Best Music of 2012 – Top Albums and Songs



Best Songs of 2012

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  1. “The Malkin Jewel” by The Mars Volta
  2. “Opium” by Dead Can Dance
  3. “Kingdom” by The Devin Townsend Project“
  4. “Nothin But Time” by Cat Power
  5. “Hey Jane” by Spiritualized
  6. “Insulin” by Crystal Castles
  7. “The Seer” by Swans
  8. “Song Of The Lonely Mountain” by Neil Finn (Hobbit) and “The Rains of Castamere” by The National (the Lannister anthem of Game of Thrones). The two best licensed fantasy songs of all time.
  9. “Untouchable, Part 1” by Anathema
  10. “Comeback Kid” by Sleigh Bells
  11. “Madness” by Muse
  12. “Laura” by Bat for Lashes
  13. “The Afterman” by Coheed and Cambria
  14. “The Puritan” by Blur
  15. “More!” by The Devin Townsend Project
  16. “Cities” (from the Sound Shapes PS3 game) by Beck
  17. “I Love It” by Icona Pop
  18. “Grimes” by Oblivion
  19. “Flutes” by Hot Chip
  20. “Children Of The Sun” by Dead Can Dance
  21. “Children Of The Moon” by The Flaming Lips
  22. “Theme from Call of Duty Black Ops II” by Trent Reznor
  23. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” by Tame Impala
  24. “Plague” by Crystal Castles
  25. “Myth” by Beach House
  26. “In Absentia” by The Mars Volta
  27. “Rize Of The Fenix” by Tenacious D
  28. “Werewolf” by Fiona Apple
  29. NYC: 73 – 78 (Beck Remix)” by Philip Glass
  30. “True Thrush” by Dan Deacon
  31. “Kill for Love” by Chromatics
  32. “Mary” by Spiritualized
  33. “DoYaThing” by Gorillaz featuring Andre 3000 and James Murphy
  34. “Born To Lose” by Sleigh Bells
  35. “The Gathering of the Clouds” by Anathema
  36. “Under The Westway” by Blur
  37. “Drag Ropes” by Storm Corrosion
  38. “Wish Them Well” by Rush
  39. “Gaucho” by Dave Matthews Band
  40. “Catatonic” by …And You Will Knows Us By The Trail Of Dead
  41. “Yet Again” by Grizzly Bear
  42. “Not Your Kind of People” by Garbage
  43. “Duquesne Whistle” by Bob Dylan
  44. “Save Our Now” by The Devin Townsend Project
  45. “Golden Light” by Twin Shadow
  46. “Inspector Norse” by Todd Terje
  47. Animals” “Explorers” and “Liquid State” by Muse
  48. “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?” by Blawan
  49. “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” by Silversun Pickups
  50. Jessie Ware 110%

a few more cool tracks…

Top 25 Albums of 2012

  1. Swans (The Seer) — Nothing else like it except of course for more Swans. Seer is so monumental, so brutally good, that I feel like I had no choice to rank it as the best album of the year. It just is.
  2. Mars Volta (Noctourniquet) — Mars Volta finally matches (and possibly even surpasses) their debut effort. This stunning achievement is the result of a band (Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Zavala) that, after four disjointed (but underrated and masterful) albums, finally stopped experimenting with their unique blend of alt-prog-jazz-rock and proved capable creating a tight and focused album experience.
  3. Devin Townsend Project (Epicloud) — Though it’s not technically the best album of the year it’s certainly my favorite in terms of how much I have enjoyed countless re-listens. This album turned me into a Townsend fan.
  4. Crystal Castles (III) — Three albums in and Crystal Castles –the best new band from the last decade– is showing no signs of slowing, selling-out or, more importantly, repeating themselves. From the manic chiptune assault of their debut to this album’s smoother pop synths, the band’s sound is evolving; dare I say maturing? While the dreamy III is, if it must be judged against their other masterworks, their “least successful” album to date, that only results in them being ranked 4th instead of their usual spot of #1 or #2.
  5. Spiritualized (Sweet Heart, Sweet Light) — A triumph for Jason Pierce who’s last album, the deathbed set Songs in A&E, was a total downer. This album is his “We Love Life” in that it’s a souring affirmation of life featuring a surprisingly cynical and often funny edge. After all, the follow up lyric to the album’s title, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light is “…loving my life” which I never thought I’d hear in a Spiritualized song. Of course if you watch the video to this song above those lyrics are set to a dude beating up transgender hooker before getting his head blown off. Ah, good times.
  6. Anethma (Weather Systems) — That Weather Systems didn’t get people talking is one of 2012 music’s saddest moments. Anathema’s 9th album(!) displays the perfect blend of soft and hard progressive sounds.
  7. Dead Can Dance (Anastasis) — I’m embarrassed to admit that this is the first DCD album I’ve ever heard. And happy to admit that it’s not the last.
  8. Bat for Lashes (The Haunted Man) — Not Two Suns good but close.
  9. Tame Impala (Lonerism) — See, I like new music! While it’s trendy to fawn over Lonerism, I found this album to be a refreshing surprise in a year full of predictably good stuff. Best Australian band since Cut Copy.
  10. Sleigh Bells (Reign of Terror) — Derek Edward Miller and Alexis Krauss’s ridiculous pop-rock bravado doesn’t seem like a cocky hipster put-on anymore. Actually, it does but the result is far more likable. Great driving music.
  11. Dan Deacon (America) — Merica!!!
  12. Fiona Apple (Really Long Album Title Goes Here) — Two out of three of the most annoying women in music today (Taylor Swift and Adele) have basically made a career out of shitty mainstream pop post-break-up songs. Fiona Apple has been doing it (well) for years. Her only flaw: the wait between her albums are too long!
  13. Rush (Clockwork Angels) —  Sadly, most surviving rock legends have no clue what made them good in the first place and have no idea how to keep their music interesting and exciting. Rolling Stones, U2, Who, etc. Rush figured it out. I’m starting to think Neil Peart is not human but some sort of Wizard or Dark Lord.
  14. Grimes (Visions) — Annoying. Then mildly interesting. Then tolerable. Finally… adorable.
  15. Coheed and Cambria (The Aftermath: Ascension)— Claudio Sanchez’s “Amory Wars” reaches a satisfying apex with this first half of a double album. The second half, Descension, is out now.
  16. Muse (The 2nd Law) — It’s a sad day when including something from Muse on a best-of list counts as an irrational guilty pleasure. The album as a whole fails conceptually (obtuse thermodynamics concept of this album is “unsustainable” rubbish and hardly cohesive) and is easily Muses worst effort to date; a slap in the face to fans that have been following the band since their first few album. But… it’s hard to argue with an album that has so many good individual singles. If this is selling-out (and, make no mistake, it is) then so be it.
  17. Cat Power (Sun) — Cat Power’s best album ever. I’ve always admired her but never really “got” Chan Marshall until 2012’s Sun. Specifically, “Nothing But Time” one of the best songs of the decade.
  18. Bob Dylan (Tempest) — Here’s another (still rare) example of age only making music better.
  19. Storm Corrosion (self titled) — Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) + Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). Yup.
  20. Tenacious D (Rize of the Fenix) — Leaves Arcade fire in the dust!
  21. Beach House (Bloom) — Every song here the essentially the same and that’s fine because every song is so lush and beautiful thanks to Victoria Legrand. Is there a better voice in music today?
  22. Dave Matthews Band (Away From the World) – After Whiskey and Gaucho I’m officially calling it: DMB is back.
  23. Godspeed! You Black Emperor (‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!) — Ten year gap between albums. Not cool!
  24. Django Unchained (Soundtrack) – Dig.
  25. Frank Ocean (Channel Orange) – After some resistance I’ve come around to appreciating Channel Orange.

 

The Most Overrated/Annoying/Boring/Lame Albums of 2012:

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  1. Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
  2. Taylor Swift – Red
  3. Fun. – Some Nights
  4. One Direction – Take Me Home
  5. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
  6. Gossip – A Joyful Noise
  7. Gotye – Making Mirrors
  8. Best Coast – The Only Place
  9. Green Day – ¡Uno! ¡Dos! and ¡Tre!
  10. The xx – Coexist

Worst Songs of 2012:

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  1. “Gangnam Style” – Psy
    This decade’s Macarena. May all those who listened to this without irony, mockery or hatred in their hearts be shamed for an eternity.
  2.  “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” – Fun.
  3. “Stupid Hoe” and “Roman Holiday” and pretty much everything else by…  Nicki Minaj
  4. “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen
  5. “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye
  6. “Harlem Shake” – Baauer
  7. “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”  – Taylor Swift
  8. “Mercy” – Cruel Summer
  9. Trying Not To Love You – Nickelback
    The worst insult I can give the songs above is to say they somehow managed to be worse than an Nickelback song.
  10. “Hot Problems” – Double Take – –funniest song of the year–

Best Albums of 2013 (so far)

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  1. Atoms for Peace – Amok (Thom York’s new band)
  2. The Knife – Breaking the Habitual
  3. How to Destroy Angels – Welcome Oblivion
  4. My Bloody Valentine – MBV
  5. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away
  6. Pantha Du Prince – Elements of Light
  7. Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
  8. David Bowie – The Next Day
  9. Yo La Tengo – Fade
  10. The Flaming Lips – The Terror
  11. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Descension
  12. The Strokes – Comedown Machine