This is essentially the grandaddy of all end of the year lists. What albums did you love the most this year? Which ones did you hate the most?
These are my top albums which means, I spent the most time with them and they stuck the longest and I enjoy them most.
1. Father John Misty - Fear Fun
J. Tillman is a former member of Fleet Foxes and has been making music under his own name and decided to adopt the persona of Father John Misty. This album was fresh, compelling and altogether an amazing album. Seriously this is the only accurate way to describe Fear Fun: this album will give you positively suicidal thoughts, make you feel like an angry dishonorably discharged member of the Avengers, back to feeling suicidal, then makes you laugh for a good 12 minutes and then makes you feel like an absolutely beautiful human being.
2. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
Macklemore is the name of a guy I’ve never heard. It also sounds like the name of a guy who’d be like RJD2 and work with rappers and not be one himself. But alas, I was wrong. His album with Ryan Lewis the Heist has been described as a revolutionary hip-hop record. Using NO samples and creating all the beats themselves, they took the DIY approach to the recording process and the marketing of this record. They crafted song after personal, meaningful and hilarious songs that led to mainstream success on the billboard chart and a permanent home on my iPhone.
3. Purity Ring - Shrines
This has been a year of me being told I need to listen to bands I’ve never heard of and being told my life cannot end without me hearing their record. Purity Ring is one of those cases. Light, cheerful, dark, devastating, alluring, magical, heavy, whimsical are all words that describe every Purity Ring song to me and all at once. They make pretty and bright electronic music that’s dark and devastating at the same time. With chorus lines like “cut open my sternum and pull my little ribs around you” how can they not be?
4. Derek Webb & SOLA-Mi - Ctrl + NEXUS
This album is a two part story of a man looking to gain control over kingdoms he builds everyday and leave the life he’s in to become virtual, while a woman born virtual desires to become real. It’s a long/beautiful allegorical sermon on the dangers of living blindly to what we give ourselves and let ourselves become.
5. Louis CK - WORD: live at carnegie hall
I love Louis CK. The easiest way to explain this is that I would lovingly and gladly accept him to be my pastor most days. He’s a realist and an asshole. Plus he’s really good at both. His comedy album hits this list because it’s better than most music i’ve heard this year and this has been the year of Louis CK.
6.Yeasayer - Fragrant World
Odd, pulsating and haunting. It’s perfect.
7. Matthew Perryman Jones - Land of the Living
Land of the Living is full of anthems after anthems after more anthems. There’s an album every year that has no songs I just hate on it. There’s one every year and this is that one. Every song is a litany of production and an offering to everything that’s right about music and art.
8. David Byrne & St. Vincent - Love This Giant
I’m a skeptic and only a nominal fan of St. Vincent, but honestly David Byrne is terrible. If there’s a Talking Heads reunion coming soon, I’ll amend my opinion but until then I continue to hate him. He’s odd and pretentious and eclectic in all the wrong ways. But the funny thing is that he makes Annie Clark (St. Vincent) so much better by comparison (who was already great to begin with). Like if you saw a pile of horse shit outside a Wendy’s you’d be like ‘you know I totally want a baconator now’ that’s how I feel about >Love This Giant.
9. Japandroids -_ Celebration Rock_
If the Replacements could ever control their drinking and be as excellent as they’re capable of being, they’d be the Japandriods.
10. The Shins - Port of Morrow
The Shins got me through my parents’ divorce and my first year of college. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to God and James Mercer that they’re back together. This album is an action packed story of continuity of this band despite all the line up changes. James Mercer is still a fantastic general no matter what army he leads.
So there you have it. Those were my top ten albums of 2012. There’s a few honorable mentions like Propaganda’s Excellent, which was rather appropriately named, there was Generals by the Mynabirds who are to me if sex were sound, Paper Route’s long-awaited The Peace of Wild Things and Jack White’s debut solo album because it had all the veracity and awe of a White Stripes album without the pretense and hype.
So that’s my list. What were your favorites from this year? I’d like to hear in the comment section below. think I overhyped a record on my list? Let me know that too.