are meaningful. She sings about how we can all “shine bright like a diamond” and let our inner beauty show at all times.
“Demons” by Imagine Dragons
This alternative band might be best known for their song “Demons.” The music is exciting, but the lyrics have a much deeper meaning. As you listen, you'll hear a story about a man wanting to hide his inner demons from his loved ones to protect them as best as possible. Many people can relate to this, and the song is still fun to listen to.
“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” by P!nk
P!nk always has some powerful and great music, and her song “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” was widely accepted. The title is a little innuendo, and you can take the lyrics one way or another. The song showcases the hurt behind a breakup but that she's a strong person and will be okay, which is something we all need reminders of sometimes.
“Pound the Alarm” by Nicki Minaj
Although she's probably best known for her hit, “Superbass,” Nicki Minaj has still released some of the best music in the hip-hop genre that is still appreciated by the pop genre. “Pound the Alarm” was a huge success and has a powerful beat that anyone will love dancing to or working out.
“Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood is beloved throughout the music industry regardless of your favorite genre, and “Blown Away” is a song that gets five stars for storytelling. The lyrics tell the story of a family in the midwest where tornadoes frequent and how a girl lets her abuser die in the tornado. It's a powerful song, and Underwood's vocals will give you chills.
“As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber
Another one of Justin Bieber's songs to grace our ears in 2012 was “As Long As You Love Me.” Bieber's lyrics showcase how no matter what he goes through in life, he'll be fine as long as his love loves him back.
“Let Me Love You” by Ne-Yo
Not all love songs have to be slow and sad. Ne-Yo's “Let Me Love You” is a beautiful song with a fun beat that will make you smile. The lyrics talk about how he's ready to love someone until they're ready to love themselves, which is a beautiful sentiment.
“Hall of Fame” by The Script
“Hall of Fame” was a powerhouse of a song in 2012 and even years after. The powerful lyrics are about influencing people to be the best they can be, and if they reach their dreams, they'll be in the hall of fame. Some lyrics are encouraging, like “you can go the distance.”
“Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa
Another fun party song from 2012 is “Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa. Basically, it's a song about how if you work hard, you can play whatever that looks like for you. You would hear this blasting on the radio, in clubs, and in bars back in 2012.
“Stay” by Rihanna
“Stay” is an emotional song that will tug at your heartstrings. The lyrics talk about how sometimes you don't know what it is about someone, but you're drawn to them, making you want them to stay in your life or physically with you at that moment. Rihanna does a beautiful job conveying all the emotions that come with this experience.
“Something ‘Bout a Truck” by Kip Moore
One of the most classic country songs from 2012 came from Kip Moore. “Something ‘Bout a Truck” is about how there's just something about a truck in a field and other stereotypical country things like a pretty girl and cold beer.
“Turn Up the Music” by Chris Brown
Not all great songs have to have a powerful meaning, and Chris Brown's “Turn Up the Music” is a testament to that. This fun song from 2012 is upbeat, catchy, and the kind of song you put on when you want to get up and dance. Even if you don't want to dance, it's still a fun song to lighten any mood.
“Wide Awake” by Katy Perry
Most people have probably been in a situation where they didn't see clearly because they were blinded by love or lust. Katy Perry's “Wide Awake” is about waking up after being blinded by love and seeing the person or situation for what it is, which isn't as magical as it is thought.
“Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele
Adele is known for her strong vocals and captivating lyrics. All her songs are wonderful, but “Set Fire To The Rain” from 2012 is one of her best, before her newer stuff. Anyone who's ever been beaten down by a relationship will feel the song in their soul.
“Wild Ones” by Flo Rida
One of the best party songs from 2012 is “Wild Ones” by Flo Rida. The song has a fun beat to dance to, and the lyrics are carefree. It's a song you would hear all over the radio, in bars, and on most people's smartphones. You can even listen to it today; it was such a popular song!
“I Won't Give Up” by Jason Mraz
If you want a song from 2012 that will melt your heart, it's “I Won't Give Up.” Jason Mraz did a wonderful job singing about how no matter what, he won't give up on his love. Whether he's talking about a personal situation or a general one, it's a compelling song that will resonate if you've ever been in love.
“Come Over” by Kenny Chesney
Most people have been in the position sometime when they're no longer with someone they love because they think we're bad for another. Kenny Chesney's song “Come Over” is about trying to let someone go, but it's too hard, so he's asking the person they want to be with to come over.
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore
“Thrift Shop” was one of the most fun songs to come out in 2012. Macklemore did a great job with this song and getting people on their feet whenever it came on to start dancing. The song is simple lyrically, talking about going to the thrift shop to find new clothes and looking fabulous with the finds at the store.
“Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey's lyrics and music in “Summertime Sadness” are monumental. The song is still pretty popular years later, thanks to the relatable message about a romance being as fleeting as the summertime is. The song has won a Grammy and is arguably one of Lana's most well-known songs.
“I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
The guitar work on “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons is intense and will immediately give you chills. Besides that, the lyrics are beautiful, and the singer of the band knows how to sing to your soul. The song is about waiting for as long as it takes for the person they love.
“Pyramids” by Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean's music isn't for everyone, but there was something about this song that people from all around the globe liked. The song's lyrics speak about Cleopatra and the Pyramids and tell an engaging story that's worth listening to if you've never heard the song.
“Girl Gone Wild” by Madonna
Madonna has been an icon in the music industry since the 1980s, and even her hit song “Girl Gone Wild” in 2012 showcased her unique style. This upbeat and electronic song was played on the radio, at parties, and whenever anyone needed a boost of serotonin.
“Live While We're Young” by One Direction
Before many of the One Direction group went solo, their songs were smash hits. “Live While We're Young” was arguably the best one of 2012, with an exhilarating beat, and the lyrics are fun to yell at the top of your lungs. While the younger girls went crazy for the song, everyone agreed it was fun to listen to.
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons is known for its powerful alternative music and “Radioactive” saw a lot of success when it was released in 2012. The rock community was raving about the song, and with success on this front, more mainstream radio stations started playing the song in early 2013.
“Gangnam Style” by Psy
The South Korean singer, Psy, burst into the global music scene with the worldwide hit “Gangnam Style.” The lyrics are minimal, but the dance beat is one that no one will forget. As the song circulated the globe, the specific horse-riding dance became popular, and people would do it anytime the song came on.
“Somebody I Used To Know” by Gotye
Featuring Kimbra, this song has a nice beat and despite the somber topic (losing trust in people you used to care for), it’s a catchy tune that can become an earworm. It displays the variety of this year in music quite well and is still enjoyable today, much like the rest of Gotye’s music.
Top Songs From 2012, Final Thoughts
From Imagine Dragons to Madonna to Justin Bieber, and more, there's so much to love about the best songs from 2012. These are our favorites, which are yours?