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10 Best Rock Songs of 2012

Marilyn Manson / Dead Sara / Stone Sour
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images / Chelsea Lauren, WireImage / Kevin Winter, Getty Images
There were some incredible rock songs unleashed in 2012 from a diverse group of artists. Bands like Three Days Grace, Stone Sour and Papa Roach maintained their excellence with standout tracks at rock radio. There was a welcome return this year from Marilyn Manson, and breakout tracks from female-led bands like Halestorm and Dead Sara. It was tough to narrow the picks down to 10, but after some heated debate and occasional fisticuffs among our staff members, Loudwire has made its choices for the year's best tunes. So check out our list of the 10 Best Rock Songs of 2012:

Three Days Grace Chalk Outline

'Chalk Outline'

From: 'Transit of Venus'

We kick off our 10 best songs of 2012 list with Three Days Grace's 'Chalk Outline,' a track that many people loved as evidenced by its 12-week reign atop the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and 10-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Active Rock Chart. The jarring opening notes definitely catch the listener right off the bat, while singer Adam Gontier belts out lines about being cursed by a love that's left him behind.

Papa Roach Still Swingin'

'Still Swingin''

From: 'The Connection'

Papa Roach have battled against the odds to establish themselves as one of rock's enduring bands, and 'Still Swingin'' provided the group with the perfect anthem to qualify their journey. It's got blistering guitars, hard-hitting drums and a rap-like delivery in the verses before Jacoby Shaddix shows his melodic side in the chorus. As long as they keep cranking out songs like 'Still Swingin',' Papa Roach will continue to stay on top of their game.

Serj Tankian Harakiri


From: 'Harakiri' (2012)

System of a Down singer Serj Tankian delivered one of the best rock albums of the year with his solo effort 'Harakiri,' and standing tall among the disc's songs is the title track. Featuring perhaps the most beautifully melodic chorus in a rock song in 2012, the tune 'Harakiri' questions if today's environmental factors may be playing a part in the freakish mass deaths of various animals over recent years. It's a thought-provoking tune that is both memorable in its lyrics and its music.

Shinedown Bully


From: 'Amaryllis'

Bullying has become an increasing problem in schools and the guys of Shinedown take on the issue with this blistering tune. The aggressive nature of 'Bully' fits perfectly with the band's condemnation of bullying and encouragement to those being bullies to stand up for oneself. Add in Brent Smith's infectious sing-along lyrics and you've got a track that's not only inspirational but also rocks.

Marilyn Manson No Reflection

'No Reflection'

From: 'Born Villain'

Marilyn Manson experienced a musical rebirth with his 2012 album 'Born Villain' and the first single, 'No Reflection,' made it clear that the singer had recaptured the old magic that led to his superstardom in the first place. The fuzzed out opening guitars, the catchy but dark lyrical content, and a chorus where the emotion in Manson's voice takes hold as he digs deep into his soul makes this one of 2012's best rock tracks.

Stone Sour Gone Sovereign Absolute Zero

'Gone Sovereign'

From: 'House of Gold & Bones, Pt. 1'

'Gone Sovereign' was half of a two-part single that Stone Sour released in late summer (the other half being 'Absolute Zero'), and the hard-hitting nature of the song immediately connected with fans. The frenetic power and fury of the guitar play between Jim Root and Josh Rand stands out, while Roy Mayorga's thunderous drumming drives the song. Corey Taylor starts the song by singing, 'No one's laughing now,' but the vocalist probably has a smile knowing that 'Gone Sovereign' has turned into one of 2012's standout songs.

Baroness March to the Sea

'March to the Sea'

From: 'Yellow & Green'

Baroness had one of the year's better, yet often overlooked, albums and one of the tracks that makes it such a standout disc is 'March to the Sea.' The song starts innocently enough, with some nifty psychedelic picking before the power of the drums kicks in. The track provides a hypnotic feel throughout, as the band tell the tale of a friend lost to drugs, comparing it to someone who tied themselves up and jumped in the sea never to come home again.

Halestorm Love Bites So Do I

'Love Bites (So Do I)'

From: 'The Strange Case Of...'

Halestorm got 2012 off to a rocking good start with the single 'Love Bites (So Do I),' a song that was an infectious concoction of punk, thrash and rock all in one foot-tapping, fist-pumping package. Drummer Arejay Hale absolutely kills the drumkit, while Lzzy Hale tells the tale of a girl honing in on a guy with a girlfriend and explaining why she should be his. 'Love Bites' became the first song ever from a female-fronted act to be No. 1 on the Active Rock charts. Well done, Halestorm!

Deftones Leathers


From: 'Koi No Yokan'

Fans certainly were excited when Deftones announced the impending release of their album 'Koi No Yokan,' but it was the first song unleashed from the disc that truly sent the band's devotees into a frenzy. While not the official first single, 'Leathers' is the most dynamic song on a disc that took the top spot on our 10 Best Rock Albums of 2012 list. Chino Moreno's voice soars to new heights when he sings the line 'Shedding your skin / Showing your texture." All told, 'Leathers' just might be the most powerful rock song of 2012.

Dead Sara Weatherman


From: 'Dead Sara'

Every once in a while, the rock world needs a swift kick in the butt from a new band. And in 2012, it was Los Angeles rock act Dead Sara who delivered the most dynamic song of the year. 'Weatherman' is a raw, uninhibited tune that perfectly melds frontwoman Emily Armstrong's incredible voice with a no-holds-barred musical attack led by guitarist Souixsie Medley. The track features the memorable line 'Go for the kill,' and that's exactly what Dead Sara did with 'Weatherman,' making it the No. 1 tune on our list of the best rock songs of 2012.


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