It’s that time of year: the season when we look back at the last 12 months of everything, including music. Check out Douglas Wolk’s list of the top 10 songs of the year to get the full backstory on why each of these jams made the cut, and then click below to hear our ultimate playlist.
It’s an eclectic mix and one that captures what 2012 sounded like: in the past year, music fans had the privilege to stick it to the man with Pussy Riot, learn to horsey dance with PSY, hear one of the best Dylan covers in a long time—even rediscover a 1969 garage-rock suite. Now you can relive all those moments one after another—but don’t blame us if you walk away with a certain Usher song stuck in your head.
(Yes, there are only nine songs on that playlist. Pussy Riot’s “Putin Lights Up the Fires,” seen in the video above, isn’t on Spotify.)