Monday, October 29, 2012

Best of 2012 - Albums

My family and I always get more albums than anything else (this year about 55 total) so I like to have a bigger list in this section based on my lucky number, 17. CDs will always be important to me. I see them as stories, with the songs as chapters. You can't understand the story if you don't understand each song. This is why I avoid singles and iTunes in general, I don't want to be anything but fully engaged in what an artist has to offer with each release. Muse, the Silversun Pickups, and the Killers were a few of the more disappointing projects, but most albums were big winners. These ones told the best stories.

17. Remembering You - Poema
I didn't like Remembering You at first; it felt a little too Taylor Swifty and that's not a bad thing, but it's completely different from their first songs. In time, it grew on me and I realized that Poema knew what they were doing when putting together this, their first full-length release. This is excellent road trip music. It's mellow, catchy, and everything else I could have expected from this talented duo.

16. Strength to Survive - SOJA
As my first reggae purchase aside from Matisyahu, Strength To Survive brought me everything I imagined the genre would. Inspiration messages concerning social issues lie in every song and listening to SOJA will always make me feel great.

15. Kiss - Carly Rae Jepsen
Yeah, yeah... quit your eye-rolling. I've been a fan of Carly Rae Jepsen for a few years now and if there's one thing I want the world to know about her, it's that she took 3rd place in Canadian Idol (American Idol's partner). She wasn't handpicked by some greedy corporate big cheese; she's fought for and deserves the success she's found and I respect her for it. Kiss, her second album, is thoroughly infectious and I have no shame in admitting I love it.

14. Violent Waves - Circa Survive
This album bears a striking resemblance to my #1 from last year, in title, album artwork, and musical mood. It's a shame I had to miss their SLC visit this year, because Circa Survive's perception of music is refreshing and this beauty of CD is more a cohesive piece of art than most stuff out there.

13. Young and Foolish - Until June
Until June is one of my most-played bands of all-time, and Young and Foolish added more than enough catchy ballads to keep it that way. I've always thought Until June is the perfect name for the group because they have some of the best summer music I've ever known. Songs like "Summer Lover" help this album continue the trend.

12. Synthetica - Metric
My first Canadian buddies Metric returned with an exciting new sound this summer in the form of Synthetica. This music is perfect for blasting in the car thanks to its simple beats and catchy choruses. While many of my other favorite older bands came short, Metric came through with a major pleaser this year.

11. Clarity - Zedd
It seems appropriate that Germany finds its way into this list, and that's in the form of German mixmaster Zedd. Zedd treats electronic music much differently than other DJs I'm familiar with. I think most others tend to depend on heavy beats and masses of different sounds to build the power in their music, but Zedd treats it more delicately, frequently dipping into slower, more mellow bits. The result is an album that feels more like a journey than simply a compilation of good dancing songs.

10. What Are You So Scared Of? - Tonight Alive
As Australia's first entry in this list, What Are You So Scared Of? kinda sneaked it's way into this list. I didn't realize how much I loved it until comparing it with all of these other CDs. I like to call Tonight Alive a slightly better version of Paramore and, in my opinion, they come across as more honest in their music. You can certainly bang your head to these tunes, but there are many other emotions residing in them.

9. The Quiet Life - Anchor & Braille
You know Anberlin? Well Anchor and Braille is Anberlin's frontman's (Stephen Christian) softer side project. Focused more on beauty than liveliness, The Quiet Life feels a lot like its album cover looks. Simple, at a glance, but impressively detailed upon further examination, as well as clean and majestic. I can't wait till I have a winter where I can listen to this because that's where I think it belongs.

8. Pacifica - The Presets
Australian electronic duo The Presets is a new addition to my library this year, and Pacifica is one of the more addicting CDs of the year. I think I listened to it four times in a row one day. Bringing a variety of moods and styles together, Pacifica demonstrates a unique take on what artificial sounds are capable of.

7. Fallen Empires - Snow Patrol
With it's US release in January, Fallen Empires brought Snow Patrol back to the forefront in my mind after a few disappointing years from the old favorite. I feel like this album was intended for me. It has a song called New York and another called Berlin; I found this album one week after traveling to New York for the first time and two weeks after being called to the Germany, Berlin mission. The composition here makes this album a true marvel.

6 - My Head Is An Animal - Of Monsters And Men
Last year, I considered my top three albums my A-team. This year, it's all of the top six, which were all incredibly difficult to order. The first is from Icelandic (Iceland!!!) band Of Monsters And Men. Now if you know me well, you know I love anything Icelandic, especially their music. Led by a male/female vocal duo, debut release My Head Is An Animal makes you feel amazing through and through. This style of music is one that everyone can love.

5. The Slideshow Effect - Memoryhouse
I consider Memoryhouse my greatest find of the year and their first full CD The Slideshow Effect is astounding. The group pulls off a superb mellow vibe that's one of a kind. It'll make you sway, smile, and hold that special someone close.

4. Halcyon - Ellie Goulding
I caught Ellie Goulding's performance at the iTunes festival where she performed much of Halcyon before it was released and after the first song, I knew it would be amazing. Ellie Goulding stands far above other pop artists in my mind and treats her music more respectably than most of those on this side of the Atlantic. Halcyon delivers every pop vibe you could want.

3. Love To Be Lost - Kyte
When I decided to pick up all of Kyte's old music for my birthday this year, they skyrocketed into my group of favorite bands. Their new CD Love To Be Lost makes them a serious contender for the top of that group and it certainly helps that their name is one tiny mark away from my own. Kyte epitomizes the type of band I would want to create if I decided to do so. They're nothing like anyone else and hope they can build their fanbase with this album.

2. Soft Fall - Sun Airway
Sun Airway is my winter band and in these upcoming months, I'll be wishing they could be with me. Their alternative/electronic/orchestral hybrid of a style is hard to describe. Built on drums, a keyboard, and strings, Soft Fall feels a little bit like just that: a soft fall. If you need some outstanding music to keep you company when it's cold outside, please buy this album.

1. Departure Songs - Hammock

As my last effort to enjoy 2012, I carefully selected six albums to accompany me in my last weeks before departing. Five of those arrived on October 16th, and another, for seemingly no reason, showed up one day later on the 17th. It's strange how it worked out...the very last album I received came on my lucky number with a title like "Departure Songs" ends up as the best one I've found all year. Hammock, an instrumental rock group, uses a 2-disc, 19-song album with impressive composition with awesome titles like "(Tonight) We Burn Like Stars That Never Die" and "We Could Die Chasing This Feeling" to create something that's nothing short of a masterpiece.

I urge you to support CDs. Don't buy just 'that one on the radio' or 'the most popular one on iTunes'. I can assure you that if you like a bit of it, you'll like it all. Don't cut yourself short. One benefit of getting this list done in October is that Christmas is still waiting. Please go search for some fantastic CDs and stick them at the top of your wish list.

No comments:

Post a Comment