That one “top ten” thing.

January arrives in 21 days… which means everyone and their nephew will soon begin posting “top ten” lists. You know those lists. Examples include: “top ten new Indie-pop-reggae-metal-fusion bands of 2012,” or “top 10 restaurants of 2012 serving bacon maple fruit loop ice cream,” or “top 10 five-foot-six, boy singers of 2012 not named Justin Beiber” … etc.

The point is: top ten lists are popular. And I can see why. They are concise, loaded, intriguing, and they evoke strong reactions of agreement/disagreement from us. So I’m hopping onto the bandwagon. I’m listing my tens this year, for God and glory (or… perhaps just for intrigue and pleasure).

Shall we begin with music? Yes, let’s.

Compiled here – and unveiled for the first time everrrrr – is my super personal (does that make you more eager to read it?) list of

TOP 10 SONGS THAT DEFINED MY EXPERIENCE OF 2012

(the following songs – whether they are excellent or mediocre – cause the strongest evocations of this past year’s memories for me)…

10.  “King and Lionheart” by Of Monsters and Men
This song makes me think of sweaty, satisfying midday runs into the hillsides of Kona – upward slopes to my left and green coast dipping down into endless turqoise sea to my right.

9.  “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Listen to it. Tell me if it doesn’t raise your pulse and your courage level just a little. Maybe it won’t. But for me? It evokes all the risk and adventure of my 2012.

8.  “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon
I can’t really explain the effect that this song has on me. At 25 seconds, when the drums come in, I feel the pulse of my 2012… the pulse of the unknown.

7.  “Just a Dream” by Nelly
…. Don’t ask. 😉 It’s not all that explainable.

6.  “Tightrope” by Walk the Moon
South Africa overtakes my thoughts every time the driving rhythm of this little number gets rolling. I think of road-trips, game reserves, the Wild Coast, Cadbury cashew and coconut chocolate bars, sunsets in the Karoo, and Horlicks shakes at Wimpy (the South African equivalent of Denny’s).

5. “Hold Me Together” by Loud Harp
Press play, and I’m instantly back inside my tent (alone) on a dark and soggy English field with rain pouring over the canvas above me and spiders spinning webs in its corners, while 3 dozen existential questions swirl in my mind.

4. “Storm All Around You”  by IHOP KC Worship & Jon Thurlow
This song represents my 2 month obsession with climbing Welsh mountains. I left it on repeat – hike after hike – as I stood on some bluff of Holyhead Mountain (in North Wales) this past summer, staring into the blue mist of the West and lifting my arms to feel the fierce summer winds blow through me.

3. “Fill Me Up” – Jesus Culture Awakening: Live from Chicago
Every year needs its worship anthem. This was mine in 2012. Pumps me every time.

2. “Coming Home” by Diddy
This makes me chuckle. What doesn’t fit on this list (other than Nelly)? Oh duh – the song by Sean Combs (“P Diddy” or “Puff Daddy” … whatever). But, curious as it may seem, this song rides in all the way at #2. Yessir. I can’t necessarily choose which songs carry the most memories for me. It just … happens. And this one is LOADED with memories. I’ll leave it at that. Trust me… and congratulations, Puff P Diddy Daddy Papa… whatever.

1.  “Hide Me Away” by Loud Harp
200 memories storm to mind in the melodies here. But I’ll suffice it to say this song was my fortress of 2012… I returned to it often in darker, sadder moments… finding in it the comfort of the Father. I’ll be honest and tell you that some (or many) tears were shed in the company of this song.

p.s. Because I really stink at limiting myself to 10 songs, here are my 3 “Honorable Mentions” that barely missed the cut:

  • “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. (Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack)
  • “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys
  • “Paradise” by Coldplay

Thank you, and goodnight.

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