The 10 Best Albums of 2012
Yes it’s that time of year again when we start scratching our heads and thinking back to things and events which have left a lasting impression throughout 2012.
As the new year looms and we anticipate the new music that it will bring, we have to reflect on 2012 for as long as it takes to read this article and spare a thought or two on the albums that impressed this year. So proceed for our Top 10 Albums of 2012. Have an opinion on this list or feel we missed something out? Let us know in the comment box.
10. The Weeknd – Trilogy (XO Republic)
We might actually be cheating by adding this one to the 2012 list since a majority of the music was initially released as a free series last year. But the culmination of the three installments didn’t actually see an official release until November this year; so it gets a pass. And when you are dealing with an album as good as this, how can you let a month or two get in the way?
9. Killer Mike – R.A.P Music (Williams Street)
Man, does Killer Mike need any introduction? The Atlanta heavyweight teamed up with El-P for R.A.P. Music and scored a home run with the majority of critics. A man who has an opinion and sure as hell isn’t afraid to share it, Killer Mike ignited a massive flame with his sixth solo album.
8. Azealia Banks – 1991 (Polydor/Interscope)
So Azealia Banks failed to drop her “official” debut album this year, but she did deliver a strong mixtape with Fantasea. She also dropped her 1991 EP, which again may cause brows to rise due to it not being an actual album per se. But it was a very enjoyable project.
7. Taylor Swift – Red (Big Machine)
When you have the biggest selling record in the country this year and the biggest first week sales in over a decade regardless of genre, that album deserves a mention. Taylor Swift may be booed up with Harry Styles from One Direction (some call her the 21st century’s Yoko Ono), but when it comes to her music, she lets nothing stand in her way. And with sales like that, why would she?
6. Emeli Sande – Our Version of Events ( Virgin)
This Scottish songstress delivered an undeniably impressive debut which spawned hits such as “Heaven,”"Next to Me” and “Daddy.” It also saw her receive a helping hand from none other than the “Girl on Fire” herself, Ms. Alicia Keys, who co-wrote and produced “Hope” on the album. Unfortunately, Ms. Sande fell into the trap of repackaging the album with bonus tracks back in December, which can more often than not come across as either greedy or lazy.
5. Mumford and Sons – Babel (Island/Glassnote)
The interesting thing about this London collective is the fact that they only formed five years ago, and in that time they’ve delivered two stellar albums. Their latest, Babel, made it to the pinnacle on both the Billboard and UK charts. They utilized the fine acting and directorial skills of Idris Elba for hit single “Lover of the Light.” Marcus Mumford and his brethren may not have pleased all the critics with the follow up to Sigh No More, but they definitely got our toes tapping.
4. fun – Some Nights (Fueled by Ramen)
Teaming up with Janelle Monae on their debut single, “We Are Young,” NYC collective fun made a huge impression with their lead off album which saw the group score six Grammy nods earlier this month. The epic lead off track has the potential to become a Karaoke classic, even if it fails to scoop an award at the 55th Grammy Awards in 2013.
3. Nas – Life is Good (Def Jam)
Teaming up with Salaam Remi and No I.D for his eleventh studio offering certainly didn’t do this album any harm. Spawning hits such as “Daughters” and “The Don”, Nas’ lyrical skills were fueled by his divorce from Kelis and a more mature subject matter for Life is Good which pleased many fans of the Queensbridge Don. With appearances from the late Amy Winehouse, Mary J. Blige, Miguel, Large Professor and more, Nas predominantly impressed the masses with this installment.
2. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange (Def Jam)
With multiple Grammy nods for his debut album, Frank Ocean definitely made his mark on the pop culture timeline with the release of Channel Orange. Eager to avoid the leak many sought after albums seem to spring these days, Ocean in conjunction with iTunes released the digital album one week prior to the official release. Good move. It has yet to go gold in the USA but 400K is fast approaching for this Odd Future member.
1. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)
It was hailed a classic within a week of its release, but that’s up for debate. Still, there is no doubt that Compton’s Kendrick Lamar delivered a cohesive and impressive sophomore album in Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. Lamar infused the album with solid production, relevant features and more than adequate lyrics that made a lasting impression. Classic? Too soon to tell but impressive nonetheless.