Top Ten Albums of 2012

Staff Writers 1. Channel Orange – Frank Ocean Frank Ocean has been featured on other artists’ work ranging from Tyler the Creator’s Odd Future album to Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Thrown album, but on Channel Orange he comes into full form, shining with creativity. Unlike his 2011 free mix-tape release, Nostalgia, Ultra, Channel Orange is completely original and it has a unique, futuristic sound. This album has revolutionized R&B. Key Tracks: “Super Rich Kids”, “Bad Religion”, “Pyramids” 2. good kid, m.A.A.d. City – Kendrick Lamar Ever since Kendrick Lamar independently released Section.80 in 2011, he has been pressured by the title of “The Next Big Thing.” When fans heard that he would be teaming up with Dr. Dre, the most famous and critically acclaimed producer in the game, to make his next album, there was an enormous buildup of excitement. Some questioned Lamar’s ability to live up to his hype, but the release of good kid, m.A.A.d City has crushed any skepticism. Key Tracks: “Backstreet Freestyle”, “m.A.A.d. City”, “Poetic Justice” 3. Blunderbuss – Jack White The range of sounds and catchy riffs on Blunderbuss show the true capabilities of Jack White when he is unchained. Blunderbuss humbly expresses the hypocrisy and complications with love. Key Tracks: “Love Interruption”, “Take Me With You When You Go,” “I’m Shakin’,” “Missing Pieces,” “Sixteen Saltines” 4. Lonerism – Tame Impala If MGMT, The Flaming Lips, and M83 were blasted far out into the universe on an exploration mission in a spaceship that had a recording studio, this is what the album would sound like. On Tame Impala’s most recent release, Lonerism, they create an excellent blend of psychedelic rock and electronic synthesizers and effects. It is their most experimental album, even more than their critically acclaimed debut “InnerSpeaker.” Lead singer and writer Kevin Parker sounds incredibly similar to John Lennon as he sings over songs that hit all the right notes. The album is unpredictable and it sounds uniquely awesome. Key Tracks: “Endors Toi,” “Apocalypse Dreams,” “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Is Anything We Could Control” 5. Here- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros embrace their spirituality and inner hippie on this album. They nail hymns, folksy harmonies, and rustic melodies. Key Tracks: “Man on Fire”, “I Don’t Wanna Pray,” “Dear Believer,” “That’s What’s Up” 6. Shields – Grizzly Bear The tight arrangements on Grizzly Bear’s Shields create unique and refined sounds. Lead singer Edward Droste is emotional and introspective, the adventurous instrumentation from Daniel Rossen and Chris Taylor is profound, and Chris Bear kills it on the drums. Key Tracks: “Yet Again,” “Sleeping Ute,” “Speak In Rounds” 7. Boys & Girls – Alabama Shakes Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls is an awesome, retro-sounding debut album. They gained major mainstream attention with their hit single “Hold On,” but this album proves that they aren’t a one-hit wonder. Brittany Howard’s soulful, powerful voice complements nostalgic songs that you won’t be able to get out of your head. Key Tracks: “Hold On,” “I Found You,” “Rise to the Sun,” “You Ain’t Alone” 8. Tempest – Bob Dylan A legend both to the music and folk industry, Bob Dylan once again tells controversial tales of blood, corpses, and the Titanic. ”Tempest” stunningly proves that Bob Dylan has not lost his musical or rebellious sides. His 35th album does nothing less than mark the success of a poetic genius. Key Tracks: “Duquesne Whistle”, “Narrow Way”, “Early Roman Kings”   9. Babel- Mumford & Sons Marcus Mumford insists, “ So come down from your mountain and stand where we’ve been.” Subtly addressing nature and equality- the band is back. Yes, the sound hasn’t changed, but neither has the palpable emotion. “Babel” successfully sticks to Mumford and Sons aesthetic sound. Key Tracks: “Babel”, “I Will Wait”, “Ghosts That We Knew” 10. Kaleidoscope Dream- Miguel  In the midst of a Frank Ocean takeover, Miguel manages to make his own revolutionary R&B album. As the cover art shows, Kaleidoscope Dream is a trippy, but engaging and unique work.  Miguel’s lyrics display his vulnerability as croons over everything from echoing synths to an acoustic guitar. Key tracks: “Do You,” “Adorn,” “Arch & Point”  ]]>