Friday, January 18, 2013

2012 - The Year in Music

Has it really been a year since we listed out our top albums and songs of 2011? Sure doesn't feel like it. After the jump - check the selections for our 2012 Year in Music review, log on to iTunes or Spotify, listen along, and reminisce on the year that was.


1.  Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (For me, easily the album of the year.  The way the cd narrates a story from the beginning to end that comes back full circle is just brilliant, great story-telling, strong lyricist, fun tracks, serious tracks, had it all.)
2.  Nas - Life is Good (for some reason I feel like this cd was slept on this year, but it was excellent.)
3.  Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
4.  Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
5.  Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (LDR was one of the more polarizing artists of 2012, some thought she was contrived and railed against her...the jury is still out given her terrible live big stage performance, but, I liked this album.)
6. SHM - Live from Madison Square Garden (technically Dec. 2011)/Until Now  and Calvin Harris - 18 Months (had to combine these because even though they both released in 2012, it felt like a lot of the singles had been floating around for a long time, kind of weakening the strength of the full album debuts...but still if you look at these tracklists, these albums combined probably formed the majority of your 2012 dance/club soundtrack).
7.  The xx – Coexist (Never would've thought something like this could be something i'd enjoy...I still can't describe why...very mellow, very sleepy, yet...for some reason I just liked it...very relaxed work/late night music).
8.  Ben L'Oncle Soul - Ben L'Oncle Soul (album was released in 2010/2011? in France....but I didn't hear it until it makes my top 2012 list...dude is awesome.)
9.  Mumford & Sons - Babel
10.  Gary Clark Jr. - Blak and Blu
11.  ZZ Ward - Til the Casket Drops
12.  Of Monsters and Men - My Head is an Animal
13.  Big Boi - Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (really enjoying this album, but it's so new, still need time to digest will probably move up).
14. Justin Beiber - Believe (Ok, so maybe this just destroyed any credibility I had or any chance that you checked out my previous suggestions...BUT...say what you will about his douchetasticness as a person, this was a solid pop album with a lot of catchy tracks. And make fun of me all you want, maybe it's an album you feel like you have to listen to "privately" on Spotify...but I enjoyed it.)
15.  Big Krit - 4eva N a Day Mixtape
16.  Cocaine 80s - Express OG Mixtape
17.  Supernatural - Ground Up Mixtape (nod to Jhop on this one...really liked this)
18.  The Weeknd – Trilogy (threw this on here, because technically the debut album was late 2012...and it could've very easily been my #1...but it was essentially just the 3 mixtapes from 2011 which were all in my top 10 last year).

Honorable Mention: Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls

1. The Lumineers - The Lumineers: I have no shame in admitting the first time I heard this cd was when my wife and were researching a summer trip to Portland. I honestly thought she found a local artist that was going to be performing somewhere in the city while we were out there. I mean, c'mon, the music fits the scene out there pefectly. Anyway - this turned out to be most played cd of the year, the whole vibe of the cd is dope, so there you have it. My choice for top album of 2012. 

2. Kendrick - Good Kid Madd City: Forget what Shyne said - this cd lived up to the hype. It's a well put together album that plays fluidly from start to finish. I'm rarely a fan of skits, and even though they fit within the album, I'd still prefer not to have them, but it did help the with the 'movie' feel of the album. Great lyricism and story telling over jazzy beats with a cohesive mood throughout, best hip hop cd of the year. 

3. XX - The XX. A co-worker put me on to this, and it became my official 'work' cd for all of 2012. Simple, chill, excellent. "Angels" might be my song of the year - and when they played it on an episode of Gossip Girl? Forget about it. Highly recommend this album. 

4. 2 Chainz - Based on a TRU Story: There was A LOT of ratchet songs in 2012, so my top 10 list had to have something. 2 Chainz is hilarious, and at times I think he is being a caricature of himself - I think he knows what he is doing with some of those lines and gives them with a deadpan delivery. Dude graduated 2nd in his class in high school and went to Alabama State - so don't let the 'Benihana issues' lines fool you. "I'm Different" was another nominee for song of the year on my end. 

5. Game - Jesus Piece: I think I've said this before, but Game probably has the best ear for beats in the game. This is by far my favorite Game album since Doctor's Advocate. Game obviously has his lowpoints (name drops entirely too much, mimics other rappers whenever he gets on a track with them, and so on) - but this is a well put together album and bangs, start to finish. 

6. Lana Del Ray - Born to Die: My wife played this album so much, I had not choice but to love it. Lana has her own vibe, and the album plays smoothly from track 1 through 12. Am I the only one that heard some of Lana in Rihanna's "Diamond" track? Didn't think so. 

7. Dom Kennedy - The Yellow Album: Also a nominee for best album cover of the year, along with Kendrick's cd. I've loved pretty much every Dom project - and this one was no different. His mixtapes are like albums. 

8. Kanye West Presents - Cruel Summer: For a record label compilation album, this was amazing. For a project coming under the "Kanye West Presents" title, it leaves a little bit to be desired. (1 hour, 12 songs later) - Actually, no it doesn't. I just listened to the album again - not sure while this fell out of rotation, but it needs to get worked back in. 

9. (Tie) I had to group these two albums together because they feel like that vintage, raw, New York hip-hop. Full on head nod rap - no singles, no radio play, and likely no commercial success.

Action Bronson - Blue Chips: Not sure what I love more, his rap lines referencing vintage wrestling or when he flexes his culinary chops. 
Sharing is caring:

Joey Bada$$ - 1999 - Tell me that Survival Tactics doesn't sound like a Nas and Cormega song from the 90's? RIP Capital Steez. 

10. Imagine Dragons - Continued Silence EP: Yeah, its only an EP, but the whole EP was great and was another good crossover cd. 

Disclaimer - I liked all these cd's a lot - and they are pretty much interchangable. I changed the rankings a lot. 

Honorable Mention:
Slaughterhouse - Welcome to our house: I really wanted to be able to put this in the top 10. I really wanted them to succeed. Their lyricism and wordplay cannot be matched, but the album showed they are more than just punchlines and can write some great songs. I just wish they would have made more songs like "Rescue Me", "Goodbye", and "The Other side" and got rid of songs like "Throw it Away" and "Throw that". 

10. Fabolous - Soul Tape 2
+ Best work by Fabolous in my opinion. He doesn't bore me on this tape.

9. The Game - Jesus Piece
+ Best Game album since Doctor's Advocate. Give him props for staying relevant when everyone started to hate him.

8. B.O.B - Fuck Em We Ball
+ Best work by B.O.B. finally get to hear how he wants to sound and not record label "airplanes" B.O.B.

7. Kanye West - Cruel Summer
+ Game changing sound.

6. Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
+ Sings his ass off and is keeping true R&B alive him and Dream are the only ones on the male side that do it for me oh and the guy below.

5. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
+ Not better than his mix tape but a solid piece of work. Is he really gay though? Or was that publicity shit?

4. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, MAAD City
(Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe) - Obviously.
+ West coast savior. Intelligent artist with a ton of potential I love the variety he puts in his music. No songs sound the same.

3. Jessie Ware - Devotion
+ Unbelievably good album she is foreign but she will blow up she amazing.

2. Wiz Khalifa - Taylor Allderdice
+ Kush & OJ was my favorite but this album has stayed in my CD player since it came out I can listen to it from beginning to end every time. Great tape.

1. Dom Kennedy - Yellow Album
+ Hands down the turning point album from Dom I enjoyed this one from beginning to end and it stays in my car. Lets see what he does next.

Honorable Mention
Pac Div - GMB
The actual song is called Savages look it up but this beat is straight STUPID.

Big Boi - V.L.D.R
+ I love Outkast his last album was better so maybe this is favoritism because I'm not sold on it yet but I'll support no matter what.


1. Jack White - Blunderbuss 
Since I like the Black Keys who else has a similar sounds but Jack White and guess what he dropped an album. From start to finish it is solid. 

2. Ben L'Oncle Soul - I checked this guy out from Mikey's list and dude is the business. I think, I could listen to his fun style ADED (all day err day)

3. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, MAAD City
I like the chill low key vibe the whole album brings, when many are into the whole 2 chainz mantra of rap

4. The Lumineers - The Lumineers
So I stole this one off Haas' list, but you know what it makes complete sense.  On the oft chance I listened to the radio in Grayson's car I would always ask her who is this and she would say The Lumineers. 

5. Gary Clark Jr. - Blak Blu
Man I have been digging this cat since the EP Bright Lights from 2011

6. Blackberry Smoke - Whippoorwill 
So I thought I would throw some country in the mix. If you liked the classic Black Crows then this is their country equivalent to a certain extent. 

7. Hoist the Colors - Miles to Go Before We Sleep
When I need to get my kick of The Pogues why not listen to some people I know or I use to know. 

8. Lonerism - Tame Impala
While being a loner and eating a bag of shrooms by myself I enjoyed this psychedelic album from start to finish. *no shrooms were consumed

9.Hot Chip - In Our Heads
Time to get my electronica feel here and go with my boys Hot Chip. Nothing better then watching a grown ass man humping a keyboard as he is playing it. 

10.  Dr. Dog - Be the Void
Another relax and chill album and now I'm finally done with the list. 

Honorable mention: Imagine Dragons - Night Vision  
Of Monster and Men - Mountain Sound