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The 22 Most Essential BuzzFeed Music Posts Of 2012

Our best lists, essays, mashups, and playlists of the year. Plus, a tribute to the incredibly sexy lyrics of Nickelback.

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4. 1994 Was the Awesomest Year for Music

While it's true that every year is good for music, 1994 stands out as one of the all-time greatest years in the history of popular music, up there with 1967, 1971, 1987, and 2003. This playlist is the proof.

7. Bat For Lashes' Emotionally Devastating "The Haunted Man"

Matthew Perpetua reviews Bat For Lashes' The Haunted Man, which explores the tension and complexity in a relationship betwewen a distant, sullen, traumatized man and a nurturing, frustrated woman.

9. On Bruce Springsteen and Disappointing Fathers

Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archive / Getty Images

Sady Doyle reflects on Bruce Springteen's classic Darkness on the Edge of Town, an album that taught her how to understand her estranged father long after they stopped speaking to one another.

11. Why I Hate List-Making

Rachael Maddux is a music writer but gets no joy from the constant list-making that's become a cornerstone of the profession, and music fandom in general. "List-making does such violence to the actual experience of living and listening that I can barely stomach it," she writes. "I don’t relish a single step of the process — not the parsing, not the ranking, not the final forcing of a list out into the world and not the subsequent defending of all the arbitrarily made decisions that I feel inexplicably defensive about as soon as they’re inevitably questioned."

15. Electronic Musicians Shouldn't Feel Bad About "Hitting Play"

Steve Marcus / Reuters

Electronic musicians have been playing by the rules of rock music for quite some time, to the point of many acts going out of their way to seem as though they're a live band when they're mostly using pre-recorded tracks on stage. Matthew Perpetua says that it's time for artists to start being more transparent about what they're doing and for audiences to embrace live music outside of the usual "band" setup.

16. How Passion Pit Turned from a Band into a Support Group

Karl Walter / Getty Images

Passion Pit front man Michael Angelakos' music may be defined by his mental health issues, but he's making the best of it by helping out troubled fans on Twitter.

17. Ke$ha Is the Best Rock Star of 2012

Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

Rock purists will balk at the notion of a pop singer like Ke$ha being taken seriously as any sort of rock star, but if she's not a rock star, who in contemporary mainstream culture is?

18. How Nicki Minaj Brought Rage Back to Pop

Caroline McCredie / Getty Images

Mike Barthel examines how Nicki Minaj has helped to bring raw aggression back to radio pop after the long reign of Glee at the top of the charts and explains why this makes her an important and inspirational figure.

19. Ben Folds Five Reunited and I Broke Up with Them

Autumn de Wilde / AP

Ben Folds Five was Rachael Maddux's favorite band when she was a teenager, but when she reassessed their songs as an adult, she didn't love what she heard.

20. Why Rihanna Going Seapunk Is Totally OK

John Gara

Artists were upset when Rihanna appropriated visuals from web art on Saturday Night Live, but Matthew Perpetua says she's just the latest in a long line of artists who have brought an underground sensibility to a mainstream audience.