Mumford & SonsTHE TOP 10
By GERRY GALIPAULT ... It was going to be Adele's big night at the Grammys, and it was — she went home with six awards on Feb. 12, including Album of the Year (for "21") — but her triumph was overshadowed by tragedy from the night before. Whitney Houston was found dead in the bathtub in her Los Angeles hotel room, not far from Staples Center, where the Grammy ceremony was held. Cocaine was found in her system, but the cause of death was ruled from heart disease and drowning. She was just 48. Her shocking death was the year’s top headline in the music world. Houston was one of several big-name artists who died in 2012. The names cut across decades, generations and genres: Etta James, Don Cornelius, Davy Jones, Earl Scruggs, Dick Clark, Levon Helm, Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch, Donna Summer, Kitty Wells, Marvin Hamlisch, Andy Williams, Robin Gibb, Dave Brubeck, Jenni Rivera, Ravi Shankar. As in 2011, Adele sold a ton of "21" in 2012; at one point, she had three singles in the Top 10. K-pop star PSY became a surprise international sensation with "Gangnam Style," earning the "King of YouTube" crown with more than 1 billion views of his dance video. He has yet to release an album in the U.S. — can you say "one-hit wonder"? Katy Perry and Taylor Swift racked up more hits (and Madonna didn't); Rush and Heart finally got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the stars (old and new) came out for a Hurricane Sandy relief concert at Madison Square Garden. That's 2012 in a nutshell. Now, here are some albums and songs that will fill up my soundtrack for the year (it’s all subjective, mind you; you may have your own choices). In no particular order:
- “Babel,” Mumford & Sons
Album of the Year? Quite possibly. "Sigh No More" (2009) was a fabulous debut for the English folk-rock group; their harmonies soared even more on this follow-up. No sophomore jinx here.
- “channel ORANGE,” Frank Ocean
His debut full-length release is such a fresh mixture of R&B and funk, it snared six Grammy nominations. Best new artist of the year, hands down.
- “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,” Kendrick Lamar
On the album cover, his second effort is referred to as a "short film by Kendrick Lamar." It's a concept, following Lamar as he experiences his native Compton, Calif., in his youth. It's a powerful narrative.
- “... Little Broken Hearts,” Norah Jones
She's not content to be pigeonholed as a jazz-pop singer. Here, she stretches the boundaries with the help of producer Danger Mouse.
- “Bloom,” Beach House
More jangly guitars, glorious vocals and dreamy lyrics from Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. "Myth" is one of the year's best songs.
- “Boys & Girls,” Alabama Shakes
This soulful rock band from Athens, Ala., is up against Ocean, fun., Hunter Hayes and The Lumineers for the Grammys' Best New Artist. Don't be surprised if they win it; they're that good.
- “The Lion’s Roar,” First Aid Kit
In a perfect world, this Swedish sibling folk duo would have a huge hit with the sweet "Emmylou." (Alas, as we know painfully, it is not a perfect world.) They have beautiful, Dixie Chicks-type harmonies.
- “Visions,” Grimes
Montreal singer Claire Boucher has an irresistibly quirky voice and lyrics.
- “Some Nights,” fun.
"We Are Young" was everywhere, but explore their adventurous sophomore album for more fun.
- “Locked Down,” Dr. John
The Nite Tripper hooked up with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach for his best album since 1968's "Gris-Gris."
"Lonerism," Tame ImpalaTHE BEST OF THE REST
"Lonerism," Tame Impala; "100 Proof," Kellie Pickler; "3 Pears," Dwight Yoakam; "That's Why God Made the Radio," The Beach Boys; "Life Is Good," Nas; "Is Your Love Big Enough?," Lianne La Havas; "Born to Die," Lana Del Rey; "Leaving Eden," Carolina Chocolate Drops; "Port of Morrow," The Shins; "Blunderbuss," Jack White; "Sun Midnight Sun," Sara Watkins; "Analog Man," Joe Walsh; "Tempest," Bob Dylan; "Good Morning to the Night," Elton John vs. Pnau.
- FAVORITE SONGS
There are too many to mention here (more than 50!), so we made you a handy-dandy Spotify playlist that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere. It includes tracks from all the artists in the Top 10 album list.
Top 10 2012: Albums
ADD A COMMENT (Limit 5,000 characters)