Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Top Albums of 2012.

I stopped actively seeking out music for the past couple of years. I'm not sure entirely why, and no matter how many things pop into my head trying to explain it, there's just no definitive answer.

Late in the year, however, things changed. In October, my friend Erica said I should try out rdio, a music subscription service. She works in music, so I trust her judgment. She gave me three months free on rdio and the first thing I did was add some albums I'd wanted to hear all year, but just didn't make the effort to buy.

I've always been a huge Fiona Apple fan, but for some reason, I kept forgetting to download her newest album. It was the first album I added to my collection. After listening repeatedly (obsessively, almost) for a week, I bought the album on Amazon so I could 'own' it. Kind of the opposite happened with fun.'s latest album Some Nights. After a few cringe-inducing listens, I deleted the album from my collection. It was intensely disappointing, as their debut album was #1 on my list of top albums in 2009.

I now pay for my subscription to rdio and plan to have a much more interesting year musically in 2013. Send me your recommendations, too. Oh, added bonus, I can post a playlist featuring some of my favorite songs of the year right here and you can listen if you want:


In no particular order, here are the six albums I really loved this year. (Maybe in 2013 I'll find a whole 10!)

Motion City Soundtrack, Go -- I spent a few days in a blizzard in Minneapolis watching those dudes make this album, and sometimes when you watch people put so much of their heart into something, you become attached, too. I think it's their best album to date, and I love their creative brains to death. Favorite Track: Son of a Gun

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 -- Does Fiona ever go wrong? I'm serious. This, I honestly think, may be her best album ever. I think it's already shoo'd Extraordinary Machine to second best. This is another bold statement, but it may be in my top ten albums of all time. What. No big deal. She just gets it. She always has. Favorite Track: Daredevil (I may or may not have had a long, involved dream about this song once? Story for another post?)

M. Ward, A Wasteland Companion -- I can't quit this guy, either. His voice and guitar sway me whenever I hear it. Favorite Track: I Get Ideas

Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina soundtrack -- I have to give it up to Mr. Marianelli. Part of the reason the film got such an emotional response from me was due to the music. Even now when I listen to "Dance With Me," and it crescendos violently, I am frightened and moved thinking of Anna getting carried away by Vronsky. Favorite Track: Dance With Me

Electric Guest, Mondo -- I like to dance. This makes me dance. Also, I saw them play live and while it all sounds electro-fun, there isn't some computer making the beats--their drummer is intense and enjoyable to watch on stage. Sound creating and stuff. (Man, I'm real eloquent this morning, huh Favorite Track: Waves

The Menzingers, On The Impossible Past -- It's kind of like early Brand New with the vocals of The Gaslight Anthem with a dash of Blink-182? I mean, I don't even know anything about this band but a few weeks ago I read it was pretty stellar so I rdio'd that ish and now I'm listening to it on the regular, as they say. Favorite Track: Gates

I'd also like to honorably mention Metric's Synthetica, because I do love the song "Breathing Underwater," but nothing else on the album really took hold for me. And as for the most disappointing album of 2012, that would go to fun., but in second place would be No Doubt's Push and Shove. I can't even talk about it.

What are some of your favorite albums of the year? I'm serious about recommendations. I will add them to my rdio and give them a listen. Who should I check out in 2013? HELP ME.

PS Here's some of my past top albums: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010


  1. I stopped seeking out new music too - I think I was sick of being disappointed. Also, by this point I know what I like and am pretty happy with the music I have - I guess that's part of growing up?

    Anyway! My list is super similar to yours. The Menzingers album was by far my most played and favorite. fun. bummed me out. So did No Doubt. Did you listen to Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem? Or The Avett Brothers new album? I think you might like those.

    1. Liz, I actually think your blog might have been the first time I heard of The Menzingers!!! IT WAS YOU! HA.

      I didn't listen to Handwritten, but I did listen to The Avett Brothers. I was kind of meh.

      Maybe we are growing up. But I don't want to feel stuck, like, here's all my music and that's all I will like forever. I want music to inspire me again! These albums did a pretty good job.

    2. PS THANK YOU for The Menzingers. Hahaha.

    3. YES! I want to keep being inspired as well, but it's harder to find inspiring music it seems.

      I really loved a few tracks on the Avett Brothers - but as a whole you're right, it wasn't outstanding. Handwritten is worth a listen, still not as good as '59 Sound but better than American Slang.

      You're welcome!!! So glad you liked them! I'm going to see them in February and am so excited to rock out.

    4. I will get on Handwritten via Rdio TODAY! Easy peasy.

      I do think the music industry is real strange right now, and it's become hard to find the stuff that speaks to us (again, maybe our age?). I do think, as a 29-year-old woman, the stuff that truly speaks is Fiona Apple & Tegan & Sara (though I didn't like their last album, but The Con! THE CON!). Gwen used to speak to me... Return of Saturn-style, and even Rock Steady. It's just weird to hear about her famous insecurities over a dubstep beat, ugh. MCS songs like Happy Anniversary & Everyone Must Die & Timelines speak to me.

      But... inspiration? Hm. I'm going to make an effort to try to seek some out this year!! Or will I turn up empty? Is there new music out there that can inspire me? Speak to me? Let's do this Liz!!

    5. Recently I've been noticing that some new music speaks to my former self - like the Menzingers, I love it, but it speaks to me as a late teen, early 20-something. I really got into Fiona this year because I was like YES! SHE GETS ME! Not many albums / artists make me feel that way anymore.

      I will be listneing in 2013! I am excited for Tegan & Sara's new album! YAY! Let's do this!

    6. The Menzingers are TOTALLY speaking to former self. It takes me back when I listen to it :)

  2. My reaction to the new fun. album was strange. At first I was like this isn't so bad, not that great but not bad. Then when I went back and listened to their first album I realized that it really can't compare. I think they tried to go too main stream as cliche as that sounds. I guess it worked since they've been everywhere.

    1. Yes... I'm so glad that they are making $$ and are super popular, since they have been working at it for so long, and they are very talented, but I just couldn't get into the album! They deserve all they are getting right now though!

  3. We just got Rdio and I have no idea how to use it. My husband is going to have to write up some sort of tutorial for me (I'm not dumb - I just live with an a/v NERD so our system is ridiculous.)

    Music I can't get enough of:
    Father John Misty
    The Killers (okay so stick with me here - nothing they've done since Hot Fuss really spoke to me and then their latest album came out and I was all "wellll it's okaaay I guess" and THEN I saw them live and ho-lee shit! What a great live show. Seeing them live has upped my appreciate of their music tenfold.)
    Andrew Belle
    Perfume Genius (but ... he makes me sad. So sad.)
    David Usher (because I love him forever and ever amen.)

    1. Hey lady! Okay, I am adding The Killers latest album... I, too, loved only Hot Fuss. Am adding all these to rdio!! Good luck with the technological set up :)

  4. Sent over here from Liz's blog and I would have thought you two were related after your picks haha.

    Have to say, I 100% agree on No Doubt. I was EXCITED for new material and then almost hurt when I first heard it. But I'm in the camp of thinking Some Nights was one of the best of the year. Though admittedly, I didn't get into them until late 2011 so I had to go back to listen to A&I and was blown away. But I can see how people who listened to it long ago would be turned off by the new album. I would say though, the artist commentary for Some Nights on Spotify is really interesting to listen to.

    And I was being nosy and read about being inspired by new music and I think streaming services such as Rdio and Spotify are a great help.

    Lastly, I would also recommend the newest from The Gaslight Anthem as well as the debut from Alabama Shakes

    1. Haha, thanks for coming by! And yes, Liz & I met a few years ago because we have VERY similar taste in music. Now we are friends in real life!! HAHA. We have been to many a She & Him show together.

      Just added Alabama Shakes to my rdio repetoire!

      Thanks for reading, dude!