best of 2012: albums, pt. 3

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Friday, December 14th, 2012

bes albums of 2012

best of 2012: albums, pt. 3

i began posting last week my annual best of lists. today, it all comes to a conclusion. 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
wednesday: albums 30 – 21
yesterday: albums 20 – 11
today: album 10 – 1

the granddaddy of all the end-of-year music lists is the best albums. so here we are with the final installment (check out part 1 here and part 2 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 3 of 3 of the best albums of 2012:

10. nexus soundtrack: sola-mi

albums: sola-mi nexus
standout track: trust falling

derek webb has done it again. he created mystery and intrigue around an upcoming release and he delivered. in this case, it was a faux concept album that ended up working in tandem with his next solo release…which we’ll get to momentarily.

9. the heist: macklemore & ryan lewis

albums: macklemore the heist
standout track: same love

a white, independent hip hop artist? yeah, and this white, indie hip hop artist hustled his way all the way to the very top of the billboard charts. one of the best music stories of the year.

8. swing lo magellan: dirty projectors

albums: dirty projectors swing lo magellan
standout track: about to die

david longstreth and his band of merry music makers keep getting weirder and keep getting better with each release. this album features longstreth more prominently than albums past and it pays off with a series of great songs.

7. who’s feeling young now?: punch brothers

albums: punch brothers who's feeling young now
standout track: don’t get married without me

there’s absolutely no one doing what the punch brothers do. they’re a one-off original and as long as they put out albums, they’re going to find their way onto my best of lists.

6. bear creek: brandi carlile

albums: brandi carlile bear creek
standout track: that wasn’t me

no doubt, this isn’t brandi carlile’s strongest collection, but nevertheless, it stills find its way into the top 10 of this year’s best albums. she continues to craft beautiful music years after her initial release.

5. you know you like it: alunageorge

albums: alunageorge you know you like it
standout track: you know you like it

this is a 3-song ep. basically, it’s a glorified single. and it finds its way into the top of this lists. i don’t think i need to say anything else about how much i love this album and alunageorge.

4. ctrl: derek webb

albums: derek webb ctrl
standout track: i feel everything

prior to its release, all we knew about this album was that it would feature sacred harp music. well, we also knew that derek webb rarely fails to deliver on the promise to create great and completely original music. and that he did.

3. old believers: cory chisel & the wandering sons

albums: cory chisel old believers
standout track: i’ve been accused

there’s just something about cory chisel that creates a warm nostalgia while still sounding current and fresh. there are few albums that i can listen to start to finish over and over and this is one of them.

2. the idler wheel is wiser than the driver of the screw and whipping cords will serve you more than ropes will ever do: fiona apple

albums: fiona apple the idler wheel
standout track: every single night

when we found out fiona apple would be releasing her first album in 7 years, the expectations were sky high—unfairly high. and then she managed to live up to them. in fact, she surpassed them and almost created this year’s best album.

1. channel orange: frank ocean

albums: frank ocean channel orange
standout track: bad religion

after seeing a handful of lists with this as the top album, i tried my best to not rank this number 1. i couldn’t find any way around it, though. pound for pound, frank ocean’s r&b instant classic is the best album of the year.

there you have it, friends. the best albums of 2012. so, what did i miss? what did i get completely wrong?

if you’d like to get a taste of these albums, here’s a download of some of these albums’ standout tracks:

[download id=”4″ format=”1″]