JONATHAN DONALDSON, music writer, The Phoenix

1. Allo Darlin' "Europe" (from Europe)

2. Craft Spells "Sun Trails" (from Gallery)

3. Field Music "I Keep Thinking About (A New Thing)" (from Plumb)

4. Dent May "Rent Money" (from Do Things)

5. Cloud Nothings "Wasted Days" (from Attack On Memory)

6. Banditas "Nothing From Nothing" (from Save The Rats)

7. Grimes "Symphonia Ix (My Wait Is You)" (from Visions)

8. The Beach Boys "Pacific Coast Highway" (from That's Why God Made The Radio)

9. Lightships "The Warmth Of The Sun" (from Electric Cable)

10. Django Django "Hail Bop" (from Django Django)

In 2012 I definitely challenged myself with albums and artists that were outside my comfort zone, but when it came to favorite songs, I always returned to my happy place. Groovy harmonic vibes came from Beach Boys songs old (the Beach Boys) and new (Dent May). Sometimes I tranced out (Grimes) and sometimes I rocked the bejezus out (Cloud Nothings). I got my soft pop fix (Teenage Fanclub solo project, Lightships). I got my ugly quirk on (Django Django and Field Music). I admit I got a little fey and dreamy (Craft Spells). I even pulled out those retro girl-group boots (Boston's Banditas) for the first time since Outrageous Cherry's "Out there in the Dark" in 1999. But the catchiest song from 2012 was a quintessential wannabe-Jonathan Richman indie-pop track from England's Allo Darlin'. It's called 'Europe," and it asks you how you feel about that ancient place. While I don't even love the album that much, I can't get enough of this song and the way that the adorable singer (Australian Elizabeth Morris) sings "I just wanna get close'n you" — for whatever that means, it sounds an awful lot about the awkward emergency that is young love.

122812_spotify-logo GET THE SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: Phoenix/WFNX.com's Top Tracks of 2012

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