I’ve listened to a few hundred albums this year. That means I’ve listened to thousands of songs which, in turn, means I’ve listened to too many lyrics to count. Therefore, a list of my favorite lines of 2012 can hardly be official. Still, these are just the lines from this year that have hit me the hardest, that I just couldn’t get out of my head, and that made me want to quote them on Facebook.
1. “Money trees is the perfect place for shade and that’s just how I feel,” from Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees.”
It didn’t take long for me to determine that this was my favorite line of the year (it happened the second or third time I heard the song). It’s both a perfectly written line, describing the comfort that money brings someone, and a perfectly performed hook. It definitely helped make the song one of my favorites of 2012.
2. “If they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell,” from Japandroids’ “The House That Heaven Built.”
3. “If I had a nickel for every dime you had, I’d have half of your money,” from Todd Snider’s “In Between Jobs.”
The best line on Snider’s very quotable album “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables.” This line seems like something Randy Newman could have written, an obvious statement, but very clever and very funny.
4. “There’s a 9.5 down the street, and to my right, a perfect 10 sitting in the driver’s seat,” from Jens Lekman’s “I Know What Love Isn’t.”
Lekman has been one of the best lyricists in the world since he first began releasing music. Even though it’s his second language, his understanding of the English language is better than many native speakers and, as this line shows, he’s capable of fitting more wit into one line than most songwriters can fit into an entire song.
5. “Look at me, I’m all the fishes in the sea,” from Fiona Apple’s “Daredevil.”
She isn’t, but if she believes it that’s all that matters.
6. “Taxi driver, be my shrink for the hour,” from Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion.”
While some people are thinking less and less fondly of “Channel Orange” as the months go by, I keep finding things I love about it. Last week, I may have chosen a line from “Thinkin Bout You” or “Lost” as my favorite from the album. This week, the beautiful opening line from “Bad Religion” is my pick.
7. “You took your time with the call, I took no time with the fall,” from Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”
Who says that pop hits can’t be poetic?
8. “Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned,” from P!nk’s “Try.”
P!nk’s “The Truth About Love” was surprisingly one of the best lyrical albums of the year. This line from the incredibly inspirational “Try” is particularly wonderful, at least to the extent that I could handle using it as the album’s representative. If I did a top fifty, though, there would probably be a couple more songs from the album.
9. “What a shame that you came here with someone,” from Ke$ha’s “Die Young.”
“Die Young” shows Ke$ha in a more vulnerable state, which is a smart direction for her to go in. Back when I was a pop-hater who refused to see “Tik Tok” as the classic it was, I considered Robyn the anti-Ke$ha, bringing loneliness and actual human emotion into her dance songs. It’s funny how far Ke$ha has come, since it’s almost possible to see Robyn singing this line.
10. “N.Y. rose me, most high chose me,” from Azealia Banks’ “1991.”
It may not be as brilliant as “212,” but the hook to “1991” still catches people’s ears the same way the awesome music video catches their eyes.