2012 had a plethora of uncommonly good debut albums as well as exceptional sophomore or later albums from popular players in the alternative and pop sphere. Though it was hard to choose, the following are my top 15 albums of the year.
1. Walk the Moon, “WALK THE MOON”, released June15
These Kenyon college natives have reenergized alt/pop music. This band has an inherent talent for creating most danceable and catchiest songs in the past decade. Notable tracks: every single one.
2. Marina and the Diamonds, “Electra Heart,” released April 30
This Welsh singer has the most unique yet excellent pop style I have ever seen. “Primadonna” and “How to Be a Heartbreaker” are excellent examples of talented alt/pop music.
3. Imagine Dragons, N”ight Visions,” released Sept. 4
This album is shockingly good. For my full review, see the September 22 issue of the Lawrentian. A notable and often overlooked track is “Nothing Left to Say/ Rocks.”
4. Mika, “The Origin of Love,” released Oct. 16
Mika changes it up in his most recent album, producing a more laid back compilation of songs. “Elle Me Dit” or the English version “Emily” are appealing for fans of Mika’s original style, while “Lola” is an excellent example of his newer style.
5. Maroon 5, “Overexposed,” released July 17
This band delivers album after album. Although they’re a top 40 band, their songs have a tendency to be universally loved. “The Man Who Never Lied” is a hidden gem on this album.
6. Alt-J, “An Awesome Wave,” released Sept. 18
This debut album is an often unheard of gem. “Fitzpleasure” has an enviable opening and “Breezeblocks” is easily an instant favorite.
7. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “The Heist,” released Oct. 9
If you haven’t heard of Macklemore yet, you should check him out. “Thrift Shop” is perhaps the catchiest song of the year, but “Can’t Hold Us” should be topping the charts soon.
8. Tame Impala, “Lonerism,” released Oct. 9
This band is so often overlooked, but their music is made purely of solid and catchy melodies. “Elephant” has hints of The Beatles, as does “Mind Mischief.” However, both easily stand alone as excellent tracks.
9. Mumford & Sons, “Babel,” released Sept. 25
Although this band usually only gets radio attention for one track in each of their albums, Babel contains several “radio-worthy tunes.” “Broken Crown” possesses their signature sound but has a haunting and unique melody.
10. Miike Snow, “Happy to You,” released March 15
Miike Snow has always got it. He continues to produce top notch alternative/pop gold in this album. “Paddling Out” is beloved and catchy, but in my opinion “Devil’s Work” is the best track of the album.
11. Grizzly Bear, “Shields,” released Sept. 17
As I’ve already reviewed this album, I’ll be brief. Shields is an excellent and complex album. If you’re a devoted Grizzly Bear fan, I recommend “A Simple Answer.” If not, check out “Sleeping Ute.”
12. Two Door Cinema Club, “Beacon,” released Sept. 4
Although many overlook them as a “one-hipster-hit wonder,” this band has continued to produce solid and catchy tracks since their debut. “Sun” shows their ability to keep variety in their music, something The Killers would profit from learning.
13. The Shins, “Port of Morrow,” released March 20
While an old favorite among many, The Shins remain current in their newest album. Their music has matured as it was bound to, but in a way that exhibits their talents to their utmost. Their track “It’s Only Life” is spectacular, and a must listen.
14. Fun., “Some Nights,” released Feb. 21
Although the radio has overplayed a few of their songs to death, Fun. has had a great debut. They have a propensity for all appealing melodies and exude a sense of youthful joy. The obvious tracks aside, “All Alone” and “One Foot” are often overlooked despite their entertaining quality.
15. Beach House, “Bloom,” released May 15
Beach House has a haunting and breezy quality that I have yet to find in any other group. “Myth” is a personal favorite from the album, but “Other People” is a close second. If you haven’t heard of them, check out their song “Zebra” to begin.