Not only is this June the second anniversary of my What I’m Listening To column, but it’s also been ten years since I started keeping track of my annual favorites. That initially began as YouTube videos, transformed to iPod playlists for a few years, and has been a feature here on the blog since 2018. The power of nostalgia and music is incredible, and I thought it would be fun to share my old annual playlist now that it’s been (almost) ten years since 2012.
In 2012, I was blogging and writing, went through a few personal milestones, and was—in some ways—different than who I am today. That’s personal growth, right? This music, then, is like a time capsule of that Karley: her passions, her hurts, her obsessions. Although I didn’t have quite the same rules I do now for my playlists, the same precedent seems to carry through as well as the variety. Rather than sharing my favorite lyric, I’ll share what I remember about the song and its importance to me then. They’re organized in the same order they appear on my iPod.
What’s inside the musical moment of 2012?
“Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” by The Secret Sisters. This song was heavily in my rotation as I worked on a huge fanfiction. I usually write with music, and this time period strengthened those skills. Basically, most of The Hunger Games soundtrack was an inspiration for my writing at that time.
“In All My Dreams I Drown” performed by Jessica Lowndes and Terrance Zdunich. One of the highlights of 2012 was seeing the The Devil’s Carnival in August and meeting both the writer and director. I was hyped ahead of time by the soundtrack and the teasers, and this one was my favorite. I still have my signed copy of the soundtrack squirreled away.
“Without You” performed by Marni Nixon and Rex Harrison. For some reason, I decided this number from My Fair Lady was the main anthem for my high school break-up. I can understand why the idea of life going on and being fine would hold appeal. Plus, I was a theater kid at heart.
“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. You couldn’t go anywhere in 2012 without hearing this song. I even tried using it twice to pick up boys and it didn’t work. Regardless, this pop anthem will never be overplayed for me.
“Minnie the Moocher” by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra. I saw a burlesque routine to this song on YouTube and became obsessed. I’m pretty sure I had heard samples of it before, but it was a highlight of my shower and car singing for pretty much the whole year.
“The Way I Do” from Starship. In the early 2010s, I was a fan of Starkid Productions and their variety of musical parodies. This sci-fi action homage featuring puppets was no exception and this love ballad between a man and an android captured my heart and stereo.
“Glad You Came” by The Wanted. Contrary to many of my friends, I was not big into the boy band resurgence (not even One Direction). However, I still enjoyed a lot of the singles, and this one with its clever play on lyrics was a lot of fun.
“Reprobate Romance” by Blacklisted Me. Let’s not forget I was still in the throes of teenage angst in 2012. I’m fairly certain I loved the music video for this song and that’s what led to its repeat performance on my playlists. Plus, we love women in rock.
“Maybe Someday” by Teen Hearts. In the latter half of 2012, I tried online dating for the first time, and developed a handful of crushes. This song, then, became my anthem as I tried to capture the attention of any number of cute boys who would send flirty messages my way. Plus, the music video was one of my favorites.
“Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert. I remember being half asleep on my cousin’s couch, shortly after my break-up, and hearing this for the first time. It resonated strongly and became part of my constant rotation, and one my favorite country songs.
“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye and Kimbra. Another iconic 2012 anthem with a great music video, this felt like it was tailor made for me and my sad feelings. I remember going to In N Out after prom with some friends, singing this at the top of our lungs, and feeling some form of catharsis.
“Every Story is a Love Story” performed by Sherie Rene Scott. In June of 2012, I had the chance to compete at the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska. One of the other troupes put on a performance of Aida, and the girl who played Amneris had such a powerhouse voice that this song became seared into my brain.
“The Bitch of Living” from Spring Awakening. Again, 2012 was right around the peak of my theater kid years and I was living and loving musicals more than ever. We would listen to albums while building sets or traveling for competitions, and this musical about puberty, sexuality, and angst spoke to me.
“Timekeeper” by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. My mom loaned me this album and I remember enjoying it, but when it reached this song I was enthralled. This became one of my favorite songs to belt and feel powerful, and later inspired another fan fiction.
“We’d Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover” from Annie. Ten years later, I can’t remember quite how I discovered this track or why I was obsessed with it. I’d already been in love with the 80s film adaptation of the musical—which lacks this take down of the Depression-era president—but something about it must have appealed to my love of history and musicals in a pre-Hamilton time.
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift. What? You thought we’d make it through one of my playlists without Taylor making an appearance? 2012 was the year I discovered Red on a trip to New Zealand, and this song got a lot of radio play besides. Yet another break-up fueled playlist choice, but one that definitely makes sense.
“Hit Me Like a Man” by The Pretty Reckless. This band’s debut album was one of my favorites of the later years of high school and, as they released EPs and singles leading up to their sophomore effort, I fell more in love with their sound. I’d often listen to this song and others as a mood booster before going to the gym, or post-workout when I felt like I was the most badass woman in the world.
“장난치지마” by Chi Chi. This is roughly around when I started listening to more K-Pop rather than exclusively tracks found in anime, but I can’t remember how I found this infectious song. It was great for working out on the treadmill and inspiring movement.
“One More Night” by Maroon 5. After the early 2010s, my tolerance for this band lowered as their sound definitely changed and as front-man Adam Levine’s fame rose. However, this sweet spot of nostalgia was great for drives and carried a ton of energy.
“Last Name” by Carrie Underwood. Let’s be honest, when you’re enjoying online dating in the early college years, sometimes it isn’t important to know someone’s last name. This was another song I loved singing in the car, and definitely inspired at least one impromptu kiss with a stranger.
“Hopelessly Devoted To You” performed by Olivia Newton John. Teenage hormones are so powerful. I once listened to this at least thirty times in a row because I was crushing so hard on a guy I was talking to. Like, I just wanted to listlessly stare into a pool of water and imagine his face there because we couldn’t be together.
“Sail” by AWOLNATION. I love the memes with this song, but I was particularly inspired by a homemade music video where two girls made fake rain with a garden hose and one of the girls was like the hipster indie chic I wanted to be. It was an infectious and powerful track that was made for all my dystopian fiction brainstorms.
“Small Bump” by Ed Sheeran. The + album was on repeat for most of fall 2012, and while I loved a lot of songs this one hit me the hardest. In the years since and the growth of Sheeran’s success, it’s easy to forget he’s not all love ballads or pop take downs. The emotions in this song get me every time.
“Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch. I’m going to guess that I heard this cover on the radio since our local rock stations love Five Finger Death Punch. Since I’m a fan of the original, it makes sense I also enjoyed the cover. Other than my general ideas, I don’t have a lot of memories around this one.
“When Will My Life Begin?” by Mandy Moore. Yes, I saw Tangled when it came out in theaters in 2010. However, when you transition between big life stages sometimes an appropriate soundtrack is needed. This is still a song I turn to when I’m feeling particularly stuck or comparative of where I should be, but it’s also a good reminder to enjoy the moment. After all, 2012 me had it pretty good.
There we go—my 25 favorite songs from 2012! This was certainly a bit of nostalgia for me, and I hope it provided some memories, recommendations, or laughs for you. If able, I’m going to keep this feature going for the next few years with annual flashbacks to playlists not previously published on the blog. We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. We’ll grow. Such is life and music.