As we near the end of 2012, I’ve been looking back through my iTunes library and thinking about the tracks I’ve most enjoyed listening to. It’s been a terrific year for music and I’ve been spoilt for choice in choosing my five favourite albums.
In the end I went with a mixture of albums that surprised me, a couple that indulged my guilty pleasures and one that I’ve just played pretty much non-stop. I’ll leave you to guess which ones are which!
Self-styled “gangster Nancy Sinatra” Lana Del Ray’s album of musings on wealth, drugs and celebrity. Her pouty, deadpan ‘Hollywood sadcore’ ballads are refreshing, haunting and hypnotic. A reissue of the album in November 2012 added a selection of new songs, leading with ‘Ride’, which offered an even darker flavour of what’s to come.
Alt-J’s Mercury prize-winning album is nothing short of astonishing. I remember hearing ‘Something Good’ on the radio and stopped me in my tracks – like nothing I’ve ever heard before. ‘Matilda’, the second single, is a beautiful fragile track which references the 1994 film ‘Leon’.
When Adam tweeted back in April that he had created ‘ElectroFunkEmoStepPop’ whilst recording his second album, we were eventually treated a sophomore record chock-full of hits, playing with the themes of light and dark, accompanied by the best vocalist on the planet. Adam executive produced the entire album, resulting in a sonic consistency which was lacking from his debut ‘For Your Entertainment’. Get your dancing shoes ready for ‘Cuckoo’, and have the tissues standing by for ‘Underneath’.
Take a splash of Stevie Wonder, mix in a little R Kelly, add a dash of Kanye, and you have Frank Ocean. A beautifully chilled debut album, Channel ORANGE has challenged hip-hop/RNB stereotypes, and rightly topped many ‘best of 2012’ lists worldwide. ‘Bad Religion’ deserves your attention.
As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Marcus Mumford and co returned in September 2012 with their follow-up to the phenomenally successful ‘Sigh No More’. Cue more folksy, earnest, festival-friendly singalongs…and I loved every minute of it. ‘Lover of the Light’ and ‘Holland Road’ will have you donning your tweeds and stamping along.
[UPDATE] The five albums that I chose are listed in no particular order – no 1 doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoyed it most of all! Just incase you’re wondering….!