22. Mac DeMarco "Ode to Viceroy"
Producer: Mac DeMarco
Label: Captured Tracks
It starts like the soundtrack to a slow-mo chase scene from Twin Peaks; it finishes like something out of the Joe Satriani guitar god noodle rock catalog (except, you know, actually listenable). In between is a deliciously earnest paean to budget cigarettes. Ladies and gentleman, introducing the strangest, weirdest, most original rock song of 2012.
Like the eponymous cheap cigs themselves, it's hard to discern exactly where "Ode to Viceroy" gets you hooked: Is it the groovy, minimalist rhythm section, the aforementioned effects-processed, loopy lead guitar lines, or the slightly creepy, is-this-song-actually-a-metaphor-for-something-else-nope-it's-not ("I'll smoke you 'til I'm dying") vocals? Maybe the whacked out marketing campaign?
All of the above, no doubt (or perhaps there's some secret addictive and noxious additive—who cares). Fuck a surgeon general's warning, with songs this great, the anti-smoking camp doesn't stand a chance. -Jack Erwin