When I was 20-years-old and working at Barnes & Noble, I had to compile an annual list of my favorite albums, movies and songs that would be posted in the store as a STAFF’S PICK FOR (insert year here) section. I haven’t made a year’s favorites list since working there, and haven’t been inspired to do so until my friend Areis posted his 5 favorite albums of 2012 online the other day. So below (and in no specific order) are my Top 12 favorite albums of 2012, as in the below albums were released in the U.S. this year and were played to death on my iPod.
My favorite albums of 2012, Pictured from L-R Top to Bottom: (1) King Con by Alex Winston, (2) Kill for Love by Chromatics, (3) Ten$ion by Die Antwoord, (4) Halcyon by Ellie Goulding, (5) Our Version of Events by Emeli Sande, (6) A Joyful Noise by Gossip, (7) Visions by Grimes, (8) Rollerskater EP by Lindbergh Palace, (9) Kaleidoscope Dream by Miguel, (10) True EP by Solange, (11) Confess by Twin Shadow and (12) Nocturne by Wild Nothing.
CONFESS by TWIN SHADOW
George Lewis Jr a.k.a. Twin Shadow released perhaps the catchiest album of the year filled with 1980’s New Wave pop ditties such as “Five Seconds” and “Patient.” Check out the music video saga to those singles which drew inspiration from his novel, Night of the Silver Sun.
TRUE EP by SOLANGE
You’ve got to give it up for Beyonce’s younger sister. Instead of following in the obvious footsteps of her diva sibling, Solange instead released an EP straight from the golden 1980’s pop era of Jody Watley and Madonna filled with insta-classics “Losing You” and “Lovers in the Parking Lot.”
HALCYON by ELLIE GOULDING
The second album from Skrillex’s ex-girlfriend finds the singer-songwriter showcasing an edgier and more epic sound than her debut album. Check out tracks “Explosions” and lead single “Anything Could Happen.”
KILL FOR LOVE by CHROMATICS
Ruth Radelet is the primary vocalist of Chromatics, and her voice colorlessly glides amid the collision of sounds on such standout tracks as “Back from the Grave” and “Lady.”
Check out my earlier review of Kill for Love by Chromatics RIGHT HERE.
TEN$ION by DIE ANTWOORD
The South African hip-hop ravers second studio album is completely over-the-top, outrageous and downright ridiculous. Yet despite the excessive pageantry, the duo’s hooks are as addicive as they are undeniable. Take a listen to their catchy “I Find U Freeky” or “Baby’s On Fire.”
KALEIDOSCOPE DREAM by MIGUEL
Miguel’s second album is an R&B pop masterpiece that echoes the sounds of Marvin Gaye, Prince, R.Kelly and Stevie Wonder. The R&B maestro recently scored (and rightfully so) a surprise Song of the Year Grammy nomination for his hit single, “Adorn.”
ROLLERSKATER EP by LINDBERGH PALACE
The Brooklyn-based band will seduce your ears with their sexy 1970’s retro-electro pop EP. Synthesizers, spacey guitars and house beats provide the perfect backdrop for singer Leah Hayes’ lily white pure vocals on such tracks as “West Coast” and “Days Don’t Fade.”
NOCTURNE by WILD NOTHING
Wild Nothing returned with their second studio album filled with more dream pop confections such as the title track and “Counting Days.” Nocturne sounds like a breezy album that Fleetwood Mac would have recorded if they were just starting off in 2012.
OUR VERSION OF EVENTS by EMELI SANDE
Scottish singer-songwriter Emelie Sande’s debut opus is also the fastest selling album by a British recording artist in three year. Our Version of Events perfectly flaunts the versatility of Sande’s voice, towering and commanding in standout track “Next To Me” and later soothing to the soul on “Read All About It Pt. 3.”
VISIONS by GRIMES
Amid the heavily layered synth beats and cacophonous sounds on Canadian recording artist Grimes’ third studio album, the singer’s monotonously airy voice provides a coordinating contrast especially on hynotic tracks “Genesis” and “Circumambient.”
A JOYFUL NOISE by GOSSIP
What happens when a post-punk indie rock band collaborates with the production team responsible for Cher’s “Believe”? A Joyful Noise is that sensational creation with Xenomania’s Brian Higgins, which adds a new layer and dimension to the band Gossip’s signature indie-punk sound.
KING CON by ALEX WINSTON
The debut album from 25-year-old Alexandra Winston could easily be mistaken as a modern-day Kate Bush homage with her equally giddy soprano vocals. Winston instead delivers a refreshing album of quirky, punchy tracks such as “Velvet Elvis” and “Medicine.”
- Check out my favorite songs of last year RIGHT HERE.
- Check out this year’s Summer Anthems RIGHT HERE.