best of 2012: albums, pt. 2

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Thursday, December 13th, 2012

bes albums of 2012

best of 2012: albums, pt. 2

i began posting last week—and will continue until tomorrow—my annual best of lists. as a complete list nerd, this is my favorite time of the year here on the ol’ blog. here’s the lists i’ll be posting:

thursday: new music discoveries
friday: cover songs
monday: songs 30 – 16
tuesday: songs 15 – 1
yesterday: albums 30 – 21
today: albums 20 – 11
tomorrow: album 10 – 1

the granddaddy of all the end-of-year music lists is the best albums. so here we are with part 2 (check out part 1 here).

i always tell people that there’s never a better time for music than right now. i still get excited about album releases and i’m continually impressed by how artists are innovating and creating. 2012 was no exception. there was so much good music that making this list was harder than ever. in the end, i think i’ve narrowed down to 30 truly great albums.

from tried-and-true artists to up-and-coming rookies, here’s part 2 of 3 of the best albums of 2012:

20. love this giant: david byrne & st. vincent

albums: david byrne st vincent love this giant
standout track: who

i’ve never really been a fan of david byrne, but throw him on an album with st. vincent and an unexpected (but great) horn section and you’ve got a really incredible collaboration.

19. give us rest: david crowder band

albums: david crowder band give us rest
standout track: oh my god

david crowder band’s final album is one of their best. after a couple very disappointing releases over the last few years, i’m glad they went out with a bang.

18. silver and gold: sufjan stevens

albums: sufjan stevens silver and gold
standout track: christmas in the room

let me tell you how many times over the years of making these best of lists that i’ve included a christmas album. zero. that’s how many. so what might that tell you about how great this one is?

17. life is good: nas

albums: nas life is good
standout track: the don

i’ve never been on the nas bandwagon. until now. life is good sees nas returning to his early form and putting together one of the best rap albums of the year.

16. born to die: lana del rey

albums: lana del rey born to die
standout track: blue jeans

oh, lana del rey. there’s been plenty said about her. some love her and some absolutley loathe her. but here’s what i know: born to die is a great album that sounds like nothing else out right now.

15. blunderbuss: jack white

albums: jack white blunderbuss
standout track: love interruption

jack white is one of the great modern musicians. this is an artist that sounds like no one else, consistently writes his own rules and keeps putting out music that only gets better and better with each project.

14. the lion’s roar: first aid kit

albums: first aid kit the lion's roar
standout track: the lion’s roar

if you would’ve looked into a crystal ball at this time last year and said a swedish folk duo would be on this list, i would’ve told you your crystal ball was broken. but alas, here we are and here’s a (really great) swedish folk duo.

13. halcyon: ellie goulding

albums: ellie goulding halcyon
standout track: anything can happen

i didn’t include a lot of pop music on this list and ellie goulding is about as close as it gets. she continues to create good music that straddles the line of radio pop and indie sensibilities.

12. sun midnight sun: sara watkins

albums: sara watkins sun midnight sun
standout track: you & me

i really hate to say it, but sara watkins’ 2009 solo debut was one of the most disappointing albums in recent memory. i’m very glad to say, though, that all is forgiven with her outstanding sophomore effot.

11. vicious lies and dangerous rumors: big boi

albums: big boi vicious lies and dangerous rumors
standout track: apple of my eye

it’s always hard when a good album releases in the middle (or end, in this case) of making this list. i’ve only spent a few days with this album, but i suspect it would’ve ended up even higher if i had more time with it.

be sure to check back tomorrow for the top 10. at the conclusion of tomorrow’s list, i’ll offer a download of all the standout tracks.

any guesses of what will make the top 10?