Rather than restrict myself to a set number of items to include in my various lists, I just went with whatever felt right. So, without further ado, I give you my Best of 2012 list, by the numbers:
THE 14 ALBUMS THAT I LIKED THE MOST
- Of Monsters and Men – My Head Is an Animal … Favorite song: “Little Talks”
Ever since I first heard “Little Talks” late last year, I have been in love with this album. I’m surprised by the lack of respect it received from all the critics out there.
- First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar … Favorite song: “Emmylou”
This one is solid throughout and made a late run at the top spot, but it finished in a close second. The album was a huge step up for this group.
- The Darlingtons – Decades Dance … Favorite song: “To Break a Heart”
I recall singing this album’s praises a few months ago, but when I went back to listen to it recently, I’d forgotten how amazing it was.
- Dry the River – Shallow Bed … Favorite song: “History Book”
This is a great album start to finish. And it’s even more amazing to see in a live setting.
- The Lumineers – self-titled … Favorite song: “Ho Hey”
These guys seemed to come out of nowhere to become everyone’s favorite indie band. I suppose the Bing commercial didn’t hurt, but really, it was the power of their music that propelled them.
- Suckers – Candy Salad … Favorite song: “Bricks To the Bones”
These guys were something of a dark horse for me. I figured they were nothing more than an honorable mention, but after several listens, the album continued to grow on me steadily moved its way up my chart.
- Milo Greene – self-titled … Favorite song: “1957”
Ever since seeing these guys on Last Call with Carson Daly, I could tell they had some talent. Then I listened to their album a few times and confirmed it.
- Now, Now – Threads … Favorite song: “Lucie, Too”
Like Yuck a year ago, this band surprised me with how much its music grew on me over the course of the album.
- Kishi Bashi – 151a … Favorite song: “Bright Whites”
This is the artist that the gents over at All Songs Considered trumpeted throughout the year. And with good reason. He has a sound that is different from anything out there today.
- Rah Rah – The Poet’s Dead … Favorite song: “Prairie Girl”
While there weren’t necessarily a lot of standout tracks on this album, the band’s sound is one that I will never grow tired of.
- The Sun Parade – Yossis … Favorite song: “Nothing Lasts Forever”
This was just some random album I discovered through Plixid.com, and it turned out to be a rare gem.
- Best Coast – The Only Place … Favorite song: “The Only Place”
Like First Aid Kit, this group took a huge step forward in 2012. With its tighter tunes and short length, this is an album that can be played all day on repeat.
- Sharon Van Etten – Tramp … Favorite song: “Serpents”
It’s difficult not to become entranced by her voice. And on this album, she got some help from her friends and put out her most complete offering to date.
- Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls … Favorite song: “Hold On”
This band had been hyped since the latter portion of 2011, but it managed to live up to its billing by putting out an incredibly soulful album and one of the best songs of the year.
THE NINE SONGS THAT WERE ALSO WORTH NOTING
- Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”
- fun. – “We Are Young”
- Team Me – “With My Hands Covering Both of My Eyes I Am Too Scared To Have a Look at You Now”
- Fort Atlantic – “Let Your Heart Hold Fast”
- Cloud Nothings – “Stay Useless”
- Factories – “It’ll Be Alright”
- Bahamas – “Lost in the Light”
- Greg Laswell – “Come Back Down” (feat. Sara Bereilles)
- Django Django – “Default”
THE 10 ESTABLISHED ARTISTS WHO PUT OUT SOLID ALBUMS
- Avett Brothers – The Carpenter … Favorite song: “Live and Die”
- Beach House – Bloom … Favorite song: “Other People”
- Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives … Favorite song: “Teardrop Windows”
- Grizzly Bear – Shields … Favorite song: “Speak In Rounds”
- Mumford & Sons – Babel … Favorite song: “I Will Wait”
- The Shins – Port of Morrow … Favorite song: “Simple Song”
- The Walkmen – Heaven … Favorite song: “Heaven”
- Jack White – Blunderbuss … Favorite song: “Love Interruption”
- Wild Nothing – Nocturne … Favorite song: “Only Heather”
- The XX – Coexist … Favorite song: “Angels”
THE ONE ALBUM I PLAYED THE MOST IN 2012
- The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From the Vaccines … Favorite song: “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”
Although it came out in May 2011, I didn’t discover it until a year later. And I have since played it 17 times. They also put out an album this year — Come of Age — but it pales in comparison to the debut.
THE NINE ALBUMS I MAY HAVE MISSED
After scanning numerous end-of-the-year lists, there were some albums that I knew little to nothing about but piqued my interest.
- DIIV – Oshin
- Field Music – Plumb
- Lower Dens – Nootropics
- The Maccabees – Given To the Wild
- Anais Mitchell – Young Man In America
- Passion Pit – Gossamer
- Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
- Toy – self-titled
- Twin Shadow – Confess