Monday, December 24, 2012

20/40 Of The Best Albums of 2012

I'd like to begin this post with a sincere apology of absence. Blah blah, I know apologies. But hopefully in the coming semester I will have more time to post consistently. Thank you all for staying with me.

2012 as a whole was an interesting year in music. And in some respects just a bit disappointing. There were some glorious highs but those highs were met with a multitude of disappointments and delays (looking at you Azealia with "Broke With Expensive Taste", La Roux, Ellie Goulding, etc...) However, I do not blog to hate, I blog to celebrate. So here are 20/40 of my favorite albums, eps, and mixtapes from 2012, in completely random order.

Jessie Ware- Devotion
Oi, the spontaneous arrival and explosion of Jessie Ware this year was a thing of magic. Whether you fell in love with the laid-back 110% (now titled 'If You're Never Gonna Move'), the soulful Wildest Moments, or the heavily R&B inspired personal favorite Sweet Talk. Jessie Ware's Devotion is wholly delectable, accesible, and totally perfect.

Van She- Idea of Happiness
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Australian electo-pop masters Van She finally returned this year. Idea of Happiness is their most mature release to date with incredibly crisp percussion and a completely awe-inspiring 80s/tropical/summer sound. Easily their best and surpasses their first album, V, in my opinion.

Garbage- Not Your Kind Of People
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So, to be quite honest, Garbage was the first band I ever got in to, ever. I mean, one of the first bands I was ever properly exposed to. I'm not going to laud Not Your Kind Of People as their best work but it marks a great return to one of the greatest bands in the past few decades and one of my original idols, Shirley Manson.

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Easily the best electro-pop mixtape to come out this year. Music made for the internet, inspired by the internet. Heartbreaks And Earthquakes is sinister, dark, suspiciously romantic and wholly addictive.

Santigold- Master of My Make-Believe
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I mean it is Santi, of course it is brilliant. Cross-genre, all style, perfectly composed, Master of My Make-Believe is pop gold. Though, hopefully we don't have to wait as long for a third album from queen Santigold.

Haim- Forever EP
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This three song ep made Haim blow up in the blogosphere. Oft compared to groups like Destiny's Child and TLC, Haim has easily proven their staying power and their debut album is set to drop in early 2013.

Scissor Sisters- Magic Hour
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Between the dance-floor friendly "Only The Horses", the ever popular "Let's Have A Kiki",  and the rap-inspired collab between the band and Azealia Banks, "Shady Love",  Magic Hour is one of the bands most glitzy/pop-friendly albums. Mhm.

Rye Rye- Go! Pop! Bang!
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I mean. Most club friendly album of the year, honestly. It seems like this album took a million years to produce and finally come out but old and new fans alike will love Go! Pop! Bang!'s infectious energy and dance-compelling Baltimore club music sound.

BoA- Only One
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K-Pop's Madonna released one of the most powerful, beautiful, and well refined pop records this year. The Janet Jackson-esque The Shadow is still one of my favorites.

MNDR- Feed Me Diamonds
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Weird-pop's unsung hero MNDR finally released her debut album this year. Feed Me Diamonds is one of the quietest releases of the year but it deserves so much more attention than what it is given.

Grimes- Visions
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If MNDR is weird-pop's unsung hero, Grimes is weird-pop's queen. Grimes really exploded this year achieving all kinds of new popularity that no one expected her to achieve. However, Visions absolutely facilitates and accentuates all of the rising stardom Grimes has earned and deserves.

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
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Because yes the whole title is necessary. I'll be honest, I was a sceptic about this album at first though I eventually decided to give it a listen. Once I did though, oh my god. Apple's newest record is one of the rawest of the year; incredibly emotional The Idler Wheel... is fabulously overwrought and incredibly real.

Crystal Castles- III
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Crystal Castles' third release was their most pop-like record to date. Easily the most accessible album they've created so far, III is a gothic rave, absolutely soft grunge, and altogether dancey.

Le1f- Dark York Mixtape
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Le1f is one of my favorite discoveries of 2012. With the tumblr friendly music video for "Wut", Le1f brought a lot of much needed attention to the Queer-hip-hop scene. Dark York is a perfectly curated mixtape.

The XX- Coexist
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Coexist was one of the most hyped albums of 2012, absolutely. However, for many, the album was polarizing. Many loved Coexist but equally many hated the album criticizing the structure of the album and its 'attempts' to 'recreate' the magic of the first album. However, I fall on the former. Coexist while different from their debut was an equally brilliant, beautiful album. Coexist is one of the albums I listened to the most this year and in my opinion it is absolutely perfect.

Icona Pop- Iconic EP
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Icona Pop's Iconic ep was 2012's answer to much needed Scandinavian rave-pop. Iconic is what it describes, iconic, addictive, and infectious.

Chairlift- Something
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Amonaemonesia, enough said.

Bloc Party- 4
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I'm not going to say this is Bloc Party's best release however, 4 is altogether a good album. Echoing trends from both their debut album and their more recent releases, 4 is a happy medium between electronic and indie-rock styles.

Lana Del Rey- Born To Die
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Okay. I won't lie, I wasn't a fan of Lana in the beginning. However, her sound grew on me. While sometimes melodramatic, her sound doesn't strike me as any more trying or overdramatic than Marina & The Diamonds or the like. While sometimes I can't take Lana's overkill emotions, Born To Die is horribly catchy and one of the most iconic pop releases this year.

Miss A- Touch EP
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While "I Don't Need A Man" is one of my favorite k-pop songs this year, the Touch EP is one of the most eclectic and unique k-pop albums this year. Touch is fabulously, emotional, dance-y, and all around everything you'd want from a k-pop group.

Up next: the remaining 20 of the 40 best albums of 2012, best remixes of 2012, and best songs of 2012. Stay tuned!

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