Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you're all getting to take at least a little time off in the coming days, and that you're able to spend that time enjoyably with people you love. For the third year in a row, I'm off to an undisclosed location with J and a few of our good friends/siblings/siblings-in-law where we will do little else besides eat, drink, eat, and re-visit the site where J proposed 1 year ago. I can't wait.
This is all, of course, provided the world does not explode in a fiery mess once the clock strikes midnight in Middle America. So just in case, I'm giving you my favorite music from 2012, with Spotify links to my favorite song from each album. If you're not on Spotify, why aren't you? It is pretty much the best, especially if, like me, you're so over owning things.
1. Obvious, perhaps, but Mumford & Sons' new album Babel is really good, and "I Will Wait" epitomizes everything everyone loves about M&S.
2. Beach House has been around for a while, but Bloom is by far their best album, and "Myth" is such a gorgeous, driving, interesting song--one of my absolute favorites of the year.
3. Tanlines' Mixed Emotions is feel-good electro-pop at its best. Dare you to listen to "All of Me" without bopping along.
4. I join the rest of the world in declaring Cat Power's latest, Sun, a truly excellent album. Listen to the whole thing, but here's the title track.
5. One of my favorite new discoveries this year has been Chairlift. Something is filled with unabashedly 80s synth pop, with smooth vocals and catchy melodies, exemplified in "Take it Out on Me."
6. More moody, female-fronted goodness can be found in the Chromatics' Kill for Love. The title track sounds straight out of a David Lynch movie, and somehow manages to sound both low-fi and polished at the same time.
7. Technically, the tracks on Donnie & Joe Emerson's Dreamin' Wild were recorded in 1979, when the brothers were just 17 and 19, playing around in their home studio. But their album didn't get formally released until this year, and the world has been pooping itself over it. "Baby" is total backseat make-out music.
8. I would never say that I'm a country fan, but I guess that's what First Aid Kit is (sort of?), and I am head over heels for the haunting harmonies on The Lion's Roar--especially the title track.
9. After ghostwriting for some of R&B's biggest names, Frank Ocean's first solo album, channel ORANGE , is pretty much objectively superb. I love the peppy "Lost."
10. I have no idea what Grimes is saying in most of the quirky, synthy, super catchy tracks on Vision, but I know I like it. "Genesis" is a perfect example.
11. With Yet Again, Grizzly Bear yet again puts out a great album of smart rock music. "Shields" is one of my favorites.
12. If you ever wished that Portishead and Air could combine into one beautiful, haunting, low-fi/electro hybrid, I encourage you to check out Iamamiwhoami's first album Kin, particularly the first track, Sever.
13. Yeah, it's the HBOGo ad song, but I'll be damned if Electric Guest's "The Head I Hold" isn't one of the most danceable things I've heard this year. The rest of Mondo doesn't sound much like it, but is worth a listen anyway.
14. Like her big sister Béyonce, Solange has dropped the "Knowles" from her stage name, and she's also dropped some damn fine pop music on her EP True. The whole thing (all precious 28 minutes of it) is amazing, but I especially love "Losing You."
15. Shintaro Sakamoto's How to Live With a Phantom is, I don't know--Japanese Yacht Rock? It's totally groovy, and I don't mean that ironically. Just listen to "You Just Decided" and you'll see what I mean.
16. Sleigh Bells have always been so impressive to me because they manage to be the kind of music that you play really loud, but are at the same time so melodic and controlled. No idea how they do it, but their new album Reign of Terror is exquisite, and "Comeback Kid" illustrates perfectly what I'm talking about.
I think I'll stop there, although it's worth noting that Twin Shadow, Wild Nothing, and Yeasayer also all had new albums out this year that are seriously great.