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Best Albums of 2012

Best Pop/Rock/Alt Albums of 2012

One of my favorite pastimes is checking out new music. And this year there were scads of new artists joining the ranks, along with some old faves who came out with really great tunes. Some you may have heard of, and others may be new to you, but either way make sure to check out these awesome albums that made it into my ‘best of’ list for 2012.

click here to read the rest of the article Best Pop/Rock/Alt Albums of 2012 – Yahoo! Voices – voices.yahoo.com

 

Since Yahoo Voices is closing down ( I know, total bummer, and I’ll be taking time out to either re-write my articles and find places for them, or temp. add them to this blog).

So, enjoy! here’s the full article:

One of my favorite pastimes is checking out new music. And this year there were scads of new artists joining the ranks, along with some old faves who came out with really great tunes. Some you may have heard of, and others may be new to you, but either way make sure to check out these awesome albums that made it into my ‘best of’ list for 2012.

Best pop/rock/alt albums of 2012

(in no particular order, click on any of the links to listen):

 

GotyeMaking Mirrors; When I first heard Goye’s stunning first single “Somebody That I Used To Know” (feat. guest vocals by New Zealand singer Kimbra) I thought, “Is this Sting, or Peter Gabriel singing?” and after listening to the rest of the album, I couldn’t believe how fabulous not only the vocals and arrangements were, but the sheer creativeness of the instruments used were so refreshing, especially for a new artist trying to make their mark on the music scene. I won’t be surprised if he wins best new artist of the year.

Mumford & SonsBabel; I love this band’s sincerity and heartwarming lyrics. People that usually don’t like new artists or music will enjoy these guys. I sent my Father-In-Law a copy of their music and even he loves it. “Since they formed in December 2007, the members of Mumford & Sons have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. Four young men from West London in their early twenties, they have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices.” -Artist representative.

Of Monsters & MenMy Head is an Animal; Icelandic folk/pop group has earned a place in my heart and top spots in many of my playlists; especially with the catchy sweet song “Little Talks”. Make sure to give them a listen, and I bet you’ll love them too.

Ellie Goulding – Halcyon; I adore Ellie. Her voice is pure magic, and her music is infectious. I dare you to listen to “Lights” or “Anything Could Happen” and not smile. Her songs are always in my playlists, and were some of the most played of the year. “Having already conquered her native Britain with the biggest and fastest selling debut album of 2010, Lights– premiering at No. 1 on the U.K. album chart, four hit singles she co-wrote, and a BRIT award — singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding is ready to make a similar splash in America with her sparkling electro-folk-pop sound. Lights is, as the New York Times put it, a happy car crash of signifiers: part electro-pop, part soul, part blues, part indie rock, part folk that mixes heartfelt emotion with other-worldly atmospherics.”-Artist representative.

ZZ WardTill the Casket Drops; Sexy, sultry, blusey, uber-talented ZZ Ward is my new favorite female artist. She just blows most of the competition away with her incredible vocals. If you haven’t heard of her, you will. I agree with Aaron an Amazon user who says, “Incredible voice, gripping rhythms, clever instrumentation. Absolutely wonderful, a truly smoky album.” And Momica says, “Watch out pop diva’s, there’s a new one in town and she’s hipper and cooler than you. ZZ Ward blows the competition away on her debut album. Solidifying that she is here to stay. I’m loving the infectious jams of “Put The Gun Down” and “Move Like You Stole it” and can’t deny the whimsical romanticism on “Last Love Song”. Heavy rotation all day every day. Get a copy if you like Adele, Amy Winehouse or music in general.”

The Lumineers – The Lumineers; Their self-titled album is definitely one of my favorites of the year. They have “an amalgam of heart-swelling stomp-and-clap acoustic rock, classic pop, and front-porch folk” that will have you singing along with their melodies, and I bet their single “Hey Ho” is still playing over and over in your head with the sweet and catchy lyrics; “(Ho!) So show me family, (Hey!) All the blood that I would bleed, (Ho!) I don’t know where I belong, (Hey!) I don’t know where I went wrong, (Ho!) But I can write a song (Hey!). I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart.”

Grace Potter & The NocturnalsThe Lion The Beast and The Beat; Their biography says, “Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are like a modern-day version of Tina Turner stroking the microphone in a spangled mini-dress while fronting the Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers.” All I can say is if you haven’t listened to them, don’t pass up a chance. The song “Stars” alone is reason for a spot on this list.

Snow Patrol – Fallen Empires; Ahhhhh….Snow Patrol. These guys just melt me. Ever since I heard their songs “Ride” and “Chasing Cars” I knew we’d have a long-term relationship. Their newest album Fallen Empires doesn’t disappoint and in fact “Called Out In The Dark” made me cry the first time I heard it. Maybe it’s just me, but I think they deserve more credit then they’ve received from the critics. It was a must for this years ‘best of’ list.

Taylor SwiftRed; Even though she’s not one of my faves, she deserves a spot here. Taylor has done it again with her amazing songwriting skills. She’ll definitely be adding more trophys to her shelves with this one.

Florence + The Machine – Breath of Life from the Motion Picture Snow White & the Huntsman; I can’t seem to get enough of Florence’s voice. Last year’s Ceremonials, and 2009’s Lungs had me hooked, with no looking back. I even wrote an article about her song “Dog Days Are Over” and what the lyrics mean. Her sound and amazing vocal instrument are pure magic. If you haven’t listened to her, give it a whirl, and I bet you’ll love her too. “Let’s talk about magic. Because music, at its best, is a kind of magic that lifts you up and takes you somewhere else. “I want my music to sound like throwing yourself out of a tree, or off a tall building, or as if you’re being sucked down into the ocean and you can’t breathe,” says Florence Welch. “It’s something overwhelming and all-encompassing that fills you up, and you’re either going to explode with it, or you’re just going to disappear.”

Muse – The 2nd Law; Muse is hands-down one of my all-time favorite bands. “Uprising”, and “Starlight” are two of my very favorite songs. And when I heard they were coming out with a new album, I was psyched. David from Amazon said, “From sell out stadium shows to having their material appear in blockbuster movies and the Olympics, Muse prove year after year that it is nearly (if not impossible) for the trio hailing from Teignmouth to lose momentum. With each release, their live shows grow increasingly grandiose, their material more complex, orchestral and progressive, and their acquisition of new fans increases (almost) exponentially.” And I couldn’t agree more.

SoundgardenKing Animal; I’m so glad these rockers made good on their promise to get back together, and by the sound of it, they’re still going strong. This year’s release deserves recognition if nothing but for Chris Cornell’s killer voice.

Lifehouse – Almeria; Even though this album was just released this month, I had to include it in my faves of the year because, well…I love Lifehouse! Back in 2001 when “Hanging by a Moment” came out, I was head-over-heels for them. And the new album is great too, especially the single “Between the Raindrops” feat. Natasha Bedingfield’s amazing addition to the song. I already love them, but with Natasha’s vocals added to the mix, it made the song even more loveable. If you haven’t checked them, be sure to give their new stuff a listen.

Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon; Great title for a great new band, and as the title suggests, Beacon is definitely a light in the dark. I am loving almost every song on this album. Love them!

The KillersBattle Born; The Killers came back this year with a fantastic heartfelt album worthy of anyone’s ‘best of’ list. Even if you’re not a Killers fan,  (but let’s face it, you probably already know and love “Mr Brightside, and ” Somebody Told Me” as anthems in your car), but be sure to check this new one out, especially “Runaways” or “Heart of a Girl”. Two of my faves.

The XXCoexist; Awesome band period. Not as great as my fave Kings of Leon, but still awesome. Check them out and you’ll see what I mean. Their song “Angels” still gets me. Editorial rewiew says, “The xx exist in a time and space of their own making. In 2009 the south London trio s debut album, xx, quietly made at night over the course of two years, bled steadily into the public consciousness to become shorthand for newly refined ideas of teenage desire and anxiety. Articulated with a maturity beyond their years, its hallmarks were restraint and ambiguity. In the age of the over-share, xx was pop with its privacy settings on max.”

Imagine Dragons – Night Visions; The first time I heard “It’s Time” I knew that this new band was going to make it to the top of the charts (and my playlists). I couldn’t help myself singing along with the unforgettable stick-in-your-brain lyrics, “So this is what you meant, When you said that you were spent, And now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit, Right to the top, Don’t hold back. Packing my bags and giving the academy a rain check. I don’t ever want to let you down, I don’t ever want to leave this town. ‘Cause after all, This city never sleeps at night, It’s time to begin, isn’t it? I get a little bit bigger, but then, I’ll admit, I’m just the same as I waaaas, Now don’t you understand, That I’m never changing who I am”.

HalestormThe Strange Case Of...; Lzzy Hale is a true rocker chick, one of my all-time faves. Loudwire said, “Halestorm went from being the “next big rock band” to fulfilling that prophecy with ‘The Strange Case Of…’ The group rocketed up the charts in early 2012 with the single ‘Love Bites … So Do I’ and the attitude that Lzzy Hale provided set the tone for the rest of the disc. They enjoyed crossover pop success with ‘Here’s to Us,’ but once again embraced their hard-rock fans with the scorching track ‘I Miss the Misery,’ which shows off Hale at her belting best.” Halestorm rocks and this album is definitely got a place in the best of 2012.

Alex Clare – Lateness of the Hour; I can’t even put into words how much I love this new artist. His unique mixes and heartfelt lyrics kept me coming back for more. We are lucky to have such raw, amazing talent in the pop/dance category when most of what we hear is repetitive garbage, Alex Clare brings a true clarity and freshness to the genre. If you haven’t already heard the single, “Too Close” (which I’d be surprised if you didn’t because it was used in the Microsoft commercial for months, and has been spinning on every pop station across the country as well) then give it an ear, and you too will want to hear the rest of the album to find more nuggets of musical genius.

Thousand Foot Krutch – End Is Where We Begin; This band just rocks, period. “Sparks Fly” alone gives them reason to be on this list, but the whole album is really good with a fresh take and each song is unique. If you can’t get enough of some serious hard rock, check out these guys and you’ll see why they made my list. Amazon’s editorial review says, “Since the Toronto rock band’s worldwide launch in 2003, listeners have felt a connection to lead singer Trevor McNevan, drummer Steve Augustine, and bassist Joel Bruyer s unique approach to music. With five successful projects under their belts, The End Is Where We Begin is the band’s first independent release.”

A Silent FilmSand and Snow; Great addition for this year’s best of list, and worth a listen if you haven’t already heard. Amazon’s Editorial Review states, “Sand & Snow, the sophomore album from Oxford band A Silent Film, is an exciting eleven song collection of expansive indie rock. The band s favorable comparisons to Coldplay, The Killers and Snow Patrol have caught the attention of countless fans and critics. They are that rare indie act whose undeniable songs propel them straight to radio station playlists.” “Dakota And The Wishing Well” is one of my all time faves.

Atlas GeniusThrough the Glass EP; The song “Trojans” alone warrants a space on this list for me, but many expect these guys to be around for awhile. Can’t wait for a release with more songs.

David Guetta – Nothing but the Beat 2.0 ; Great beats to be sure. If you love to dance, you’ve probably already heard of David Guetta, but if not, check him out and you won’t be sorry. He’ll have your butt boogie-dancin’ all night. The “Expanded edition of the superstar DJ and producer’s critically acclaimed 2011 album Nothing But The Beat 2.0 features all the hits from the original album plus new songs ‘She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)’ (featuring Sia), ‘Play Hard’ (featuring Ne-Yo and Akon), ‘Wild One 2’ (produced with Nicky Romero and featuring Sia), and more. It also features three of the album’s original futuristic, underground electronic tracks made for the clubs and dance music enthusiasts plus brand-new track ‘What The F***’ which is sure to delight even the most hardcore clubber’s palate and ‘Metropolis’ which Guetta produced with Nicky Romero and was the first release through his recently launched dance label Jack Back Records.” – Edtorial Review.

Jack White – Blunderbuss; One of the best albums I’ve heard in awhile, especially of 2012, without a doubt, Blunderbuss rocks. With the success of Jack and his sister Meg’s band The White Stripes, and all Jack’s other projects, it’s good to see him release his very own baby. If you dig good ole’ rock-n-roll, you’ll love Jack’s album to be sure.

Grimes – Visions; They’ve been descrbed as bittersweet electro dream pop, but whatever you call it, I love this album. “Oblivion is one of my faves of the year. “The electronic & spacey sound isn’t necessarily unique, but pair it with the odd vocals and you have something quite special. Like other musicians with “odd” voices (Joanna Newsom, Ian Curtis, Billy Corgan), either you get used to it or it’ll never do it for you. At times the sound scapes sound very Japanese music influenced, alien, or ambient. Really something special in a world of familiarity. Repeated listens are rewarding. Great music for long drives. One of the best of 2012, for sure.” – M.Olsen.

 

Electric Guest – Mondo; The song, “This Head I Hold” is one of my favorite tunes of the year. It’s so hip, catchy, 60’s style, yet totally modern, you can’t help but love it. They definitely deserve a spot in the light.

Tristan PrettymanCedar + Gold; Love, love, love Tristan. If you haven’t heard of her, you probably will. Amazon user S. Johnson says, “This is one of the most achingly beautiful albums I’ve heard in years. I rarely buy whole albums from any artist anymore, but this was an exception. The songs tell the story of a failed relationship, but Prettyman spins all that pain into some hauntingly beautiful songs. “Say Anything” and “I Was Gonna Marry You” brought tears to my eyes, but TP doesn’t wallow. “My Oh My” and “Quit You” are upbeat, and “Never Say Never” reminds us “you can’t start a fire in the pouring rain.” Tristan is the real deal: a strong, honest, and an example of how to spin gold out of pain. Love the woman as much as her music! This album makes me want to curl up with a blanket in front of the fire and listen to the songs over and over.” And I wholeheartedly agree.

Graffiti6Colours; The songs, “Stare Into The Sun”, “Free”, and “Annie You Save Me” are all great high energy, memorable hook-filled pop songs with a throwback feel that will get you singing along with them, and loving them more each listen. J. Louden Amazon user said, “Graffiti6 is a new British duo comprised of singer/songwriter Jamie Scott and DJ/producer Tommy D. Although Scott is still relatively unknown, Tommy D is well-respected in his field and has worked with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, 2Pac, and even Right Said Fred. Yes, Tommy D produced Right Said Fred’s 1992 smash hit single “I’m Too Sexy.” Although Jamie Scott may not have as impressive a resume as his partner, it won’t be long before he and Graffiti6 are well known around the world.”

Alicia KeysGirl On Fire; This girl really is on fire. Alicia’s voice gives me chills every time. Amazing album all the way around.

Maroon 5 – Overexposed; Normally, I wouldn’t include super-glitz pop, but I love Adam Levine, ( I admit I even watch The Voice just to see him) and Maroon 5 has been a fave for a long time. This album doesn’t really break any molds or do anything surprising, but I just had to include it in this list. The sexy pop/rocker Adam Levine even admitted that Overexposed “is definitely our poppiest album yet,” and admits that he has a “love/hate relationship with it.” Maybe he’ll get back to doing what he loves if we stop buying dance-pop glitz. LOL.

fun. – Some Nights; Ok, I didn’t really want to include this band, but I couldn’t help myself. Talk about a bubblegum pop album…these guys have it in wads. The song,” We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe)” got my attention mainly because I love Janelle Monae, but it really is catchy, and if you love pop music, you’ll love this album, I mean…they really are fun.

Phillip Phillips – The World From The Side Of The Moon; Impressive work from an American Idol winner. And I know he’s been compared to Dave Matthews Band, but I love them too, so na-na-na-na-boo-boo to all the haters. Phillip still makes my list if only for his amazing guitar picking and cute smile.

MetricSynthetica; “Youth Without Youth”, and “Breathing Underwater” are both great catchy tunes that received tons of airplay this year, and I can agree these guys deserve to be on this list. Also includes “The Wanderlust”, a collaboration with Lou Reed.

Silversun PickupsNeck of the Woods; I really dig the sound of this alt/rock band out of L.A. Even Phillip from Amazon said, “Strong drum and guitar notes carry the listener along a ride of catchy lyrics and upbeat tempos.”. Songs like “Bloody Mary” and “The Pit” got lots of airplay on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, as well as on my playlists.

 

Walk The MoonWalk The Moon; These guys definitely deserve a spot here if but only for their intensely infectious songs and easily danceable indy/alt/rock/dance grooves. The whole album is good. And the Editorial Review says, “WALK THE MOON’s self titled album is produced by Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective) and features tracks from the “Anna Sun EP”, new songs and newly recorded versions of fan favorites off their 2010 independently released album “i want! i want!.” Launched in Ohio in 2008 by lead singer, songwriter and keyboard player Nicholas Petricca, WALK THE MOON includes Kevin Ray (bass, vocals), Eli Maiman (guitar, vocals) and Sean Waugaman (drums, vocals).”

Lana Del ReyBorn To Die; I had to include this one and not just because of her skyrocket jump into mainstream, but Lana’s cool sound and amazing vocals earn her a richly deserved spot. Rich Vergo from Amazon stated, “Lyrically expressive and experimental with music composition that fuses the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and present day sounds into dark, moody, atmospheric experiences; and wrapped in a package of modern hip beats that takes her songwriting to fascinating art pop heights.”

Honorable Mentions:

Passion PitGossamer; With the song “Take A Walk” I had to at least include this album as an honorable mention. Fun pop with alt/indy style.

Cat PowerSun; Beautiful vocals, and a lovely self-done album. Amazon’s editorial review stated, “Sun is the 2012 studio album from Cat Power. Six years after her last album of original material, Chan Marshall has moved on from her collaborative forays into Memphis soul and Delta blues. She wrote, played, recorded and produced the entirety of Sun by herself, a statement of complete control that is echoed in the songs’ themes. The narrative arc of the record is deeply American in its spaciousness and optimism, but the music itself is defiantly modern and global.”

Flyleaf – New Horizons; “Call You Out” and “Bury Your Heart” are two of the stand out songs on this album. Worth a listen or two if for nothing but her killer voice.

Three Days GraceTransit of Venus; These guys just rock. They can sound hard or soft, and still keep you interested in what’s next. Really great album from start to finish.

Saving AbelBringing Down the Giant; Love this band. Definitely worth a listen. The editorial review said, “Saving Abel combined meat and potatoes rock with bombastic hooks to land a hit Album with their debut in 2008. Their 2nd album Miss America also had a big impact and further broadened their audience.The raw and down home feel of the melodic hard rock all over the new album Bringing Down The Giant recalls the most vital and energizing aspects of the humble beginnings of the band. Bringing Down The Giant is the type of album that fully delivers on the promise of everything that has come before with Saving Abel.”

More Notes:

The Black Keys, Grouplove, NEEDTOBREATHE, Adelitas Way, and AWOLNATION all have albums with 2011 releases, but still had great songs make it to the charts this year, including; “Gold On The Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys, “Keep Your Eyes Open” by NEEDTOBREATHE, and “Alive” by Adelitas Way. Grouplove’s “Tongue Tied” and “Itchin’ On A Photograph” are two of my favorites and still get tons of airplay. Young the Giant falls into this category as well with their 2011 album still getting tons of radio play, and high status on my playlists, too. I couldn’t mention them in the list, but just had to give them a plug. If you haven’t given your ear to these bands, try them on for size, and I bet you’ll find a perfect fit.

Hope you enjoyed reading this list, or at the very least, found something new to scratch the new music itch in you. Did you find your favorite of the year?

My highest hopes are that you find your new favorite band, and connecting here with your first listen with what might become some new sound you fall in love with.

Resources;

Amazon.com and respective artist websites

 

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About Candice Collins

I love helping people heal themselves. Whether that's through body, mind, or spirit, we all need a helping hand sometimes. I'm also owner/formulator of Yellowstar Essentials custom natural beauty- home -and health products, also a database builder of a telcom auditing business, a freelance writer, an Aromatherapy enthusiast, and a part-time waitress. I just love life and way too many things to list them all here.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Best Albums of 2012

  1. Candice, this was such a fabulous list and provided me countless hours of listening enjoyment in 2013. Your opinions on music align extremely well with mine and I’m hoping your excellent research and taste provides another similar list for 2013! Thanks for your great work!

    Posted by Collin | January 3, 2014, 1:51 pm

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