Looking Back on 2012’s Biggest Hits (Part One)

Written by: Nikhil Ravilla, Staff Writer

As 2023 approaches, I can’t help thinking not just of the future, but also of the past. One of the most significant ways many remember the past is through the music of a particular time; as such, I decided to listen to some of 2012’s biggest hits* a decade later. (I’ve decided to split this into two parts for the sake of brevity because otherwise, this would be too long, so this will be the first article of two reviewing hits from 2012). 

Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye ft. Kimbra

How two practically unheard-of musicians managed to make the song that became 2012’s biggest hit—and then just disappeared—is beyond me. Nonetheless, this is a good song; although breakup songs are kind of overdone, and were VERY overdone during the early 2010s (this was the apex of Adele’s popularity, after all), this song provides a unique energy to this somewhat stale musical trope. The dichotomy between the near-shouting of Gotye and the softer rebuttal from Kimbra is dynamic, even by the standards of today.

Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

If you were like me as a six-year-old, you claimed to hate this song while secretly loving it (as you should have). THIS SONG IS PHENOMENAL. The fact that it wasn’t 2012’s biggest hit was honestly surprising to me because I guarantee that if you were to ask someone which song best epitomized that year, their answer would be this song. It was ubiquitous, it was a cultural reset, and IT WAS ICONIC. Just know that this song is one of the greatest things to exist.

We Are Young by fun. ft. Janelle Monae

The breakout hit of New York indie band fun., this nihilistic tune is…meh. It attempts to be an anthemic ballad in the most platitudinous way possible. Hearing this song be played to hell and back on the radio constantly as a child doesn’t help “We Are Young” either. Now, you might be like, “But what about ‘Call Me Maybe’? That song was overplayed too!” The answer would be that while “Call Me Maybe” might have been overplayed just as much as any other song on this list, the difference is that “Call Me Maybe” was actually good. 

Payphone by Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa

I honestly forgot this song existed, and after listening to it, I’m very underwhelmed. That’s all this song deserves.

Lights by Ellie Goulding

This song could never beat “Call Me Maybe,” but it’s still alright. An inoffensive electro-pop ballad, this song just sort of seems to be drowned out by the other intensely memorable songs that come out of this year. As I said before, I could listen to this song, but why would I when Carly Rae Jepsen is right there?!?


* These songs are all from the year-end Billboard Hot 100 from 2012; Part Two will cover songs ranked from 6-10 on the aforementioned chart.