2012 is in the books and the good news is that, contrary to Mayan belief, the world hasn't come to an end. But if this was our last year on earth, we would have certainly ended things on a good musical note. Put simply, it was a great year for music. After much deliberation we have come up with our list of our favourite album's of the year. There are a lot of new faces of this year's list and a few veterans that put out strong showings. So without further ado here are our top 20 albums of 2012.
20. Kishi Bashi – 151a
19. SoKo - I Thought I Was An Alien
18. Santigold – Master of My Make Believe
17. Purity Rings - Shrines
16. Wild Nothing - Nocturne
15. Keaton Henson - Dear
14. A.C. Newman - Shut Down The Streets
13. Cat Power – Sun
12. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
11. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
10. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
Starting out the top 10 is Lana Del Rey's Born To Die. While Elizabeth Grant has been making and putting out music since the age of 18, Born To Die is the debut full length LP under her Lana Del Rey moniker. LDR made a big splash with her first single, Video Games, which appeared on our 2011 list of Top Songs. This year, she has solidified her reputation and proven herself as a talented, young singer/songwriter, who has paid her dues, known failure, and been reborn with Born to Die, one of 2012's most memorable releases.
9. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
For the first time in his career as a musician, Cloud Nothings front man Dylan Baldi has included his band on the writing of his music, and the results couldn't have been better. While Attack on Memory is certainly on the darker side of anything we've ever heard from Cloud Nothings the songs still have a very listenable and catchy quality to them that will pull you into Baldi's brooding and angsty world and have you singing along all the way down. Album, highlights include the almost nine minute long "Wasted Days" and instrumental rocker "Separation".
8. Crystal Castles – III
Crystal Castles returned to us this year with their third full length LP, aptly entitled III (fitting since the first two albums were Crystal Castles and Crystal Castles II). So they may have an issue with giving their albums real names. Fortunately they also have a knack for putting out some really great music album after album. The trend continues on III, which opens with "Plague", the album's first single and arguably the albums best track, and doesn't lose momentum through a creepy and dark electronic soundscape that is truly unique.
7. Dry The River - Shallow Bed
Dry the River have always been a YBP favourite ever since their first singles started to see the light of day around the interweb. Anthemic, catchy, and simply brilliant; we feel it is definitely deserving of a top 10 spot in the top albums of the year. If you like 'em too, then check out their YBP Tee & video Session. The guys also re-arranged and recorded an acoustic version of Shallow Bed, which you can listen to here on Spotify.
6. Tame Impala - Lonerism
Psychadelic rockers Tame Impala returned to us in 2012 with their sophomore LP; a follow up to 2010's Innerspeak. With Lonerism they have shown that they weren't merely a flash in the pan. They are still as psychedelically wonderful as they were on their debut but there is obvious growth in the music and song arrangements, due largely in part to lead Impala Kevin Parker's ability to not only write great songs, but create melodies that are catchy enough to keep you coming back for more.
5. The Weeknd – Trilogy
2012 was the year of the r&b revival, and leading the way was Canadian born man of mystery, Abel Tesfaye, or as he's known by most people, The Weeknd. We've included Trilogy in this year's list even though it is a compilation of Tesfaye's three 2011 releases. On Triology, each album is re-mastered and contains one more track that was previously not included in the 2011 releases. Rising alongside fellow Canadian rap/r&b star Drake, The Weeknd has distinguished himself as an artist in his own right, and while his work with Drake has produced some of his most memorable music to date, Trilogy shows that he doesn't need much more than his ethereal voice, and musical ability to take the music world by storm.
4. Beach House – Bloom
Beach House is one of those bands that are pretty much guaranteed to make it into all the top lists whenever they release a new album. If you thought there was no way they would ever top the brilliance that was their last album, Teen Dream, you better think again. The album sold 41,000 copies in the first week of it's release so saying that people still love Beach House would be the understatement of the year. If you love 'em too, then check out their YBP tee!
3. Grimes - Visions
Coming in at number three is Montreal's own Claire Boucher, who is better known in the music world simply as Grimes. For the past few years Grimes has been doing her thing (which is very different than anybody else's thing) and not worrying too much about what people think of it. Her modest fan base has grown exponentially with the release of her latest release, Visions. Finally Grimes has arrived and a whole lot more people are being exposed to her eclectic mixture of electronic music, hip hop, r&b and just about every other genre you can think of.
2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
Frank Ocean has been around for quite a while even if he may not have been on your radar until very recently. His popularity began to soar when he became a part of the famed OFWGKTA in 2010 and by 2012 his debut LP was almost ready to drop and the anticipation was through the roof. Channel Orange has lived up to and perhaps even surpassed all expectations and in a year that was very big for r&b revival, Mr. Ocean reigns supreme, right at the top of the list.
1. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel...
The prize for the best album of the year goes to Fiona Apple's latest album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (Try saying that ten times fast). This was Apple's first release since 2005's Extraordinary Machine and it was certainly worth the wait. Apple started recording the album in 2008 and kept it a secret from everyone, including her label, until it was finished early this year. Apple has spilled her heart out all over this album, as she has always done in the past, while working with new producer (and her touring drummer) Charley Drayton, instead of previous producer Jon Brion. The result is this quirky collection of 10 tracks all worthy of many listens for many years to come. All that's left is to see if the album will take home the Grammy that it is nominated for.
Hey out there! What are your favourite albums released within the past year? Let us know by dropping us a comment.
P.S. You can listen to this playlist on Spotify: Top 20 Albums of 2012
P.P.S. Check out our top records of the past couple years!
Top albums of 2011: http://blog.yellowbirdproject.com/2011/12/20/top-10-albums-of-2011/
Top albums of 2010: http://blog.yellowbirdproject.com/2010/12/25/ybp-top-albums-of-2010/Top albums of 2009: http://blog.yellowbirdproject.com/2009/12/31/ybps-top-20-albums-of-2009/ Top albums of 2008: http://blog.yellowbirdproject.com/2008/12/26/top-20-albums-of-2008/