This year was certainly not uneventful. We witnessed, among other things, the rise and dominance of electronic dance music, the mainstream crossover of indie folk rock, celebrations for the Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary, global mass hysteria over Gangnam Style, the passing of legends (the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch and Whitney Houston) and the second coming of industry veterans including Madonna, Lionel Richie and Bobby Womack. As the supposed end of the world came and went, we're ushering in the new year with the 15 best songs (in no particular oder) of 2012.
THE XX/ CHAINED
After their hugely successful Mercury Prize-winning debut back in 2009, the British electro minimalists return with an eagerly anticipated second outing, Coexist, and Chained is one of the album's standout tracks. Startlingly sparse and contemplative, the song cleverly plays to the band's strengths with an intriguing vocal interplay between Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft. Together they seem to be echoing one another: ''Separate or combine/I ask you one last time/Did I hold you too tight?/Did I not let enough light in?'' If you think that's genius, wait until the guitar riff washes over you _ only these guys can make heartache sound so thrillingly exquisite.
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