The year 2012 in music was a year where electronic dance music made a big impact across genres; infusing with pop, rock, and hip hop. The formula was milked to death, however, and before long it all just sounded like the same bland pop music to me. It was a tough year for finding distinctively cool music, but here are my picks for the top ten music albums of the year:
10. Garbage – Not Your Kind Of People: 2012 was the return of the band Garbage after six years of being musically M.I.A.. The band had not been relevant to me since the mid to late 90s with their later releases not really capturing my attention like the early stuff did upon arrival on the alternative music scene. The 2012 album Not Your Kind Of People reeled me in, however, with a nice feeling mix of old school Garbage and the more electronically refined Garbage of later years.
9. Foxy Shazam – The Church Of Rock and Roll: The 2012 album The Church Of Rock and Roll from the band Foxy Shazam feels like the return of Queen, but with the volume knob spun beyond the highest decibel level and with a lot more grit tossed in with the glitter. One could look at this band as a gimmick, or novelty band (file next to The Darkness), but upon listening through their hard charging over-the-top rock album, I found myself thinking: this is seriously cool, intelligent, and fun!
8. Hurt – The Crux: When I see the word “hurt” associated with music I immediately think of a NIN song. Hurt the band are a mixed bag of rock and roll sounds, inspiring me to think of different bands with each track, yet remaining unique to what Hurt seem to be all about. I had never heard of this band and I guess they can still claim Indie cred, but in 2012 their album The Crux was one of the most solid and interesting rock efforts I listened to.
7. Flyleaf – New Horizons: I enjoyed Flyleaf’s first music album, but after that lost interest in their sound. In 2012 I gave their album New Horizons a chance and I was glad that I did. Right out of the gates the songs come alive with blazing rock attitude. One can tell that the lead singer had some angst to exorcize while at the same time sticking to the Flyleaf way of delivering inspirational messages. I was surprised after listening to such a cool album to learn that the lead singer left the band. She went out on a high note.
6. Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts: Norah Jones used to be boring to me. In 2012, however, I heard the song Miriam from her album Little Broken Hearts and immediately wanted to hear the rest of the album. Little Broken Hearts has a dark edge to it with catchy sounds and vocal deliveries that made me into a Norah Jones fan; even if it only ends up being for one album.
5. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do: A lot of musicians are called “artists,” however, very few singers and musicians that released music in 2012 lived up to such a title. Fiona Apple is an artist. She came out singing and playing strong with songs that harkened back to the emotional strength of her first two albums. Her vocals go manic and hoarse at times, but it is consistently odd like that and thus creates a very interesting theme of sound overall.
4. Stone Sour – House of Gold and Bones Pt 1: House of Gold and Bones is a rock album that takes several listen through to truly appreciate. The song Influence of A Drowsy God was the track that I most identified with.
3. Marilyn Manson – Born Villain: Marilyn Manson improved his standings in musical relevance with his 2012 album Born Villain. His last few albums have not been as good as the ones released in my teen years. Born Villain edged out Stone Sour’s 2012 album due to the gothic flair and emotional content of the lyrics. Stone Sour go to dark places, but Marilyn Manson just has a more magical way of telling the stories.
2. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon: Halcyon is one of the only pop music albums of 2012 that I give a big thumbs up! English songstress Ellie Goulding has a powerful and interesting range of vocals. The lyrical content of the album cover a lot of depressing bad relationship ground, but each one stands alone in a unique way with either tricks in her delivery and pitch or the musical beats. There is a entertaining mix to be listened through, making Halcyon well worth the money to buy the entire album.
1. Deftones – Koi No Yokan: When I was a teen my favorite rock bands were Nirvana, NIN, and Marilyn Manson. I liked some Deftones songs, but I never considered them all that grand. As I have aged my appreciation for the Deftones music has grown immensely. They are one of those bands that I would say make music that all “sounds the same.” (The Foo Fighters are another band I would accuse of this, as well as The Offspring.) However, the Deftones remain interesting to me and never fail to pack a punch in the emotion department. The 2012 album Koi No Yokan is awesome from start to finish, even with the familiar vibes, the singer sells every note with impeccable theatrics and makes each song valuable in some way or another.