Although I enjoyed all of the below from front to back without hitting skip, not all of them are great albums. So in order of most spins to fewest spins, most impressive to least impressive, and overall great to good, the top 10 albums of 2012 are as follows:
- Some Nights ($8), Fun. “We are young” was undoubtedly the song of the year. And the album from which it came is equally fresh. With exception to the first track, which I straight up deleted from iTunes, tracks 2-11 are brilliant. In addition to the singles, “Cary On,” “All Alright,” and “Stars” are standouts.
- Mondo ($9), Electric Guest. This was a close second to the above for me and may in fact be a more congruent album. But it lacks the individual song power of several Some Nights tracks. Nevertheless, “Trouble Man” was one of my favorite songs of the year.
- Battle Born ($4), The Killers. Not as good as Sam’s Town. It’s singles aren’t as strong as Day & Age. But it plays well all the way through, and has some really great rock ballads and powerful lyrics.
- Boys & Girls ($8), Alabama Shakes. This one has more five-star songs than Mondo, but it just doesn’t flow as well. For that, it made third on my least. But like the above two bands, Alabama Shakes was another breakthrough artist and one to watch moving forward.
- The Lateness of the Hour ($4), Alex Clare. The last great album on my list. New. Fresh. Trendy. Talented. “Treading Water,” “Relax my beloved,” “Closer,” and “I Love you” all standout tracks. Clare is another artist I plan to follow.
- Strangeland ($4), Keane. Although filled with four-star quality songs, only a couple are five-star tracks: “Starting Line,” and maybe “Neon River.” Good album, though.
- Beacon ($6), Two Door Cinema Club. In terms of front to back listen-ability, Beacon was one of my favorites of the year. It’s just that there really aren’t any stand out, touch you kind of tracks. “Sleep Alone” is the most memorable. And it’s surrounding by tracks your sure to enjoy in the moment, but you’ll forget about afterwards.
- Big Bach Set ($9), Bach. Admittedly not new for 2012, but the compilation is. What’s more, it’s 100 songs for $9 bucks. You may have liked Bach before, but you’ll gain an even greater appreciation for him after hearing this. For added laughs, start calling him “Botch.” Good times.
- Self titled ($6), St. Lucia. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I like these guys because they remind me of Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, and The Presets all in one. Their ’80s sensibility helps, too.
- Fastfall ($6), Lifeformed. The geek in me really enjoyed this. It’s basically an original soundtrack of video game chiptunes. The album fades a little near the end, but it’s good listening more often than not. And an excellent choice for long drives.
Honorable mention: Blunderbuss ($11), Jack White
Readers: What were your favorite albums of the year?