Our other bloggers have weighed in their selections for song of the year, and I find myself rather unfashionably late in crafting my own list. However, the task itself proves quite harder than seems on the surface. Of course the task of picking a top one itself is difficult, even harder was narrowing down the rest to a mere 20. In the end, these 20 plus 4 further honorable mentions represent the songs that merited the most repeated listens or found themselves delightfully–and not annoyingly–stuck in my head at least some point in this year.

With all that disclaimer aside, I must admit that this number one choice is made simply because it’s catchy as hell. ScHoolboy Q emerged this year as part of an exciting young and new hip-hop scene alongside associated acts like Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky (who appears alongside him on this track), and Ab-Soul. And while ScHoolboy Q might at times get less attention than others, specifically the first two, he knows how to craft a catchy, hook-laden rap track. “Hands on the Wheel” is not the most innovative or original song of the year, in fact its drug-fueled lyricism and boasting refrains resemble tried and true hip-hop bravado. Yet, at the sake of sounding redundant, it’s just so damn catchy. The first “hook” if you one could rightfully call it that is taken from an interesting source, a cover of Kid Cudi track “Pursuit of Happiness” performed by country/folk singer Lissie. It may sound like a peculiar choice, but it works surprisingly well. In this sample she croons, “My hands on the wheel, uhh f*** that.”

ScHoolboy Q follows it up with a hook of his own in which he boasts, “Life for me is just weed and brews.” On paper, these elements might not sound all that extraordinary but put together with an pulsating addictive beat, and you have one great song. Just give it a listen. And now for the other 19 best tracks of 2012, but first with those honorable mentions that just missed out on the top 20.

Honorable Mentions

“The Killing Joke”- Captain Murphy

“Jet Black Girls” – Off!

“Birthday Song” – 2 Chainz ft. Kanye West

“Illuminate” – Ab-Soul ft. Kendrick Lamar

Ryan’s Top 20 Tracks of 2012

20. “Fields” – XXYYXX

19. “True Thrush” – Dan Deacon

18. “Break Til Broken” – Thavius Beck

17. “You Know You Like It” – AlunaGeorge

16. “Oldie” – Odd Future

15. “Angels” – The xx

14. “Here We Go” – Christopher Owens

13. “Lunacy” – Swans

12. “Chum” – Earl Sweatshirt

11. “Daughters” – Nas

10. “Adorn” – Miguel

9.  “Reagan” – Killer Mike

8. “Kindred” – Burial

7. “Get Got” – Death Grips

6. “Only in My Dreams” – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

5. “Backseat Freestyle” – Kendrick Lamar

4. “Brains” – Lower Dens

3. “Stay Useless” – Cloud Nothings

2. “Thinkin Bout You” – Frank Ocean

1.  “Hands on the Wheel”- ScHoolboy Q ft. A$AP Rocky

-Ryan Rudder