My Favorite Albums of 2012


I struggled over winter break to wrap my head around my 2012 playlist and craft a carefully curated favorite album list for the year. But alas, it is just not going to happen. Too much music and too little time to digest it all. I used to be a lot more methodical about how I approached music and the judging thereof, but now I just add things I'm interested to my yearly playlist and then delete it when I start to get sick of it. I still scour the new releases each Tuesday for fresh albums, but I'm don't have much time to test out new bands so I end up sticking to things I know or recommendations of people I trust. I had a really great time last year searching for new music and miss that a lot, but I guess there is a season for everything.

I'm not quite ready to let my little tradition die all together so I'll give you the more gut checked, in the moment version of my favorite 2012 albums. Not quite as solid and vetted, but at least a record of this one moment in time. In no particular order:

Heartless Bastards, Arrow
This is probably my favorite album of the year. Lucky for me it came out early enough that I've had lots of time to let it sink in; I was not immediately drawn to it. But it gets better with every listen. Her voice is just yummy.

Only for You

First Aid Kit, The Lion's Roar
Fantastic songs. Sublime harmonies. The songs never get old to me. They definitely have an ethereal, moody vibe and I'll be interested to see how it stands the test of time. But for me, right now, it hits the spot.


Hospitality, Hospitality
I stayed up to a ridiculous hour to see them live at a small venue here in town. Totally worth it. Just charming.

Friends of Friends

Sharon Van Etten, Tramp
Moody, a little dark, a little curious. Just like I like it.

Magic Chords (warning, strange naked bodies)

Lost in the Trees, A Church that Fits Our Needs
This is a crazy beautiful, breathtakingly personal record.


The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter
I saw them live for the first time this summer and I adore them even more. Truly amazing musicians and showmen too. Their brotherly harmony is delicious.

Live and Die

Alabama Shakes, Boys and Girls
This is one of those albums that I think is great, but perhaps I'm not really a "fan". Until I keep listening and realize that I love every song. I am a fan.

I Ain't The Same

Metric, Synthetica
Just in case you thought all my albums were brooding and melancholy this year - Metric knows how to rock. Well, until you listen to the lyrics and realize that they're brooding and melancholy. But sounds great with the volume loud.

Breathing Underwater

Divine Fits, A Thing Called Divine Fits
Spoon is my favorite band so you know when front man Britt Daniels has a side project I'm going to pay attention. I'm not going to lie, this was not an immediate hit with me. But it's all there now. Fo' sho'

Would that Not be Nice

The Shins, Port of Morrow
If I had to list my relationships with the Shins on Facebook, I would put "it's complicated". I love, love, love their earlier albums so much that it's hard to judge fresh work fairly. Do I like mediocre songs because I'm in love with James Mercer? Or am I too hard on them because they've changed as they've matured and it can never possibly feel fresh again? Who knows. They still deserve a spot in my favorites.

The Rifle's Spiral

David Ramirez, Apologies
A local artist I discovered this fall, his song writing is amazing. I saw him twice and they were both fabulous shows.

Stick Around

Joe Pug, The Great Despiser
More fabulous song writing. The kind that can break your heart.

One of Many

Anais Mitchell, Young Man in America
This is another one of those albums that I'm surprised to like. But every time I come back to it I am amazed by her songs. Amazed by her performances.

Coming Down

So that's my list as of tonight. I know there are other albums on my playlist that will grow on me given time and I'm sad to slight them, but that's how it goes. I'll end with a shout-out to other 2012 albums that keep me grooving.

Kathleen Edwards, Voyager :: Nada Surf, The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy :: Ben Kweller, Go Fly a Kite :: Foxy Shazaam, Church of Rock and Roll :: Plants and Animals, The End of That :: Mark Lannegan Band, Blues Funeral :: Chuck Prophet, Temple Beautiful :: Yellow Ostrich, Strange Land :: M. Ward, A Wasteland Companion :: Jack White, Blunderbuss :: Sarah Jaffe, The Body Wins :: Best Coast, The Only Place :: The Tallest Man on Earth, There's No Leaving Now :: Grace Potter, The Lion The Beast The Beat :: Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel :: Jesca Hoop, The House that Jack Built :: Cat Power, Sun :: The XX, Coexist :: Two Door Cinema Club, Beacon :: Mumford and Sons, Babel :: Band of Skulls, Sweet Sour :: The Eastern Sea, Plague :: The Lumineers, The Lumineers


Melody said...

Brilliant. Just added a ton of songs to my Spotify playlist. Gracias.

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