Now that any New Year's hangover has subsided, the brutal winter chill has arrived and the search for the first breakout song of 2012 has begun. Jay-Z made a strong pull at our sentimental heartstrings—however small they may be—with his ode to Baby Blue, but he fatherly gift mostly got us thinking of parent-child songs of past and present. Continuous Blue Ivy coverage, plus a billion and one mentions of Tim Tebow anywhere but the sports arena, made us realize that even if he can't defeat Tom Brady, there might a future in licensing his name to various parody singers hoping for a Weird Al career. Cheer up! It's a three-day weekend, so use these ten songs to keep you going until Tuesday.
1. "GLORY" -- JAY-Z FEAT. B.I.C
You've heard all the facts: Jay recorded part of the track in Beyoncé's Lenox Hill Hospital room, Blue Ivy Carter is the youngest person to grace a Billboard chart and candid lyrics hint at past miscarriages. Father-child songs are precarious with heavy risk of sounding cliché, but we'll take Jay's candor and raw emotion spread over a Pharrell beat any day.
2. "NOT ALONE" -- DARREN CRISS
We could include some showtunes in honor of the Glee star's current stint in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying—don't tempt us—but instead we'll direct you to his solo music, off the 2010 EP Human. A piano-heavy ballad, the supportive and sweet vote of confidence moves to a cascade of bursting chords and key changes, stretching his voice from just the guy who sings a superior version of "Teenage Dream," and showing us what Blaine Warbler might sound like on his days off.
3. "DANCE YRSELF CLEAN" -- LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
It's perfectly acceptable to continue to mourn the New York band, following the decision to call it quits last April. In honor of the upcoming release of their documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits, which chronicles their last show at Madison Square Garden, we suggest the This Is Happening's long-gestating track that twists and turns with its hypnotic rhythms and James Murphy's soothing "aah-aahs," only to grab you in the face with one of the boldest electronic breaks. Definitely worth just a bit of your time.
4. "OF THE SOUL" -- MAC MILLER
Pittsburgh's native son has done his homework, rattling off references to De La Soul over cool synths in this smoother, subtle departure from his previous crowd-gathering anthem. Pop culture hashtags abound, but it's the twinkling piano, an homage to his predecessors, that has us keeping this one on rotation late into the night.
5. "TEBOWIE" -- JIMMY FALLON
After last night, Tim Tebow may not have any miracles left in him this year, but in case you need a good opposing viewpoint to the story that captured much of the nation in recent weeks, the late-night hosts provides a humorous take on God's relationship with football players via the music of David Bowie.
For marching with Lauryn Hill and cheering on The Pack with Lil Wayne, click NEXT.
6. "TO ZION" -- LAURYN HILL
Before Jay was musing on "false alarms and false starts," the ex-Fugee was dealing with the "threat" pregnancy posed on her burgeoning solo career. With emotional richness and more than just vocal aptitude, it's hard not to resist marching by the end, celebrating the joy that Zion gave her and us, as a result.
7. "ALWAYS ON TIME" -- JA RULE FEAT. ASHANTI
Before Rick Ross was grunting all over his records and everyone else's, Ja Rule's Queens-branded gruff was the accessory du jour for pop singers who wanted to prove they haven't escaped their roots, or young ingenues looking to for a break. Of his many female-assisted jams from the early aughts, we love Ashanti's assurance on her punctuality, and Rule's lackadasical dribbling in the streets.
8. "ONE THING" -- ONE DIRECTION
The latest edition of cute British dreamboats make a play for Transatlantic dominance with a clap-along track about ridding something from one's head, which is exactly what we think each time we hear this song. And yet...
9. "GREEN AND YELLOW" -- LIL WAYNE
NOLA born and raised, Lil Wayne is surprisingly a Cheese Head, which any casual glance at his Twitter feed from August to February will tell you. His take on Wiz Khalifa's breakout hit "Black and Yellow" gave the Pittsburgh Steelers some strong competition for best hip-hop anthem last year, and continues to have relevancy in 2012, as the 15-1 Pack go into today's game against the New York Giants. He just loves his team, and we just love cheese, so this is obviously the right call.
10. "TEARS IN HEAVEN" -- ERIC CLAPTON
A three-day weekend is not complete without a good cry.
What are you listening to this weekend? Let us know in the comments.