So, 2013 is here and whole new load of awesome music is heading our way. Last year we were introduced to a whole host of amazing new albums and I thought, as strangely I’d never done it before, I’d share with you my ‘Editors Choice: Top 10 albums of last year’.
With so many albums to choose from this wasn’t an easy decision but I’ve whittled it down to the ten I that made 2012 for me personally. It’s a mixed bag, and there are definitely a few surprises along the way, so whether you as readers agree or not is a totally different story. I guess there is only one way to find out. May I present… My top 10 albums of 2012!
10 | Carly Rae Jepsen – Kiss
Okay, so I’m guessing most of you at this point are like “What?! Carly Rae Jepson is in your top 10 albums of the year!? Are you shitting me!?” You know what? I don’t care. Everyone is allowed a guilty pleasure and, although I’m not even slightly guilty in any way or form, this is mine…so deal with it.
Whether you accept it or not you all loved ‘Call Me Maybe’ so don’t pretend you didn’t. I’ve seen you singing along in your car and while doing the dishes! Don’t live a lie people; just accept it! I played this song sooo much at one point I ended up having an argument with Spotify via Twitter when they said I’d maxed out my plays. They agreed to make me an app that played it constantly with no play limit; true story. I’m still waiting for that.
Moving on, this album is full of pop bangers to get your weekend, your BBQ, your wedding or your cats birthday on full blown awesome. Just when you thought she could be a one trick pony she pulls out more and more pop perfect tunes that, like it or not, you will find yourself dancing and singing along to. What can I say? This is just one hell of a catchy album. From ‘Tiny Little Bows’ to ‘Curiosity’ it’s time to let down your “I’m too cool for this” guard and enjoy yourself. She even chucks in the standard slow ballad in the form of ‘Your Heart Is A Muscle’. So yeah, forget about how cool you think you are or how “pop sucks” and maybe, just maybe, you might enjoy it. If all else fails ‘Call Me Maybe’ on repeat is always a winner. I love you Carly Rae!
9 | The All American Rejects – Kids On The Street
The All American Rejects have always been consistent. As far as I’m concerned they have yet to make a bad album, and ‘Kids On The Street’ thankfully carried on this pattern, making me a very happy man.
With a great natural progression from ‘When The World Comes Down’ we still got all the classic All American Rejects style hits such as ‘Beekeepers Daughter’ and ‘Somedays Gone’ and they still manage to chuck in some surprises like the awesome ‘Bleed In To Your Mind’ which shows a whole new sound with its ‘chill on the beach’ reggae vibe. Whether you are an old fan yearning for your next fix or a newbie wanting in on the action, ‘Kids On The Street’ is a great album worth your time. Now let’s hope album five keeps up the perfect run!
8 | Sleigh Bells – Reign Of Terror
Brooklyn’s Sleigh Bells have never failed to capture my attention. The pure intensity and noise created by this noise-pop, duo manages to perforate my ear drums while, somehow, keeping an air of subtle grace, with vocalist Alexis Krauss levelling out the chaos and softening the blow.
Roaring guitars and electronic beats fuse together to create epic layered soundscapes that really fill every inch of your speakers and show why Sleigh Bells are unlike any other band out there at the moment. Stand out track ‘Comeback Kid’, with its electronic double bass pedal assault and almost ‘cheery’ vocal, is just a work of genius as the fusion works so well in creating the bands unique sound; noisy, intense and satisfying. Tracks such as ‘Born To Lose’ and ‘Demons’ carry on the trend but with a more gritty, sludgy feel that you almost want to do a strange slow motion head bang to. Amongst the heaviness though lies the calm and ‘End Of The Line’ and ‘Lost Me’ show how they can still keep that intense sound but bring the music down to match the softer vocal. It’s almost strangely, relaxing?
Basically this album fries your senses and leaves you feeling dirty in the best way possible while managing to leave you feeling calm and content all within the space of 36 minutes. Awesome!
7 | No Doubt – Push And Shove
So to anyone who knows me it will come as no surprise to see No Doubt‘s latest release ‘Push and Shove’ within the top 10. To those of you that don’t know let’s just say I was a bit of a mega fan back in the day (maybe a bit too much hmm!). Anyways, to some ‘Push and Shove’ may not have been the No Doubt album they were expecting. I mean most people will still remember the band from the ‘Don’t Speak’/’Tragic Kingdom’ days or their commercial ‘Rocksteady’ hits; that or were more into Gwen’s solo career. To a hardcore fan like myself the album was a clear natural progression from ‘Rocksteady’ and although it took a few listens, I have really learnt to love this album. For one, the title track ‘Push and Shove’ could be one of their best tracks to date (Yes I said it!). With its combination of dancehall, pop and rock it really does scream “RELEASE ME!” but for some reason only ended up as the B-Side to first single ‘Settle Down’, although luckily they did make a video for it! (See below)
The album as a whole is a more chilled out affair, but one I will happily whack on while working and be loving every minute. Tracks such as ‘Undone’ really take me back to the ‘Return Of Saturn’ days and tracks such as ‘Settle Down’ and ‘Sparkle’ still show they have not forgotten their ska roots. No Doubt you have not disappointed me.
Although not an album, Krewella‘s ‘Play Hard’ EP has had more than enough plays on my iTunes to warrant a place in the list. With six tracks to take in if you listen twice in a row (which I have frequently) it comes to the same time as an album, so think of it that way.
From the moment I heard ‘Feel Me’ I was hooked in line and sinker by their club banging dubstep beats and by the sexy tones of dual vocalists Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf. Straying away from the dubstep trend of sometimes being a bit too noisy and being ‘all about the drop’, Krewella have created a perfect balance with this EP which you could easily see ripping up clubs across the world. Combining dubstep with a pop appeal it wouldn’t surprise me to see Krewella taking over our airwaves and TV screens in 2013.
With an album due later this year keep your eyes peeled and ears opened. Krewella are on the way!
5 | Ke$ha – Warrior
Yes, Ke$ha is in my top 10! Why, you ask? ‘Cos, quite frankly I love this album. Having been a big fan of Ke$ha since her debut ‘Animal’, ‘Warrior’ actually really surprised me.
For those of you only familiar with Ke$ha’s more well-known tracks, alongside the commercial hits her albums have also included some amazingly atmospheric and well-crafted pop songs that just didn’t fit into the ‘chart’ area but really showed off her talent as song writer and artist.
Tracks on this album such as ‘All That Matters (The Beautiful Life)’ and ‘Love Into The Light’ are perfect examples of Ke$ha creating beauty within pop and showing she’s more than just the ‘Tik Tok’ Jack Daniels drinker. ‘Warrior’ also showed a big evolution for Ke$ha as there is also a more ‘live band’ feel to some of the tracks, ‘Thinking Of You’ being a personal favourite. If you’re a pop fan and have yet to give Ke$ha a real chance then I urge you to give this album a go. It may surprise you. Ke$ha I salute you!
You can read my full review on the album here.
4 | Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
With that beautiful, unique sounding voice and those model looks Lana Del Rey captured the hearts of world in 2012 and quickly became one of the biggest buzz artists in the industry. Lana’s commercial debut ‘Born To Die’ whisks you through a musical paradise of atmospheric beauty, orchestral wonder and warming nostalgia. Her voice captivates you and guides you through an album with which, quite frankly, I can find no faults. Songs of love and heartache suck you in and drag your emotions along with hers and, at times, you almost feel like you’ve been sent back in time as her Nancy Sinatra-esque tones time warp you into a 50s/60s daze. Combing this classic sound with an almost hip-hop influence at times, Lana has created a timeless album that no one should miss out on. Love.
3 | Fearless Vampire Killers – Militia Of The Lost
As UK’s equivalent of My Chemical Romance (back in their early days before all the ‘Black Parade’ rubbish) Fearless Vampire Killers have literally come out of nowhere and blew our faces off with one hell of a debut album.
‘Militia Of The Lost’ is a perfect example of a concept album done correctly as it guides you through an epic musical journey that blends tracks seamlessly and drags you deep into their mythical world and story of a ‘Palace In Flames’. With their catchy lyrics, roaring guitars, dual-vocal assault and the fact there is not one bad track on the entire album it oozes energy and passion from every pore and the kids love it!
With such a great debut if the guys can follow this up, and maybe hit the US market, I could see FVK becoming rocks next big thing. Get this album and listen to it from start to finish – you won’t regret it!
2 | Kreayshawn – Somethin ‘Bout Kreay
She’s cool, she’s got swag and most importantly she’s “got all the syrup!” With her unique style and flow Kreayshawn’s debut ‘Somethin ‘Bout Kreay’ shines out from the crowd like a person on fire! Kreay brings us a fresh, unheard sound to the hip-hop scene, and with its slightly poppy edge (without going too Nicki Minaj), with the right push we could really see Kreay take on the mainstream this year.
From the pure swag of hit ‘Gucci Gucci’ to the booty shaking ‘Twerkin’, this album is full of back to back bangers. Just from looking at Kreayshawn’s appearance you can see she likes to stand out from the crowd and tracks such as ‘Breakfast’ (feat. 2 Chainz) really highlight Kreay’s individuality and quirkiness. “Stacking dough” and being “hungry for this money”; all references in a song about her morning pancake routine. There’s also numerous references to “grapes” which, if your a grape fan, is always a welcome bonus. Gotta love them grapes. Tracks such as ‘BFF (Best Friend)‘ and ‘Go Hard’ show her more poppy and commercial appeal and with the wide mix of styles on this album it really does make her extremely marketable and make for one hell of an album.
‘Like It Or Love It’, Kreay has bought us a whole new bag of delicious swag to enjoy and more than deserves to be sitting high in my top 10. Meow!
1 | Andrew WK – I Get Wet (Re-Issue)
Andrew WK has become more than just a band. The WK figure has grown past being a simple musician and become a symbolic cult figure in the world of rock. No one gives more inspirational speeches, plays with more energy, hosts TV shows where kids can blow up stuff with rocket launchers and, most importantly, parties harder than Andrew. This year saw the re-release of the album that started it all ‘I Get Wet’.
Now you’re probably asking yourself “Should a re-release really count as the album of the year?” In this case, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” With Andrew back in the spotlight this album is as fresh now as it was when it was released. It’s the CD equivalent of living through a hurricane and coming out the other side thinking “I fucking love my life!” The message of this album is simple: have fun! There’s no deep meaningful shit to deal with here it’s about having a good time; and boy do we! Tracks such as ‘It’s Time To Party’ and ‘Ready To Die’ send our brains into a coma of party and title track ‘I Get Wet’ could not get any more epic if it tried as it’s massively layered, room filling, epic sounds penetrate your inner being and turn goosebumps into what might as well be blood clots from its utter incredibleness.
‘I Get Wet’ will always be one of the greatest albums ever released in my opinion so I feel it only right that I award it my album of 2012! Long live the party, never let down and, most importantly, party hard!