Friday, January 18, 2013

Best Albums Of 2012: #20 - 11

The Soundtrack Of My Life's "Best Of 2012" list is finally here!  2012 was full of so many amazing albums, so this list was a challenging task.  I know I say that every year, but I really mean it this time.  I've decided to cut the list to twenty albums instead of my usual overflow.  Due to that limiting factor, quite a few albums that I adored will not be featured here.  Survival of the fittest!  Another new element is that instead of a top five, I've actually ranked each individual album on the list.  With all of this said, let's get started!  Here's the first part of the "Best Albums Of 2012" list...

20. Marina And The Diamonds - Electra Heart

Marina And The Diamonds suffers from the same symptoms as Robyn in the United States.  They're both amazing pop artists, (Let's be honest, though. Robyn is to Beyoncé as Marina is to Kelly Rowland.)  but they can't seem to achieve a superstar level of success in the mainstream market.  As far as alter egos and musical characters go, Marina is dedicated to Electra Heart.  With tracks such as "Teen Idle", "Radioactive", and "The State Of Dreaming", Electra Heart is solid pop polished to its finest form.

19. Paloma Faith - Fall To Grace

Paloma Faith could and should be the next Adele sensation of America.  She has the voice and the style, and as an added bonus, "Picking Up The Pieces" is a "Rolling In The Deep" sized anthem.  Fall To Grace is powered by Paloma's powerhouse vocals and some wise production choices.  "Let Me Down Easy" might be under three minutes, but with its thundering bass and smokey vocals, it stands out as a shining highlight.

18. Trust - TRST

Right around the mark of 1:07 during "Shoom", the first track on TRST, there's a moment that hits me so hard every single time I hear it.  It's ridiculously haunting, and at that very instant Robert Alfons, the man behind Trust, has claimed you to himself for the entirety of the record.  TRST is a dark electro album that sounds like something from the more mysterious side of 80's new wave music.  Just look at that album cover and tell me you're not already hooked.  This album is such a magnificent debut for Trust.

17. Scissor Sisters - Magic Hour

Let's have a kiki!  Scissor Sisters fourth album, Magic Hour, is the follow up to 2010's Night Work, aka "that album with the guy's butt on the cover".  Honestly, I wore out Magic Hour towards the first half of 2012.  It was on repeat so often that I had to take a break from it.  It was just recently while creating this list that I started playing it again.  From the classic Scissor Sisters vibes of "Baby Come Home" to the electro-rap sounds of "Fuck Yeah", I really do love Magic Hour.  But the real star of the show is "Let's Have A Kiki".  I can't even begin to tell you how many people in my Twitter stream were ranting about having a kiki.  It was the summer hit that never managed to break into the US charts, aside from the Hot Dance Club chart where it went number one.

16. Crystal Castles - (III)

(III) is actually the first Crystal Castles album that I've listened to.  I know, call me a bad blogger/hipster/listener of music.  I've traveled back since then and listened to their previous releases, so you can't say I don't try.  With that said, I absolutely fell in love with this album.  I so desperately want to experience this album in a live setting.  Everything is chaos and I never want it to stop.

15. The xx - Coexist

This album received some mixed feedback and critics claimed that it was too similar to their debut album, but I feel like Coexist is an ideal sophomore record for The xx.  The xx manage to execute minimalism brilliantly.  It's more of an atmospheric record rather than one you may pop on as a crowd pleaser.  Be advised that I don't know what kind of crowds you hang out with.  With some of the year's most sensual vocal work, Coexist is beautiful.

14. Zedd - Clarity

I'm calling it now, Zedd is the electronic producer to watch out for in 2013.  He's already worked on a song with Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj, which may not be such a great thing, and he's currently producing Lady Gaga's upcoming ARTPOP album.  His debut solo record may feature standout vocalists such as Ellie Goulding and Matthew Koma, but it's Zedd's solo tracks that glue the record together.  Clarity adds more to the genre than the other players in Zedd's realm of electronic production.  SHAVE IT UP!

13. fun. - Some Nights

The radio can really kill a song.  "We Are Young" and "Some Nights" have to be two of the most overplayed singles in every media format that existed during 2012.  With that unfortunate fact, fun.'s second album was a monumental step for the band.  They went from a group that found their home in the Fueled By Ramen crowd to one of the biggest pop acts in the country.  The album shows it, too.  Every track could be a hit and they made a few risky moves with songs like "One Foot" and "Stars".  Lucky for them, it paid off.

12. Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man

While I'm not making a "best singles" list, "Laura" was definitely one of my favorite songs from 2012.  Natasha Khan's piano ballad is so beautiful that is almost overshadows the rest of the album, which is perfectly outstanding as well.  I could easily write paragraphs about that one song, but this is about The Haunted Man, an album that even further solidifies Bat For Lashes' discography.

11. The Killers - Battle Born

Ever since the release of Hot Fuss, The Killers have earned a spot as of one of my all time favorite bands.  That's not to say that they haven't had their ups and downs through the years.  I had a slip in faith when Day & Age came out.  But if it's one thing that I've learned, it's that every Killers album is a grower.  At the beginning of the year, I had projected that Battle Born would top this list.  While it instead sits at number eleven, Battle Born contains some soon to be Killers classics.  Just as I now love Day & Age, I'll probably love Battle Born even more a few years down the road.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I haven't actually had the opportunity to listen to half of these.

    I always find it tough to compare recent albums to those released at the start of the year. I forgot TRST was 2012; evidently we've had a lot of good stuff since.

    All the same, those early birds tend to receive more industry accolades then the November/December albums (for me, it's a toss-up between Crystal Castles (III) and Koi No Yokan in that category).

    Looking forward to the second half.