Before we get going with the following playlist of 2012 big hits and might-have-beens, I'd like to make my apologies. First, dear reader, if you were intent on finding Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" or Psy's "Gangnam Style" here, I'm sorry. The latter is best appreciated on YouTube, and the former, come to think of it, is as well - I recommend the version with Jepsen, Jimmy Fallon, and the Roots playing toy instruments.

And I have my own regrets about the 23-song list that follows. If I really wanted to include all my favorites, I would have had to make room for Neneh Cherry's cover of Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream," which is eight minutes long, not to mention Neil Young's "Driftin' Back," at more than 27 minutes.

There's no room for such indulgences on this list, which has been held to 80 minutes, the length of those soon-to-be-obsolete CDs. Go to my "In the Mix" blog at for a Spotify version of this playlist.

1. "My Love Is Real," Divine Fits. Tightly coiled synth-funk from Divine Fits, the winning indie super-group of sorts, of Britt Daniel of Spoon and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs.

2. "Carried Away," Passion Pit. Bounciest and catchiest track on Gossamer, the breakthrough collection by the electro-pop band fronted by Michael Angelakos.

3. "Die Young," Ke$ha. Rapped and sung carpe diem single from the unapologetically crass singer, rapper, and self-proclaimed Warrior.

4. "Sixteen Saltines," Jack White. Terrifically shrieking examination of paranoia and jealousy from the former White Stripes front man from his first official solo outing, Blunderbuss.

5. "Gold on the Ceiling," The Black Keys. Second single from the blues-rock duo's El Camino, released in December 2011 but the dominant rock record of 2012.

6. "Revolution," Dr. John. Standout cut from the New Orleans funk physician's Locked Down, produced by the Keys' Dan Auerbach.

7. "Open Your Heart," the Men. A blast of careening pop-punk from Brooklyn foursome's Open Your Heart debut, redolent of the Undertones' "Teenage Kicks."

8. "Titus Andronicus vs. The Absurd Universe (3d Round KO)," Titus Andronicus. On Local Business, Titus A. leader Patrick Stickles learned to say more with less. Here, all he says is "I'm going insane," over and over.

9. "We Take Care of Our Own," Bruce Springsteen. An anthem of empathy from the Boss from Wrecking Ball, meant to underscore the idea that America as a society too often does not.

10. "The Only Place," Best Coast. Sun-kissed ode to her home state by California- and '60s pop-lover Bethany Cosentino.

11. "We Are Young," fun. featuring Janelle Monáe. The surprise choice as the sole representative in all four major Grammy categories - this year's Adele? - would like to live while they're young.

12. "Live While We're Young," One Direction. As would these five charming British boy-band lads, when they're not borrowing from the Clash, filming TV commercials with Drew Brees, or dating Taylor Swift.

13. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Taylor Swift. A kiss-off - to Jake Gyllenhaal, presumably - that's typical of Red, which leaves country music signifiers behind while preserving Swift's everygirl persona.

14. "I Love It," Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX. Swedish female electro-pop duo (previously sampled by Philadelphia's Chiddy Bang) bound about on a dance-pop trampoline, with rising English indie fave Charli XCX.

15. "Only You," Ellie Goulding. Echoey electro-savvy pop from Brit singer-songwriter and ex-girlfriend of Skrillex.

16. "Oblivion," Grimes. Well-titled, gliding, loop-happy pop from Canadian sonic experimenter Claire Boucher.

17. "The Boys," Nicki Minaj feat. Cassie. Cut-up, stutter-step, manic hip-pop from the cartoon rapper's otherwise disappointing Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, the Re-up.

18. "To The World," Kanye West, R. Kelly, Teyana Taylor. Kanye West flexes his muscles by recruiting R. Kelly for his Cruel Summer GOOD Music sampler, raps "Mitt Romney don't pay no taxes."

19. "Myth," Beach House. Dreamy, elegantly evocative track from swoony Baltimore duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, from their beautifully static Bloom.

20. "Sweet Life," Frank Ocean. "Why see the world, when you've got the beach?" The estimable Mr. Ocean chronicles the perils of being imprisoned by a life of luxury and ease.

21. "I'm Getting Ready," Michael Kiwanuka. Black British relaxed acoustic soul man evokes Terry Callier and Bill Withers comparison, gets ready for a bright future.

22. "Soon After Midnight," Bob Dylan. The restless Bard, ruminating in the wee hours, on the prettiest song on Tempest.

23. "Going Home," Leonard Cohen. Septuagenarian song-poet and self-described "lazy bastard living in a suit" quietly seeks out a better place, from the altogether impressive Old Ideas.