My Big Fancy Top Albums of 2012 Post!
So, I’m a little rusty at making an “End of the Year” album post (I haven’t done it since…maybe 2009/2010?) and I decided that I need to start getting back in the habit of doing so.
Why am I starting out with my honorable mentions first? Because I can. And because I’m counting backwards to my top album of the year. DEAL WITH IT.
- 15. Some Nights - fun.
I really wanted to love this album more. Honestly. However, I just didn’t love it nearly as much as their first album. I also wasn’t very fond of the auto-tune Nate used on his voice. Yeah, there were some catchy jams on this album, and I know the words to all the songs, but it just didn’t have the spark I was really looking for. For what it’s worth, the iTunes session that the guys just did was SO MUCH BETTER than this album, and that’s sad. I blame the auto-tune.
Best tracks: Carry On, Stars, All Alright
- 14. The Only Place- Best Coast
I liked this album. In fact, it was a great summer-y album for me to listen to. However, as was the case with the fun. album, I didn’t love it nearly as much as the first. I think this is a lovely album, and anytime I want to think of the summer (in this winter without any snow. Hmph), I’ll play this really loudly.
Best Tracks: Better Girl, Up All Night, Dreaming My Life Away
- 13. The Church of Rock and Roll - Foxy Shazam
This album was fantastic. I enjoyed it greatly, and I loved how much it reminded me of a Queen album. I jam to this pretty regularly, and I think their sound has evolved so much from the first time that I heard them. I’ve grown to like this band quite a bit over the past few years.
Best Tracks: Holy Touch, (It’s) Too Late Baby, Freedom
- 12. Channel Orange - Frank Ocean
Bloody brilliant album. This is one of the few r&b albums I’ve found myself getting into. This is generally out of my comfort zone of listening to music, but I’ve found myself listening to a broader selection of genres this year. This was magnificent. I also love the various artist cameos on the album, especially with John Mayer making an appearance on it!
Best Tracks: White, Forrest Gump, Super Rich Kids
- 11. The Heist - Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Once again, this is me broadening my horizons with music. The first song that I heard off this album was “Thrift Shop,” and that’s because Kohl sent it to me because he thought the video was hilarious. However, that’s not why this is on my list. There were some absolutely spectacular standouts on this album, especially on “Starting Over,” which is my favorite track off of here. I LOVE the collaboration with Ben from Band of Horses. It’s such an interesting blend of voices and styles, and made me fall in love with Macklemore. Also, this album was something I’m glad I listened to this year.
Best Tracks: Starting Over, Neon Cathedral, Can’t Hold Us
And now, here’s the official list. It’s a pretty interesting mix.
- 10. Port of Morrow - The Shins
This almost didn’t make it into the top ten, but I finally stopped debating whether or not it should go here, and put it in here. I love everything that The Shins have to put out, and this one made me want to go sailing and forget about my cares. This album is definitely going on my future road trip mix.
Best Tracks: Port of Morrow, It’s Only Life, The Rifle’s Spiral
- 9. I Am Gemini - Cursive
This album. Tim Kasher’s voice. Wow. I’m actually kicking myself for not picking this one up on vinyl when I saw it. I really enjoyed this album, and wish I could’ve gotten a chance to see them perform some of these songs live this year. Listening to this album puts me in a better mood for some unknown reason, and I can dig that. The instrumental tracks are a nice touch as well.
Best Tracks: Lullaby for No Name, Double Dead, The Cat and Mouse
- 8. In Currents - The Early November
Welcome back, The Early November. This was a refreshing album, and made me want to listen to nothing but bands I loved in middle/high school. This album is one I was really looking forward to this year, and for good reason. It’s a little darker than earlier TEN stuff, but that’s because this is the post-split release. Their sound really grew with them, as they grew older, and I respect that.
Best Tracks: Close to You, Call Off The Bells, Digital Age
- 7. Chimes of Freedom - Various Artists
I looked forward to this release for a very long time. Amnesty International does a fantastic job of putting together compilation albums (like Instant Karma), and this one was really something magnificent. I could have done without some of the covers (here’s looking at you, Ke$ha and Miley Cyrus), but there were some huge standouts on this one. Did I mention that this is an album with a LOT of Bob Dylan covers? That’s another reason why I fell madly in love with all four of the cds on the album. There’s just a broad spectrum of artists on the album, making Bob’s songs their own, and are artists that I don’t normally listen to. It was just interesting to hear new takes on some very classic songs. Out of the two Bob Dylan cover song compilation albums that I own, this one is my favorite.
Best Tracks: Love Sick (Mariachi El Bronx), Just Like a Woman (Carly Simon), You’re a Big Girl Now (My Morning Jacket)
- 6. Celebration Rock - Japandroids
Prior to this year, I never really listened much to Japandroids. However, this album got me motivated to actually do schoolwork, which is a VERY good thing. I liked the rock factor in this album. Also, their cover of The Gun Club’s “For The Love of Ivy?” KICKASS. I’d love to see this duo live some day.
Best Tracks: For The Love of Ivy, Fire’s Highway, Younger Us
- 5. A Flash Flood of Colour - Enter Shikari
This album was very politically charged, and I thought it rocked. I mean, I love anything and everything that this band puts out. But this album? Yeah. It’s almost impossible not to like this album. It’s very thought-provoking as well. In this day and age, having an album that makes you think about the human condition, life, and society the way this one does is a gem.
Best Tracks: Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here, Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide, Search Party
- 4. Little Broken Hearts - Norah Jones
I’ve loved Norah Jones since her “Come Away With Me” days, but this album is a far cry from those days. The fact that her album was produced by Danger Mouse makes me love her even more. She’s strayed from her original jazz roots, but with an added punch of a rockin’ blues sound. Like The Shins’ album, this one also makes my list for my future road trip mix. Quite frankly, this album mesmerizes me. I don’t know what it is, but I was drawn in from the moment I heard the opening song.
Best Tracks: Miriam, 4 Broken Hearts, She’s 22
- 3. Babel - Mumford and Sons
Ah yes, Mumford and Sons’ follow up record to Sigh No More was brilliant. This cd is currently in my car as one of my constant play cds. I just love singing along to the songs, and I especially love that “The Boxer” was covered on this album. I mean, yeah, it was a “safe” album for them, with the familiar sound that many came to love from Sigh No More, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s the familiar sounds that are great for comforting people.
Best Tracks: Below My Feet, The Boxer, Ghosts That We Knew
- 2. Safe Travels - Jukebox the Ghost
This was one of the bands that I was able to see live this year, and I thought it was a fantastic experience, especially since it was a small, small show. I also love how I was introduced to songs off of this album at that show, because they played them. This album is fun. It makes me dance, and it makes me want to groove. That’s never a bad thing at all. Having a fun album make it to the number two spot is great. This album easily became one of my favorites this year, and quite frankly, filled the void that Some Nights left in my heart.
Best Tracks: Say When, Adulthood, All For Love
- 1. The Carpenter - The Avett Brothers
It’s no surprise that I have this as my number one album this year. I received the vinyl version of this album for Christmas, and I cannot wait to play it. The packaging for this vinyl is beautiful, and easily one of my favorites. But that is not why this album is at the top of my list. No. This album made it to the top of my list because I loved it that much. Maybe it’s because when I listen to it, it makes me think of Kohl, because we have a mutual love of this band. Maybe it’s because “Live and Die” makes me think of the Muppets. Or maybe it’s because this album is much darker in comparison to their older ones, with themes of growing old, and dying. It’s a bit strange for me to say that I enjoyed an album as dark as this, but I think the big kicker lies within the lyrics. Either way, it was fantastic.
Best Tracks: Winter in my Heart, I Never Knew You, Down With the Shine
If you’re interested, I’ve got the link to my Spotify playlist with these albums right here. Enjoy!
Band Bucket List
Today I was talking with my mom at Panera about how much I want to see Bright Eyes in March for my birthday. Bright Eyes is part of a list that I’ve compiled over the years of bands and artists that I want to see before I die. Today was the day I finally called it my “Band Bucket List”. It’s an extensive list, and so far I’ve knocked off one band from the list. Hopefully one day I will be able to say I’ve seen all the artists on the list (provided they don’t break up or die) and I can die a happy camper. (side note: This was taken from one of my blog posts back in 2011. I will continue to update this list as needed, keeping the original text.)
I’m sure as time goes on, more artists will be added to this list.
Something Corporate(August 2010; 9:30 Club, Washington D.C.)
- Death Cab for Cutie
- The Decemberists
Bright Eyes(March 2011; The National, Richmond, Va) Brand New(April 2013; Movin’ On Festival, State College, Pa)
- The Get Up Kids
- Ben Folds
- Dashboard Confessional
- Sufjan Stevens
- Arcade Fire
August Burns Red(July 2011; Warped Tour, Scranton, Pa) The Avett Brothers(April 2012; Movin’ On Festival, State College, Pa)
- Bob Dylan
- New Found Glory
fun.(February 2012; Alumni Hall, University Park, Pa)
John Legend(January 2013, Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park, Pa)
- Manchester Orchestra
- Norah Jones
- Pete Yorn
- Regina Spektor
- Jack White
The Best of the Best: 2010 Edition!
Last night I posted my honorable mentions for the best albums of 2010. Now, I’m putting up the entire list!
Here are my top 15 albums from 2010. You may disagree with some of my choices, but that’s okay. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion :)
15. Emarosa- S/T
Why did I like this album so much this year? Well, I don’t even know. Jonny Craig’s voice just mesmerizes me, it really does. I loved this album a lot, and I even got Hunter into them (after Warped). ‘Pretend.Relive.Regret.’ and ‘Live IT. Love IT. Lust IT.’ were my two favorite tracks from this album, and I got really excited when I met Jonny at Warped, carrying his (now) infamous sign that said ‘Got Painkillerz?’.
14. Matt Pond Pa- The Dark Leaves
This was such a fantastic album. I got to see some of the songs from it performed in May with my friend Steph. Matt Pond’s a really nice guy, and I loved listening to this album, especially right after I got my wisdom teeth out. It calmed me down. ‘Ruins’ is my favorite song off of this album, because it’s got a catchy beat, funny lyrics, and a great opening intro. This album also reminded me of fall, even though I got it in the spring. Either way, it’s really, really awesome.
13. ORBS- Asleep Next To Science
What can I say about this album? It was incredible. I also have a review that I need to post of this one as well. I liked the fact that it was almost experimental prog rock, and it was definitely different from what I had been listening to this year. Back in high school, I listened to a lot of bands in this genre, but I have to say that if they had been around when I really was into the genre, I would’ve been incredibly happy. The album was incredibly well put together, and I loved how melodic it was. Even though the album was nine songs total, it was still pretty awesome.
12. Best Coast- Crazy For You
Bethany Cosentino has such a unique voice, with an awesome Cali vibe. I really loved listening to this album this year, and every time I listen to it, I think summer-y thoughts. I loved this album a lot, and I really loved the songs on it. I mean, ‘When I’m With You’ easily is in my list of top songs of the year, and in general, the album was chill. Perfect for just sitting out in your backyard or at a beach and just listening. I love music with chill vibes to it :)
11. Vampire Weekend- Contra
This isn’t in my top 15 albums just because in the video ‘Giving Up The Gun’ tennis was featured, and Jake Gyllenhaal made a cameo, but rather because so many of the songs were so catchy! Well…and the fact that ‘Giving Up The Gun’ was my anthem for the fall season of tennis. I didn’t like this album as much as their first one, but it was still pretty good, and had a few standout songs. I just wish that I didn’t hear ‘Holiday’ every five minutes in commercials. That Honda one is getting to be really annoying and it’s killing my like of the song. I also wasn’t fond of the fact that they used auto-tune in ‘California English’, because they really don’t need it at all. I’m SO against auto-tune.
10. KiD CuDi- Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Kid Cudi’s one of the few rap artists I really, really like, and I really, really liked this album. Even though it’s one of the later releases of 2010, I still enjoyed it. This album was fairly mellow, and I liked that about it. ‘Wild’n Coz I’m Young’ was one of my favorites from this album, along with ‘Mr. Rager’. This album put me in a great mood when I listened to it, and it helped me focus better too when I studied, but I don’t know why. ‘Marijuana’ was also a great track, and of course I giggled a little when I saw that it was a total of 4:20 long. Coincidence? I think not.
9. Sufjan Stevens- The Age of Adz
This was much different than the stuff that Sufjan normally puts out. Different isn’t always good, but in this case, I thought it was. I liked it. It had an Animal Collective vibe about it, and I really liked that. I’ll always love Sufjan, no matter what he puts out. I mean, I did love the Christmas songs he had out this year with the Dessner brothers from The National and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire. This album was funky. I like funky!
8. Girl Talk- All Day
Girl Talk is one of my favorite mash-up artists ever. After I downloaded this, it was on repeat for days. I jammed to it that much. I jammed to it in the car, in my dorm room, and even in my sleep. How that happened, I don’t even know. What I do know is that I loved this album a lot, even if it was a compilation of songs old and new with artists from a broad spectrum of genres. I’m not afraid to admit that I enjoy dancing horribly to this album like a crazed maniac. It’s good exercise. This album is also going to be one of the few that I will be jamming to when I work out on the treadmill when I go back to school.
7. She & Him- Volume Two
I. LOVED. THIS. ALBUM. Zooey Deschanel is so pretty, and has such an amazing voice, and she’s married to Ben Gibbard. I’m incredibly jealous. Ahem, anyway, she and M. Ward make an excellent duo. Even my brother got excited when this album came out, and he got REALLY excited when I bought it. The fact that this album is one that my brother and I both like is pretty great, and also why it’s in my top ten. I just like the fact that this album is carefree and cutesy, and it makes me happy every time I listen to it. Like Best Coast, this band makes me think of summer, and this album is just adorable.
6. Band of Horses- Infinite Arms
I will never not love this band. I enjoyed this album thoroughly. Every time I listen to it, I want to go on a road trip somewhere far, far away. In fact, this album is great for road tripping. I’ve listened to it many times on my journeys between Virginia and Pennsylvania. This isn’t my favorite Band of Horses album, but I still enjoyed it a lot.
5. The Rocket Summer- Of Men and Angels
I got really excited when I got this album for my birthday. Bryce Avary ALWAYS makes me feel better, and this album was amazing. I loved ‘Japanese Exchange Student’ so much that I put it on TWO different mix cds that I made for my best friend. In fact, the one thing I enjoyed most about this album were the lyrics. Bryce writes songs with so much meaning, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I love TRS so much. Seeing some of the songs live at Warped were great. This album is one of the few that I tend to blast on repeat just to get me in a better mood.
4. Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More
I’m hooked on this band. I’m hooked on this album. I played this SO many times the first week I was at school that I’m sure my roomies never want to hear any of their songs ever again, even though they don’t listen to them. I really don’t know what else to say about this album other than the fact that it was absolutely beautiful.
3. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Surprise! Kanye West makes an appearance in my top THREE albums. I didn’t expect to love this album as much as I did, but I really did like it a lot. Kanye’s also one of the few rap artists I enjoy. I wish that ‘Christian Dior Denim Flow’ made it onto this album, because it was really awesome, but it’s okay. ‘So Appalled’ made it onto the album, and that song is also one of my favorites from 2010. I know I said earlier that I’m not a fan of auto-tune at all, I know Kanye uses it, but somehow he makes it work more than T-Pain. The collaborations on this album were spectacular, and honestly, I thought it was great.
2. The National- High Violet
I had this album on repeat a lot too this year, especially in my car. This was quite an amazing album, and words really can’t express how much I loved it. Plus I really liked the album art, haha. But seriously, this was an incredible album. Matt Berninger’s vocals were hauntingly gorgeous, and even if it were an instrumental album, I’d still love it. The music on here was absolutely fantastic.
1. Arcade Fire- The Suburbs
I am fully aware that a LOT of people absolutely loved this album this year. Yes, I am one of those people. I was really excited for this album to come out, and when I finally heard it in its entirety, I was amazed. I did wait a while to get it, and didn’t rush out right away to buy it, but the wait was well worth it. Everything about this album was amazing. The lyrics, the music, even the music videos. I liked this album a lot more than ‘Neon Bible’, which my brother still tries to argue is one of the best Arcade Fire albums yet. This was a stunning album, and it holds one of my favorite Arcade Fire songs ever, ‘Rococo’.
I’ve got a few EPs that I liked this year as well, but I’m not going to write an explanation as to why I liked them so like I did with the honorable mentions and this list. There were a lot more EPs that I listened to this year, as opposed to last year, and felt like they needed recognition too!
- Texas In July- Uncivilized
*Side note: I am incredibly excited that the guys got signed to Equal Vision. I look forward to hearing new tunes from them and seeing them grow even more! If this was a peek into what their first release from EVR is going to be like, then I’m incredibly happy!
- The Devil Wears Prada- Zombie
- The Rocket Summer- Of Men and Angels: B-Sides
That’s all for this year, thanks for reading this entry (if you read the whole thing)! I look forward to 2011, because there are a LOT of releases that I’m excited to hear, even more so than this year :)
This is a List. Or Two. Or Three.
Things I Love:
Spark Vitamin Water.
Wes Anderson Movies.
York Peppermint Patty Pieces.
The Lion King.
XXX Vitamin Water.
Neon Colored Pre-Wrap.
Starbucks Passion Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade.
Things I Like:
My Macbook Pro.
OPI Nail Polish.
Things I Hate:
Professors Who Lecture For Hours.
Macaroni & Cheese.
My Brother’s Drum Set.
People Who Shove Their Beliefs Down Your Throat.
People Who Don’t Use Turn Signals.
That is all.