Top 10 Albums of 2012

As I mentioned before, I LOVE music.  From time to time I will make these short non-baseball posts on topics that are near and dear to me.  This post is for my annual “Top Ten”… I finally have a place to share it!!

So here it is, my top ten of ’12, starting with 10 and working up to the top spot.  I’ll also list my favorite and second favorite track from the album, that way you can try to get a glimpse into what sounds I truly like.

10.  Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – “Un Corazón de Nadie”

10 - ORL

Tony’s Review:

“Slow tempo, deep synth-bass, distorted vocals, and layered keys definitely sets the listener up for what is to come from Omar in 2012.  This is definitely a one-man show, but without the guitar-wankery that is attached to Omar’s name.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Querer

Second Favorite:  Adiós

9.  P.O.S. – “We Don’t Even Live Here”

9 - POS

Tony’s Review:

“When an “indie” artist cleans up their sound, usually they lose their charm, but not so with this POS release.  The sound is still similar, just a little more polished, a shorter track-list and lack of song-fragments make this cohesive AND raw.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Get Down

Second Favorite:  Bumper

8.  Regina Spektor – “What We Saw From the Cheap Seats”

8 - RS

Tony’s Review:

“Playful and harmless can sound more like a back-handed compliment for some musicians, but the sincerity and energy that Regina shows on this collection of songs could not be summed up in any other way.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Oh Marcello

Second Favorite:  All The Rowboats

7.  Lana Del Rey – “Born to Die”

7 - LdR

Tony’s Review:

“You know you want to dislike this album, but something about the low-tempo/dark pop songs just sticks with you.  Not your typical “pop album”, these songs just take up residence in your mind, probably signing a 30 year mortgage, too.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Off to the Races

Second Favorite:  National Anthem

6.  …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – “Lost Songs”

6 - ToD

Tony’s Review:

“Not quite the previous LP, but very concise and loud; basic ToD without just phoning it in.  They have found a great way to showcase albums AND songs by allowing you a choice, listen track by track (Disc 1) or in one flowing segued version (Disc 2).”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Open Doors

Second Favorite:  Up To Infinity

5.  Amanda Palmer – “Theatre Is Evil”

5 - AFP

Tony’s Review:

“Although she touted this album as pop and synth heavy, it’s not all pop; stretching from heavy rock sounds to sobbing piano-driven suites.  The Grand Theft Orchestra are top notch musicians and add depth to Ms. Palmer’s songs.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  The Killing Type (Video link is a bit NSFW. You’ve been warned)

Second Favorite:  Massachusetts Avenue

4.  Franz Nicolay – “Do The Struggle”

4 - Franz

Tony’s Review:

“Known by his multi-instrumental talent, Franz made due with a low budget and poured his soul into this album.  Each song blends a heavy dose of personal stories along with imagined scenarios, creating a beautiful and deep record that everyone should be able to identify with.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  The Hearts of Boston

Second Favorite:  Do The Struggle

3.  Death Grips – “The Money Store

3 - DGripz

Tony’s Review:

“Rough vocals along with assaulting beats (Zach Hill) make this album tiring to listen to, but in a GREAT way.  Not knowing how serious the lyrics are or how to interpret them, you are being driven, without input or control, by MC Ride.”

Grade:  B+

Favorite Track:  Hacker

Second Favorite:  Get Got

2.  Fiona Apple – “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do”

2 - FA

Tony’s Review:

“She’s back!  Wandering through many genres of piano based music while singing ultra-personal lyrics of feelings, Fiona drops a near perfect LP.  After one listen you will be wowed, after the second listen you can begin grasp the greatness of this record.”

Grade:  A-

Favorite Track:  Valentine

Second Favorite:  Every Single Night

1.  CRAIG FINN – “CLEAR HEART FULL EYES”

1 - CF

Tony’s Review:

“The country-ish twinge was not hard to trace back to THS’s 5th LP, but slow it down more and get deeply personal and you have this great first solo effort by Craig Finn.  Still character heavy, but more real-life in terms of struggles and everyday problems.”

Grade:  A

Favorite Track:  Jackson

Second Favorite:  Apollo Bay

(Writer’s confession:  The lyric from “Jackson”; ‘anxiety’s persistent, it’s an ambitious politician, it keeps knockin’ on your door, until you come and let it in’… those lyrics hit close to home and described my 2012 perfectly.  The lyrics instantly made this song my favorite on the album.  I would almost apologize for being “biased”, but as this grading is totally subjective, I have nothing to apologize for.)

Honorable Mention:

Death Grips – “No Love Deep Web” – Grade: B+

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – “Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar” – Grade: B+

Converge – “All We Love We Leave Behind” – Grade: B

The Few Moments – “The Few Moments” – Grade: B

The Mars Volta – “Noctourniquet” – Grade: B

Norah Jones – “…Little Broken Hearts” – Grade: B

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – “Octopus Kool-Aid” – Grade: B

Sleigh Bells – “Reign of Terror” – Grade: B

Titus Andronicus – “Local Business” – Grade: B

Coheed and Cambria – “The Afterman: Ascension” – Grade: B-

Damon Albarn – “Dr Dee” – Grade: B-

Deftones – “Koi No Yokan” – Grade: B-

Nada Surf – “The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy” – Grade: B-

The Polyphonic Spree – “HolidayDream: Sounds of the Holidays Vol. One” – Grade: B-

So there it is, my favorite of 2012!  I would like to thank these artists, some of which I have been able to see perform this year and give my thanks to personally.  All of the albums listed above are albums are albums which I believe to be above average and strike a chord with me.  I know that this is the time of year where everyone becomes a critic and tries to show off their “musical knowledge”, but it’s no more knowledge than it is their personal opinion (or in major publications’ cases, which artist sells best and can bring in more money).  I hope you enjoy this list and maybe, just maybe, I can turn you on to one of my favorite artists/albums/songs.

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3 thoughts on “Top 10 Albums of 2012

  1. Pingback: Meh-est LPs of 2013 – First Half Edition (January-June) « Plouffe's New Hairdo

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Albums of 2013 « Plouffe's New Hairdo

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Albums of 2014 « Plouffe's New Hairdo

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