I love top lists. Yearly recaps. All that kind of junk. Honestly, I love it because it gives me a chance to look back on the entire year, not just whatever pops into my head at the moment, and decide if anything was worth giving a shit about. Over the next week, I’m going to give you what I thought 2012 had to offer…but be warned. Honestly, it’s not much. Apparently everything awesome came out in 2011 and I just loved the shit out of it all this year, too. But whatever. Let’s talk about music.
My top five albums of 2012 should really be a top three. I struggled to find two more complete albums that I really liked from start to finish, and #’s 4 and 5 were ones I liked immediately when I purchased them but have declined for me the more and more I play them. However, I like more than 75% of the songs on them, so I feel that they deserve to go on a list. Here’s some trivia for my top albums of the year: two albums are from American Idol alumni, one is a soundtrack, and two have songs that are featured in commercials. Are you ready? Here we go!
All album cover images were found via Yahoo! image search.
Yes, I first heard of Alex Clare because of the Bing commercial. However, I purchased his album before “Too Close” started getting played on the radio, and I immediately fell in love. I remember listening to the whole thing while I was driving out to a friend’s house who lives an hour away and was sorely disappointed when the album ended without me arriving at my destination. How could anything else compare to these beats? The uptempo songs are fantastic and the slow ones (although not as good) can definitely hold their own. Each track is full of electronic greatness. And Alex’s voice? Don’t even go there. Finally, someone who can actually sing puts out an album. It’s like he belongs in a dark blues club but instead turns on a black light with the power of the sun so everyone can dance. Even his cover of “When Doves Cry” is awesome, despite what this one woman who came into my work said when she cried out, “Who is destroying that Prince song??!?” Girl, please. This is the shit, not shit. Favorite tracks: “Too Close,” “Hands Are Clever,” “Whispering.”
I learned about Fun. (fun.?) because of Glee. I’m sure a lot of you did, too. If it weren’t for Rachel Berry singing her heart out to a cover version of “We Are Young,” I never would have known this band existed. Thank you, Ryan Murphy, for allowing Glee to introduce me to an album full of Queen-esque harmonies. The song that got me interested in the band is now so overplayed I can’t stand it (even though Kelly Clarkson covered it in an amazing fashion), but the album can stand on its own without the lead single. And let’s be real, thanks to its place on the Wreck It Ralph trailer, I will love the song “Some Nights” for all time – this also was covered on an episode of Glee, but it was not as powerful as the first Fun. cover. The singing is what stands out here, along with the fact that a band is ballsy enough to make epic, anthemic songs with no pretentiousness and no apologies. You rock, Fun.. You rock so hard. Favorite tracks: “Some Nights,” “All Alone,” “Stars.”
Usually, it’s hit or miss with a Glee soundtrack. There are three or four good songs on it and then the rest are crap. Or, in reality, I have already purchased all the good songs when the episodes aired and now am stuck with a cd full of junk I already have and crap I didn’t want in the first place. Now, I did purchase a good number of songs from this album separately first. Actually, I had already paid for 1/2 the album. However, once I started listening to this on Spotify, I realized that there were a few gems that I never really looked into/completely forgot about. “Give Your Heart a Break” by Rachel Berry and Brody, for example…that’s a really beautiful song. The mash-up of “Homeward Bound/Home” is fantastic, as well. This album has so many great tracks, from Blaine’s Imagine Dragons cover (yet another band I was introduced to via Glee) to The Warblers covering One Direction to the “Holding Out for a Hero” duet (which I am positive will be the only song I like that Marley will ever sing), this compilation is such a winner. I could have done without the Santana solo or the cover of “New York State of Mind,” but I hear there are people out there who actually like Santana, so I’ll let them have their moment. Favorite tracks: “Dark Side,” “Americano/Dance Again,” “Give Your Heart a Break.”
This album is so underrated, I can’t stand it. While Kris Allen’s debut album pales in comparison to the gigantic party that was his competitor Adam Lambert’s debut, Thank You Camellia can hold its own. There is not one song I skip on this CD. Not one. There are more uptempo songs than his eponymous debut, and each one makes me dance and sing along like there’s no tomorrow. Shit, I hope Future Mr. Glitterbots knows that “My Weakness” is going to be our wedding song. I guess I’d better book a band whose singer can whistle. Seriously, though, “Monster” is so different from anything Kris has ever put out, and even the ballads soar. He took his time with this album and it shows. It’s good. Really, really good. And it’s just a shame that because he hasn’t been on television for a few years that not a whole lot of people bought it. To add to this, each time I see him in concert, he gets better and better, especially performing songs from this album. Plus, you know, my name’s in the book for the CD that came with the deluxe version. Thank you Camellia? Thank you, Kris Allen. Favorite tracks: “My Weakness,” “Blindfolded,” “Monster.”
Yes, I put the hot cover rather than the deluxe cover. And the battle for my #1 album of the year was a strong one. I think Adam Lambert only pulled out ahead because I listened to this in my car for three months straight without pulling it out of the player. Oh, the times I had, driving down the road, windows down, blasting “Runnin'” while I sang my lungs out….amazing. I can’t say that Trespassing is a better album than his previous For Your Entertainment, but I can say it’s just as good. There are some songs I don’t like as much as I liked on his debut, but I like more of them, if that makes sense. There is not a bad song on this album, let me tell you. In fact, I think the worst song on it is the lead single, “Better Than I Know Myself,” but that’s not Adam’s fault. The dance party first half of the CD is where he really shines where songs like “Cuckoo” make everyone want to party until their clothes fall off. However, I’m not going to underestimate the ballads, which are leagues above the ones on his first album. When (if :-/) he ever tours the US for this, I know I’ll be the one in tears every time I hear “Underneath.” Yes, I will be that girl. It’s a dream of a pop album. And for that…it is the best. Favorite tracks: “Never Close Our Eyes,” “Take Back,” “Trespassing.”