Discussion: Our Favorite Music Of The Year (So Far) : All Songs Considered This week on All Songs Considered, Bob and Robin are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers to discuss their favorite surprises, artists, albums and songs from the first half of 2012.

Discussion: Our Favorite Music Of The Year (So Far)

Discussion: Our Favorite Music Of The Year (So Far)

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Clockwise from upper left: Kishi Bashi, Simone White, Bobby Womack, Aleksa Palladino of Exitmusic, Sinead O'Connor. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

This week on All Songs Considered, co-hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers to take a step back, catch their breaths and consider the past six months of music. They share their favorite new artists, biggest surprises and favorite albums and songs from the first half of 2012. The biggest surprise of the year? Bob is into a Swedish pop song with the line, "You're from the '70s / but I'm a '90s b----."

Second to Bob's unexpected pop pick: the heated discussion of Carly Rae Jepsen's sugary song of the summer, "Call Me Maybe." This week's show features a batch of poptimistic, feel-good songs, as well as a few tracks better heard alone in a dark, quiet room. These favorite songs of the year aren't necessarily delicately crafted; particularly awesome is Japandroids' rebellious "Fire's Highway," with a shout-to-the-heavens chorus and brash guitar and drums. Bob and Robin's favorite new artist of the year so far, Kishi Bashi, uses layers and loops to create a radiant, uplifting soundscape in "Bright Whites."

Another theme of the year seemed to be artists who've been around for a while, like Sinead O'Connor and Bobby Womack, as well as triumphant comeback albums like Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel...

You can hear the entire discussion above and check out full versions of each track discussed below.

Discussion: Our Favorite Music Of The Year (So Far)

  • Kishi Bashi

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    "Bright Whites"

    From '151A'

  • Now, Now

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    "Thread"

    From 'Threads'

  • Hurray For The Riff Raff

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    "Born to Win (Part One)"

    From 'Look Out Mama'

  • Japandroids

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    "Fire's Highway"

    From 'Celebration Rock'

  • Sinead O'Connor

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    "I Had A Baby"

    From 'How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?'

  • Fiona Apple

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    "Hot Knife"

    From 'The Idler Wheel...'

  • Icona Pop

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    "I Love It"

    From 'I Love It (Single)'

  • Spiritualized

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    "Hey Jane"

    From 'Sweet Heart Sweet Light'

  • Exitmusic

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    "City"

    From 'Passage'

  • Regina Spektor

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    "Small Town Moon"

    From 'What We Saw From The Cheap Seats'

    YouTube
  • Bobby Womack

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    "Please Forgive My Heart"

    From 'The Bravest Man In The Universe'

  • Carly Rae Jepsen

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    "Call Me Maybe"

    From 'Call Me Maybe [Single]'

    YouTube
  • Patrick Watson

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    "Adventures In Your Own Backyard"

    From 'Adventures In Your Own Backyard'

  • Simone White

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    "Big Dreams and the Headlines"

    From 'Silver Silver'

  • Best Coast

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    "The Only Place"

    From 'The Only Place'