Tracking 2012's Best Songs #21 - Pretty Much Amazing

Tracking 2012's Best Songs #21

This week on Tracking you can listen to additions from Kanye West, Rhye, Angel Haze, HAIM and Beck.
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This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Kanye West, Rhye, Angel Haze, HAIM and Beck.

(Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)


Kanye West - "White Dress" (1 of5)

Kanye West gets matrimonial on new cut “White Dress” – it’s the latest leak from RZA’s (who also nabs a coproduction credit) soundtrack to The Man with the Iron Fists, and we’re guessing it goes along with a pretty tender filmic moment. It’s no party-ready club-banging track, but that doesn’t mean ‘Ye takes it easy; over a slow-burning beat he rhymes “caught in the rain” with “Kurt Cobain” and “gold chain,” delivering some classically smart, snappy verses about being able to picture a current boo as his one-day wife. It’s not unfamiliar territory for West – he’s been on the unrequited-devotion tip before – but it’s the best track we’ve heard from him in a while. –– Genevieve Oliver



Rhye - "The Fall" (2 of5)

In February, enigmatic LA duo Rhye captured our hearts — and our bedrooms — with “Open,” a sensual, minimalist track that slid between confessional intimacy and orchestral balladry. Eight months later, we still don’t know much about the pair (or is it trio?) — but at least we’ve got a second single. Another dreamily intimate track, “The Fall” layers a rattling drum machine with tender piano and hypnotic vocals. “Make love to me one more time before you go away,” Rhye sings in the opening seconds, and the vocals are surprisingly arresting. “The Fall” sounds like what might happen if the xx ever renounced solemnity; it’s minimalist and sexy, yet robust in a way that sets Rhye apart from their gloomy British counterparts. So––at the risk of sounding cheesy––light some candles, pour a couple glasses of wine and let this smooth, seductive song float over you. –– Gina Cargas



Angel Haze - "Werkin' Girls" (3 of5)

The first time I heard an Angel Haze song, she was freestyling over the beat from Lil Wayne’s “Six Foot Seven Foot,” but on her newest single “Werkin’ Girls,” from her mixtape Reservation, she’s adamant that she owes absolutely nothing to no one. The song’s title is even a little erroneous: there are no werkin’ girls, Angel will have you believe, there’s only one, and “money and more money is the only shit I’m after.” She’s poised to get it: over what’s unquestionably the sickest beat of the year she goes harder than hard, impossibly speedy, impossibly filthy tongue-twisting verse after tongue-twisting verse, not a hashtag or an awkward slant in sight, and she doesn’t let up for three minutes. When she repeats “I run this shit, I run this shit,” you know she’s telling the truth. –– Genevieve Oliver



HAIM - "Don't Save Me" (4 of5)

Last Tuesday, Los Angeles trio of sisters HAIM took a break from nonstop touring to premiere “Don’t Save Me,” a weighty, triumphant jam that sounds like Kate Bush for the post-dubstep generation. With full vocals and irresistible percussion, this song’s composition is pure pop. But the buoyant synth and bubbly vocals are countered by a subterranean pulse of darkness, and the contradiction is wonderfully seductive. There’s a sense of concealed desperation in the composition, and lyrics like “all my life I wasn’t trying to get on the highway / I was wondering which way to go” sound both fraught and hopeful. Sexy and dreamy, “Don’t Save Me” is like some brilliant lovechild Prince and Twin Shadow. It’s also HAIM’s catchiest song to date — and we can only hope the rest of their upcoming album is so addicting. –– Gina Cargas



Philip Glass - "73 - 78 (Beck Remix)" (5 of5)

After several years of lackluster stagnation, Beck is back with his most exciting work in years: a 20-minute song that cuts together more than 20 Philip Glass tracks. They might be calling it a remix, but Beck’s interpretation of Glass is more of a reassembly. Dismantling and reimagining the original work, Beck weaves a rich fabric of his own ghostly vocals, original instrumentation, and fragments of Glass’ compositions. It retains a lot of Glass’ signature minimalism, but the layering and restructuring forms a fruitful and disarming dreamscape. Like an intense yet enjoyable hallucination, the 20 minutes fly by. “73-78” is a fascinating take on Glass’ work, and a staggering reminder of Beck’s inventive talent. –– Gina Cargas