Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Top 10 Albums of the Year

Well I was behind at the end of 2011 and this year I reviewed about half the number of albums I did last year. This means I'm still reviewing stuff that was released in 2011.

For each album I've included an excerpt from my original review.

Anyhow enough of that here is the list.

10. Seeds We Sow by Lindsey Buckingham
I can only hope that at 62 I can still put this much passion and energy into a project the way that Buckingham did for this album. Many musicians hit their peak performance in their mid 20's. Buckingham at 62 sounds like he's still hitting for the rafters and delivers a very solid album.

9. Mondo by Electric Guest
I'm always talking about the current movements in music, well these guys do a great job of finding their own sound while balancing off all of the current trends in music. There are post punk elements, 50's duop elements, garage rock elements, but they are blended here to make a charming album that gets better with each listen.

8. Port of Morrow by The Shins
I've never been the big Shins fan that my wife is, but I don't mind them. This album though feels different. A bit more rock and rooted than their previous stuff and I have found myself comparing it to Pete Townsend's All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. That is extremely high praise from me . . .

7. Write Me Back by R. Kelly
The only knock I've had on R. Kelly is that you knew one of his songs no matter who was performing it. With Write Me Back he is playing with older R&B influences and has shown a real growth in his writing as he's able to tap into these influences, modernize them, and make them sound unique not sound R. Kelly.

6. The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers
Still no matter as it stands right now this may be my favorite album of the year. There isn't a bad track on it and I find myself looking forward to hearing it. I threw it on yesterday while cleaning the house with the windows open letting in cool air and found it to be a perfect fit for the occasion.

5. Master of Make-Believe by Santigold
I don't know that anyone is taking influences from the early 80's alternative scene and post punk bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and doing more with it than Santigold. . . . The driving beats, the layered sound, and her voice, all the pieces are there and Santigold has done a great job of blending all of those sounds with a modern palette.

4. Silver Age by Bob Mould
This album caught me completely off guard. It's energetic, angry, loud, fast, it's wonderful. It's the best Bob Mould I've heard in a long time and in fact it's the best alternative rock I've heard in a long time. This all coming from a guy who is 50 years old.

3. Bloom by Beach House
At $5 from Amazon this album is a steal and if it were back in the day I would recommend any friend of mine to pick it up if we stumbled across it for that price in a record store. This may be the best Beach House can ever do, and that won't be a bad thing.

2. Undun by The Roots
Musically The Roots deliver a wonderful soundtrack that feels dirty and gritty like the city and creates a dark mood that moves the listener from song to song. More importantly though we get a solid set of lyrics that are thoughtful and insightful. This is art and The Roots have managed to create something very special.

1. Tracey Thorn by Tinsel and Lights
I am a big fan of Tracey Thorn and so maybe that has clouded my thinking, but I honestly believe this may be the best Christmas album ever made. Like I said it's not for every occasion and not for fun, but I really appreciate the effort that went into the song selection and song production. Tracey Thorn turned 50 this year and to my way of thinking this is the kind of work at 50 someone like her should be producing. It reflects her experience and tries to approach Christmas from a angle that I found to be quite unique and thought provoking.

1 comment:

  1. Tracey Thorn's comments about why this is not an Everything But the Girl record were quite interesting--this whole interview was, really.

    I, too, am a huge listmaker. One of the most valuable classes I ever attended was an all-day deal that taught me how to use the Franklin Day Planner that my employer at the time had purchased for me. It was excellent, and one of the lessons that I took away from that was to consolidate all lists into one place. Seems really simple, and it is--but it totally changed my life.