Once again, I've compiled a list of my favorite albums of 2012. I don't think this was the best year for music, but it certainly wasn't a bad one.
10. The Haunted Man by Bat For Lashes
Natasha Khan falls just the Kate Bush side of Florence and the Machine's Ceremonials in The Haunted Man, with a tiny dash of The Xx. While there are no big hits like "Daniel" contained within The Haunted Man, it's a pretty cool album that lives up to the quality of her previous works.
"All Your Gold"
Having reviewed Roses way back in March of last year, I'm incredibly impressed by how much the lyrics and melodies come back to me. It's a much better album even than I remembered. The songs toward the end of the album are a little weaker than those that start it, but it definitely stands up, and I feel as though Roses should have received more attention this year.
I was going to rank this album lower, until I gave it another listen, and then I began to wonder if it should be higher. The musicality is ace, and the songs are still catchy. The vocals and instrumentals are everywhere, whilst still seeming meticulously placed. If you haven't listened to it already, I recommend.
"Chester's Burst Over The Hamptons"
"I Am The Antichrist To You"
I reviewed Moving Up Living Down when it came out. It's a little different from Sounds Like This, but not necessarily in a bad way. There's a greater variety of styles, and a new kind of power to the production. The lead single "Watching You Watch Him" is strong and there are plenty of album tracks to back it up.
"Watching You Watch Him"
"Not There Yet"
6. The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five
A somewhat morose album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind features more collaboration between Ben Folds and Nick Hornby. The album is beautiful, moving, and very occasionally uplifting. The lead single even featured a video that starred Fraggle Rock's Fraggles.
"Do It Anyway"
"Hold That Thought"
5. sketches by edu
Andrew Horowitz released his first solo work exclusively on cassette this year. The nine song work was pure beauty. Each track feels hand-crafted and adorable. sketches closes with the only song not written by Horowitz, a cover of "Rainbow Connection" that does the song as much justice as Kermit's original.
"at the end"
Hawaii: Part II was released about a month ago on bandcamp (my review). Something of a concept album, the tracks from Hawaii: Part II still stand well one by one. Joe Hawley's side-project is quite the masterpiece.
"Isle Unto Thyself"
"Dream Sweet in Sea Major"
After listening to Aim and Ignite many times over the past few years, Some Nights came as something of a disappointment. The radio did not agree with me, making "Some Nights" one of the most overplayed songs of 2012. Don't get me wrong, it's still an amazing album, but I was a little underwhelmed. I think radio listeners should also understand that the rest of the album is as good as the two lead singles.
"Out On The Town"
While I realize certain albums on my list are odd and off the beaten path, I'm surprised I haven't seen Former Lives on more 2012 best of lists. Ben Gibbard created a great album that certainly stuck with me. There's not a single song on the album that I would skip, and almost every one has a very special place on the album and in my life.
"A Hard One to Know"
Falling only slightly short of the picture perfect Tell It To The Volcano, Mia Pharaoh took an adventurous leap into the 70s- but with synths. Lead single "Boomerang" was a great preview of the album's feel. Miniature Tigers manage to find the space between cute and sexy, between retro and modern, having a sound that no one can emulate, and that is exclusively theirs (their album of covers could have easily made it into my top ten, but technically it's an E.P.). I'm sure I listened to this album more than any other this year, and for good reason. The songs are well-sculpted, catchy, sensual, and strangely cute. If you haven't listened to Mia Pharaoh yet, get on it.
"Sex On The Regular"
"Afternoons With David Hockney"