Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Best Albums of 2012

Looking back at the previous year in music is one of my absolute favorite things to do every year dating back to even before I worked at Record Time. With 2012 being the best year for music in a long long while (since at least 2005 that I can remember) it has been super fun and also extremely difficult to come up with an actual ranked list. My top album of the year is a reissue so I felt guilty having it top my list, BUT when you look at my chart of the previous 12 months you will see why I felt so compelled to choose it for #1.

Either way here is my yearly list and I would encourage you to check them out!

1.   The Weeknd - Trilogy

Calling this my favorite album of 2012 is a bit of a cheat because it’s really just a reissue of the three The Weeknd mixtapes (House Of Balloons, Thursday & Echoes of Silence) that came out throughout 2011. Either way though, this set contains some of my favorite music I have ever heard in my life and I can’t imagine not putting this at #1 considering how much I listen to it and how much I love it. The Weeknd became one of my favorite artists ever and is now in that rare air of NIN, Deftones and The Beatles as far as my all time favorites.

When I say this is the best music ever made, I’m not kidding.

2.   Deftones - Koi No Yokan

This album just came out a few weeks ago so I was unsure if it would end up making this list, needless to say it's so good that it not only made the list but caused me to go insane trying to decide my #1 album this year. As of November 30th, 2012, Koi No Yokan is the second or third best Deftones album ever made, only behind White Pony and Saturday Night Wrist. 

The song Entombed might actually be the best Deftones song ever written, which says a lot considering how highly I view them as a band. Not that it means much, but this album received ridiculously positive reviews from every music publication that has reviewed it.

The sole point I want to make about Koi No Yokan (Japanese for "love at first sight") is that Deftones are my favorite band and I am extremely biased toward them. With that said, this album still blew me away and exceeded my expectations beyond belief. They are the only metal band I still listen to regularly for a very good reason.

3.   Purity Ring - Shrines

On July 17th Purity Ring did a show at The Crofoot in Pontiac, Michigan and I missed it, in fact I had no idea who Purity Ring were at the time! About three weeks after this show a good friend recommended them to me and I was blown away. This album sounds different yet completely accessible at the same time, something that usually signals greatness. The electronic aspects of this album are done perfectly and create music that is exactly what I pictured music in 2012 would sound like. Check out their video for the killer song Lofticries:

4.   Frank Ocean - Channel ORANGE

I'm still bitter about this one. I was supposed to see Frank Ocean on August 1st at St. Andrew's Hall but he became ill and the show was cancelled without postponement. It's obvious that I missed my chance to see him at an amazing venue as the next time he tours it will be in a much much bigger building.

Now that my bellyaching is over, I should go on about why I love this album so much... Around the time it came out I had a typical frustrating situation going on with a certain member of the opposite sex, this album has more than a few songs I deeply related to during this time. As someone who sort of enjoyed Nostalgia, ULTRA, I was definitely shocked when this album blew me the fuck away.

Oh and Pyramids is one of the best songs ever written, he invented prog-rap while no one was even noticing.

5. Jack White - Blunderbuss

Finally Jack White is back making amazing music as a solo artist (I would consider The White Stripes to be solo work as well due to the nature of it) and it's fucking great. This guy throws away more good songs than almost any "pop genius" you can think of. Singles like Love Interruption, Freedom At 21 and Sixteen Saltines are perfect and display the same genius that was found on all of Jack White's work with Meg.

6. Insane Clown Posse - The Mighty Death Pop

As I stated in my intro, 2012 has been a personal highlight as far as music goes and this album is one that goes along with it. I have always felt that ICP's Joker's Cards were something absolutely monumental in music, a 6 piece concept album set that not only tell a decade long story but they also have secrets and surprises that come out over time.

ICP are often considered "The World's Most Hated Band" which I find hilarious because they offer more to their fans than almost any artist I can think of. This time around it was 3 different bonus albums; "Freaky Tales" a 60 minute long track detailing sexual exploits, "Mike E. Clark's Extra Pop Emporium" which contains remixes and guest spots from a reunited Geto Boys, Three 6 Mafia, Ice Cube, Color Me Badd and others, and finally the best of the bunch "Smothered, Covered & Chunked" which is full of covers.

I am tempted to list Smothered, Covered & Chunked as a separate album on this list as it is extremely entertaining. The standout covers include Hold Still from the amazingly great show Yo Gabba Gabba and Michael Jackson & Mick Jagger's State Of Shock. The full length is great because it has some of the most fun ICP songs ever made like Juggalo Juice, Dog Catchers which is about Dog The Bounty Hunter, and Forever which is one of the most uplifting and all around great songs they have ever made. This entire album is fun as hell and lacks the pretension, phoniness and monotony that so much music has today. Someday they will be considered legends and geniuses.

7. ††† (Crosses) - EP 2

Last year when the first Crosses EP came out, everyone pegged it as "Chino Moreno's Witch House side project" just because the name of the project is ††† and the genre is symbolized by symbols (I had no clever way of phrasing this, sorry). It sounded NOTHING like Witch House and instead was just great dark-pop music that had a slight tinge of Team Sleep. The second EP came out earlier this year and blew the first one out of the water, it's very new-wavey and has pop songs that any other metal singer wishes they would have written. Apparently, Shaun Lopez of Far + Chino Moreno = money.

8. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

The first song on here which happens to feature TI is called Big Beast, and it hits so fucking hard. Not only does it hit hard, but it has an awesome video too which features the producer of the album El-P. What really stands out on here is the track Reagan, which may be the best political song I have ever heard. Rap is definitely a dying genre, but Killer Mike is doing everything he can to breathe some much needed life into it.

9. Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

I fucking hate the term PBR&B.

10. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

I miss Def Jux, but a new El-P album is the next best thing.

Honorable Mentions:
Crystal Castles – (III)
Silversun Pickups – Neck Of Woods
Twin Shadow - Confess
Odd Future - 12 Odd Future Songs
Sleigh Bells - Reign Of Terror
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel

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