It's that wonderful time of the year where every critic in the world lists his or her favorite television shows, movies, books, and music. Here are my Top 10 Albums of 2012:
10. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
The great thing about putting this album on your Top 10 list? The title takes up so much space, there's no room to provide commentary. All kidding aside, this was another great album from Fiona Apple, who can really do no wrong musically in my eyes.
9. The Royalty, Lovers
"Bartender" brought me to this band, a song awesome enough to make me want to check out the entire album, which I'm so glad I did. Lovers sounds like it could've been recorded in the '60s, with its mixture a mixture of blues, soul, and doo-wop, led by the unique and killer vocals of Nicole Boudreau.
8. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
I've seen this album at #1 on several year-end lists. While I don't have it that high, I am equally blown away by songwriting on this album.
7. Wideboy Generation, No Time To Be Shy
Loved this debut album. Here's what I wrote about it back in June: "No Time To Be Shy is catchy punk, clocking in at a little bit longer than the A Side of an old C60, and will bring to mind bands you might find on an old cassette, like The Jam and the Buzzcocks. It's explosive, engaging, and truthfully, it's been pretty much all I've listened to during the past two weeks."
6. The Rescues, Blah Blah Love And War
Technically, this album doesn't come out until 2013. But the band has released it to the fans who helped fund the album through Pledge Music (and I believe if you donate to the project, you can still download the album now), so I get to include it on my best of 2012 list. This album is incredible, led by the perfect four-part harmonies of Kyler England, Rob Giles, Adrianne Gonzalez, and Gabriel Mann that weave their way through the album's dozen tracks. On their Pledge Music page, if you donate $21,474,836, you can clone The Rescues. I think we should all chip in and buy this because God knows the world needs more great music.
5. fun., Some Nights
For much of the year, I've been saying this is my #1 album, but when it all was said and done, it clocked in at #5. Here's what I said about it back in February: "Long before we reach Nate Ruess's mush-mouthed, Kanye Westish vocoder outro You're always holding onto stars in "Stars," the album's closing track, it's evident that Some Nights is fun.'s ascension to stardom. While the quirkiness, uniqueness, and flair for the dramatic that were found on the band's debut, Aim And Ignite, are still present, they've been paired with grand sing-along anthems and the end result is a truly phenomenal album."
4. Gin Wigmore, Gravel & Wine
Gravel & Wine was released in September 2011 in some parts of the world and won't be released here in 2013, so putting it on my 2012 list seems about right. I am still quite smitten with the sultry, swampy, Southern bluesy feel of the album. And that voice!
3. Nightmare River Band, Last Goodbye
I liked this album a lot when I first heard it, but this is one that's grown on me more and more with each listen. Here's what I wrote about Last Goodbye in September: "I don't know how you would classify this band -- country? folk? one of these with an alt- modifier? -- but I really don't care. I was a big fan of their 2009 debut, Call The Cops!, and I'm an even bigger fan of Last Goodbye, which takes everything great about the debut and adds a certain maturity to their sound. And nowhere is this more evident than in the anthem "Last Goodbye," a five-minute sing-along about heartbreak."
2. Eytan And The Embassy, Everything Changes
From my review in November: "So what do I think of Everything Changes? Simply put, it's one of the five best albums of 2012. The songs are happy and peppy, an indie-soul-pop hybrid, and sound at times like Crowded House mixed with Elvis Costello mixed with the Beatles and backed by some Motown horns. It's a damn amazing album from start to finish."
1. Mixtapes, Even On The Worst Nights
I wrote the following back in July: "A few weeks ago, I received a copy of Mixtapes' Even On The Worst Nights. I had never heard of the band, but something told me to give it a listen and I'm so glad I did. What I found was thirty-nine minutes of pure pop punk perfection, painting a perfect picture of teenage small town suburban life. Since then, I've played it damn near nonstop and it has become my favorite album of 2012." Six months later, it's still my favorite album of 2012 and truthfully, I think I love it even more now.