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Ask Billboard: What Are Your Favorites Of 2012?

The Associated Press, Sunday, December 16, 2012, 10:30pm (PST)

Billboard -- As always, submit your questions and music musings to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20 WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES OF 2012? Hi Gary, I don't know if you watch YouTube videos dedicated to charts, but I just found this medley of every song that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2012:

There are so many stats and numbers included. It's an awesome piece that must have taken a lot of hard work. Happy holidays! Rob Hunt Hi Rob, What a great find - yes, 35 minutes-plus of bits of all 494 Hot 100 hits in the 2012 year, roughly arranged from lowest peak position to highest. It makes a nice companion piece to the official year-end Hot 100 ranking, posted Friday on Billboard.com. The online wrap-up features more than 100 lists, with many more available to subscribers at Billboard.biz and in the year-end print magazine, which always makes for a great collector's item (hint, hint, for the music lover for whom you still need to get a present). Which bring us to ... Chart Beat readers' year-end lists! Please e-mail your top 10 (or more, if there were just too many) songs, albums, concerts, new artists, comebacks or any other pertinent musical memories of 2012 and we'll run submissions in the next "Ask Billboard." Just send in yours to askbb@billboard.com by this Thursday, Dec. 20, to be included. In the meantime, read on for the first offering, already sent in. NEXT As always, submit your questions and music musings to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20 A 'SPECTRUM' OF 2012'S BEST Hi Gary, Here are my best of 2012, in no particular order (blasphemy to Billboard, I know): Albums: "Babel," Mumford & Sons "Impressions," Chris Botti "Live 2012," Coldplay "Living For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran," Jamey Johnson "Radio Music Society," Esperanza Spalding Songs: "Spectrum (Say My Name)" (Calvin Harris Remix)," Florence + The Machine "Gangnam Style," PSY "93 Million Miles," Jason Mraz

"Charlie Brown" (Live), Coldplay "I Will Wait," Mumford & Sons Best, Sam Yunono (@SamYunono) NEXT As always, submit your questions and music musings to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20 ALBUM TRACK ORDER Per the Dec. 4 Billboard story "The Importance of Album Track Order in the Digital Age": Historically, singles generally tended to be placed at the start of each side of a vinyl LP, for reasons that Daniel Glass mentions. But there was also a valid engineering reason, as well: The outer edges of a vinyl LP have wider grooves than the inner grooves closer to the label. Wider grooves hold more information, permitting a wider dynamic range and extended frequency response. In short, it can sound better closer to the edges. Danwriter1 (Billboard.biz commenter) Thanks Danwriter1, An insightful angle I hadn't considered. If you haven't read the story, please feel free to follow the link above. I'd always been interested in how acts, and/or labels, decide how to sequence an album. Once Mumford & Sons sent so many tracks from "Babel" onto the On-Demand Songs chart (Oct. 13) almost in order of first-to-last, in terms of rank, it seemed like the right time to see what record and streaming executives had to say. (Thanks to NPR's Kai Ryssdal for interviewing me on "Marketplace" about the topic on Dec. 10. If, for some reason, you need to hear me yammer on, you can listen to the interview here.)

I also asked Billboard publisher Tommy Page about the thought process that goes into album track ordering, considering his chart pedigree, as he topped the Hot 100 in 1990 with "I'll Be Your Everything." "For my first album in 1988, I buried the hit [ 'A Shoulder to Cry On,' which reached No. 29 on the Hot 100] second-to-last. I was cocky - I wanted to make people to listen to the rest of the set, which was mostly uptempo dance, before getting to the song they knew," he said with a laugh. Page says he, too, learned what most artists and labels adhere to: that the earlier a song is on an album, the more likely listeners are to hear it, considering, among other factors considered in the story, the time commitment it takes to consume an album in full. "When I released my second album [1990's 'Paintings in My Mind'], guess where I put the first single?" he asked. "First." NEXT As always, submit your questions and music musings to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20 BRAXTON FAMILY HITS Hi Gary, I'm thrilled to see Toni Braxton 's sister Tamar Braxton have a hit of her own with "Love and War," the Hot 100's top debut this past week at No. 57.

The song is amazing and, in my opinion, the best R&B song to come out in years, especially since pure R&B songs of that nature are rarer these days. It brings back memories of what R&B songs used to sound like in the '90s and early 2000s, and not just because her voice sounds similar to Toni's. I really hope that "Love and War" can continue to be a hit long into the year 2013. Jesper Tan Subang Jaya, Malaysia Hi Jesper, Tamar Braxton is back after 13 years, as her R&B chart history dates to 1999, when she (then billed as just Tamar) sent "Get None," featuring Jermaine Dupri and Amil, onto R&B/Hip-Hop Songs; it reached a No. 59 peak. That timespan and two reality television shows later - WEtv's "Braxton Family Values" and "Tamar & Vince" - she enters the Hot 100, as well as R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (No. 12) and Heatseekers Songs (No. 1). "War" starts at No. 3 on R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs with 84,000 downloads sold in its first week of availability, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Key to the song's strong start? Lady Gaga helped via a Twitter endorsement to her more than 32 million little monster followers. "K I NEVER PROMOTE ARTISTS but if u want your mind blown check @tamarbraxtonher "Love & War" She's Toni Braxton sister + her voice is BEYOND," she beamed. "Love and War" serves as the title cut to the follow-up to Braxton's 2000 self-titled debut, "Tamar." The new set arrives on Feb. 13.

Seems like a good time to remember just how much chart success Toni Braxton has achieved, too (as she battles Lupus-related health issues ). Of her 13 Hot 100 hits, six reached the top 10, including two No. 1s in 1996: "You're Makin' Me High"/"Let It Flow" (one week) and "Unbreak My Heart" (11 weeks). Hits like "Another Sad Love Song" (No. 7, 1993), "Breathe Again" (No. 3, 1994) and "You Mean the World to Me" (No. 7, 1994) have also enjoyed long AC afterlives. The three songs appear on her self-titled debut album, which spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 1994 amid a 96-week chart run. That set has sold 5.2 million copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan, contributing to her career sales of 15.1 million.

Related article on Billboard.com:

Ask Billboard: More Soundtrack Stopgap Hits

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Find more online: Billboard.com

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