Ashley’s Top 50 Albums of 2012: 30-21

21 Dec

So, today I have to make an apology.  I screwed up my list.  In order to fix it, I’m going to have the missing album tied at #25, so, really, this is now my top 51 albums of the year.

But who’s counting?

Read 50-41 Here

Read 40-31 Here


This bunch of albums is an interesting lot.  A few pics you’ll see on most lists and then a lot of left-fielders.

Let the mysteries now be unveiled!

30) The Darkness – Hot Cakes

The-Darkness-HotCakes-200x200Wait…what? Are you serious?

I thought that I was joking too, but I re-listened to it today to be sure and it’s true.  This is probably the funnest album I have heard all year.

The Darkness is one of the funnest bands I’ve ever heard, so it makes sense.

I’m so glad they’re back.  Glam Rock needs representation in the world, and really, they ham it up to such a degree it’s almost otherworldly.

Maybe that’s why so many of their videos take place in space!

Anyways, “Street Spirit”, we have to address it.  Yes, the cover is old.  Do I think it’s a bad cover? Not at all, and I may be the only person in the world besides The Darkness themselves that feels that way, but you’ve got to enjoy the little things in life, and to me, A Darkness version of one of the more gorgeous songs I’ve ever heard is a wonderful marriage:

Best Track:

29) Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes

maturethemesI am wildly protective of this album.  A lot of people don’t care much for it, and I guess I can see why, but again, it’s an album that is so wildly fun and strange that I can’t help but enjoy almost every moment of it.  There are a few songs on it that I want to die in a fire (“Schnitzel Boogie” and “Kinski Assassin” I’m looking at you), but most of the time, the songs are just too much insane.  Yes, too much insane.

Some dreamy 50’s/60’s boy-band stuff going on in songs like “Only in My Dreams” make this a go-to album for the nostalgia junky.  Which, as I mentioned yesterday, I am. Plus, the “Only In My Dreams” video is one of the funnier I have seen this year.

Best Track (Unfortunately, I can only find a live version):

28) Nas – Life is Good

nas-200-62212This is hands down the best hip-hop album I’ve heard this year.

Which is crazy, because I’m not really a huge Nas fan, plus the world has told me that he is no longer relevant.  The world must be right, right?

Well, to be fair, the music world was pretty gung-ho about this album when it first came out, and yet as of late, I haven’t heard word one about it.  Added to that, I’ve only seen it on, like, one best of the year list, not counting mine.  Depressing.

This album lives in the rhymes.  Nas is getting old, people, and he has new shit to worry about that he didn’t consider before.  Like, his kids and stuff.  He really does lay out some of the best rap lyrics I’ve heard on this one.  I don’t know, it all just comes off as more genuine to me than a lot of the topics you tend to hear come up on hip hop albums and I love it for that.

Best Track:

27 & 26) Chad Valley – Young Hunger & Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

Please forgive me for being lazy here, but I just don’t feel like re-writing my feelings on these two albums when I laid it out in my favorite new artists of the year post.

I’ll be lazy on my own blog if I damn well please.

25) School of Seven Bells – Ghostory

school-of-seven-bells-ghostoryI love this album name.

I love it so much that I waited almost the entire year to hear the album because, usually, there is a direct correlation between how awesome something’s name is and how horrible it turns out to be, see: Any band with a reference for a name.

But, I finally got around to this one, and of course, it made it all the way to #25.  Not bad at all.

It’s that “generic” dreamy dream pop that you’re going to find everywhere these days, but something about this album sounds so much bigger and better than that.  I’m sure after about 5 more listens, I could put into words better, but for now, it has been a constant spinner for me at work, and it makes the day go so much smoother.

Best Track:

25) Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream

kaleidoscope_dreamAnd, here you have it, the album I accidentally left off of my list.

I could have sworn it was there.  Like, I looked at the list and said, oh there you are Miguel, you smooth, soulful R&B god, you.  And yet, yesterday, as my husband asked me where Miguel was going to end up on my list and I looked down the contents, he was no where to be found.


So, I thought, well, maybe it’s OK, I’d only heard the album once, I bet I didn’t like it that much.  So I listened to it again.  No dice.  It really is the best R&B album I’ve heard this year.  Hell, the best R&B album I’ve heard in a while.

So, then I thought, well, maybe if I re-listen to The Darkness, I’ll see it was silly to have it ranked this high.  No dice.  I love that shit.

So, we turn to the almighty tie and deal with the consequences.  Now I get to share with you all 51 albums I love and we move on.

Miguel is smooth, he is soulful, I repeat.  Sure, he seems to like singing like Chris Berman on occasion (“Adorn”), but mostly it’s honey to the ears.  And honestly, it doesn’t hurt that my favorite track features some of the cheesiest 80s synths I’ve heard since Chad Valley’s album…or…Ice Choir.  Ok, it has been a year of cheesy 80s synths, glory hallelujah!


23) Fang Island – Major

fang-island-major“The sound of everyone high-fiving each other” was the descriptor for Fang Island’s self-titled debut (not counting their instrumental debut album from four years prior).

Did that insane high on life feel continue into Major?

Oh definitely.

It’s not as good as Fang Island, flat-out, but that’s one of my favorite albums of the last five years, so it’s not a fair comparison.  Still, worthy of the top 25, and made all the better in a live setting.

Fang Island was one of the loudest, most abrasive shows I have ever seen, and it was at probably the worst possible place I could have seen them, a street festival, and it was still one of the best things I’ve seen all year (a year where I went to four festivals, so I saw a lot of bands).

Enjoy the sound of 3 guitars, bass and drums!

23) Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

11266Take what I said about Here We Go Magic yesterday and then quadruple it and that begins to express how I feel about Cloud Nothings.

When I heard their self-titled album, I knew I was going to like this band.  I didn’t necessarily like the album, but I loved the band and I couldn’t wait for their next album.

The fact that the rest of the world opened their eyes and rushed to these guys as well was a huge bonus, obviously.

This was my first album of 2012, and, of course, it stayed with me the rest of the year, slowly, slowly slipping to #23, but not forgotten, nor unloved.

Seeing them live this year, aside from Prince, may have been my favorite concert moment.  They only played for 20 minute because the rain became too much, but for those 20 minutes, I was in “Post-Hardcore” (yeah right) heaven.  I almost even joined the mosh pit.  Almost.

I’m so sad that I’m not on the Coachella cruise partying with them right now, like I was supposed to be :(.

Best Track (Posting the “Censored” version, because I have no idea what is in this video and don’t want anyone getting in trouble):

22) Chromatics – Kill For Love

CHROMATICS-KILL-FOR-LOVE-575x575-200x200There’s been a lot of dream pop this year, as I have already mentioned.  Dream pop, you know, that 80s music that sounds a lot like Kate Bush and Cocteau Twins? Except with a few more effects?


It’s also been a great year for dream pop, thanks to that proliferation, so who am I to complain?  It’s probably my favorite genre since New Wave, so I definitely won’t say no to more.

The only thing I can complain about with Kill For Love is that it’s toooooo long.  I mean, really, who has time for a 78 minute album, when it comes to repeated listening?  But it’s good music, so if you make the time for it, you will be rewarded.

Best Track (So hard to pick when there are so many):

21) Grimes – Visions

Grimes_CoverThis is one of those strange albums where, I loved it at the beginning of the year (Like Magnetic Fields), so much so that it rested at #1 for a lonnnnnng time (like Magnetic Fields) and then I had a listen to it that soured me on it so much (Magnetic Fields) that it plummeted down the list. (Magnetic Fields)

What I’m saying is, a lot like Magnetic Fields, sometimes you hear an album and you love it so much that you raise your expectations for it so high that it can never be as good on repeated listens, and that’s what I did to this album.

I have a feeling I will come back around to it soon.  I was just skipping through a few tracks in preparation for writing this list, and I don’t know what my problem has been lately.  I mean, there was some down-right hateful feelings from me in regards to this list for awhile, but I think they’re gone.


Let’s remember the good times with the album’s hands-down best song.  My love for you will never wane:

I promise that, if I survivor tomorrow night, I will make up for the more pathetic portions of today’s entry when we get to 20-11 (ooooh, do I love those albums).

We’ll pick up the best of the year Saturday.  I have a concert review to write tomorrow!

2 Responses to “Ashley’s Top 50 Albums of 2012: 30-21”


  1. Ashley’s Top Albums of 2012: 20-11 « An Ocean of Noise - 23/12/2012

    […] 30-21 […]

  2. Ashley’s Top Albums of 2012: 10-1 « An Ocean of Noise - 23/12/2012

    […] 30-21 […]

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