I know you were waiting all year for this. Now, I can’t nominate either of the albums Former Fat Boys released this year, but you should consider adding them to the top spots on your list. You can listen to them on Spotify for free. Click THE LEGEND OF HARD COREY or WANNA BUY BEATS VOL. 2 and decide for yourself.
Setting aside my ego here are the best albums of 2012:
1) The Front Bottoms - Self Titled
This band reminds me of a band called Troubled Hubble that hailed from Chicago and disbanded some years ago. They were a great little rock band that sang songs about fun, regular adventures. They wrote great hooks and just seemed to be having a lot of fun. This band seems to me to be the natural heir to their crown and in a rare feat, I like almost every song on this album. Some of the lyrics in the song “The Beers” are my favorite in years:
“I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids, cuz you like a man with muscles. And I like you.”
“It’s the cops are coming in kind of sobering up.”
Standout track: The Beers, Rhode Island, Flashlight, Maps, Swimming Pool, Father
2) Wordburglar - 3RDBURGLAR
I really wanted to give this one the top spot. Sean Jordan aka Wordburglar is a comic obsessed rapper with an impeccable flow and an incredible flair for inventive rhymes. He’s probably the best writer of traditional indie hip-hop that is operating in “nerdcore”. I think he’s probably better than the scene deserves. I feel phenomenally lucky to have had him guest on the our last album. The only other “nerdcore” rapper I’d consider on his level flow-wise is YTCracker and I think this year Wordburglar’s output topped YT’s. Frankly, he’s got one of the best flows in hip-hop period and easily had the best hip-hop album this year.
Standout track: Croque Monsieur
3) The Classic Crime - Phoenix
I found this album on Spotify’s New Releases tab one week and thought it was the new Phoenix album. Whoops. I listened to the entire thing and recommended it to several people before I realized that it wasn’t what I thought it was. I guess it kind of reminds me a bit of more recent Jimmy Eats World. Kinda.
Standout track: Let Me Die
4) Eve 6 - Speak In Code
This is my favorite band of all time. They broke up after their label blew it releasing their 3rd album. That album was a better album, but to come back after almost a decade and record something this good is rare for any band. It picks up right where they left off.
Standout track: Victoria, Pick Up The Pieces, Curtain
5) All American Rejects - Kids In The Street
I like that these guys grew up a little bit and wrote some tracks that were still heavy on hooks, but not as obviously aimed at the Hot Topic-lite kids. Some cool music videos too.
Standout track: Someday’s Gone, Beekeeper’s Daughter
6) Mackelmore and Lewis - The Heist
Thrift Shop is undeniably incredible, but Macklemore’s smart flow and intelligent lyrics are such a stark contrast to the moronic hood grabage being put out by the likes of Chief Keef and 2 Chainz. This guy is poet and, I think, the best is yet to come. There were only about three songs I added to my iPod, but the whole album is a good listen.
Standout track: Thrift Shop, 10,000 Hours
7) Inspector Owl - Self Titled
Yes, IO frontman Corey Wills makes most of the beats for Former Fat Boys, but his main project is really great indie rock. Even if Corey weren’t one of my best friends and collaborators I think this record would still be on my list. Give Mousey a listen and make sure you make it to the explosive ending and tell me you aren’t sold. Do it.
Standout track: Mousey, We Are An Ocean
8) Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss
Yeah, I dunno. It’s catchy, it’s fun. It’s here based on the number of songs I starred as I went through it. I’m not very excited about it, but it’s got some joyful tunes on it. I think the real problem with it is that it feels like a bunch of producers made a record that was very disparate in styles. Ke$ha is Ke$sha. You know what you’re going to get. This feels like they haven’t decided what Carly is going to be.
Standout track: Tonight I’m Getting Over You
8) Stepdad - Wildlife Pop
It’s so-freaking-catchy-you’ll-just-die synth pop made by a fat beard man that takes being a fat beard man very seriously. One of the rare bands that’s actually amusing to follow on Facebook. This might deserve to be lower on the list or higher, but the problem is that every time I listen to it I get a musical tummy ache. It’s basically pure sugar. After awhile you crave some substance.
Standout track: My Leather, My Fur, My Nails
9) K’naan - Country, God Or The Girl
His last album was better, but this album was pretty damn fun. K’naan is another great rapper who actually has something to say. I listened to this again recently to wash the taste of the giant turd of a second album that Wiz Khalifah released this year out of my mouth. K’Naan accomplished some incredible feats here and managed to make Nas and Bono interesting again for a second. Also, made Nelly Furtado worth remembering.
Standout track: Gold In Timbuktu, The Sound of My Breaking Heart,
10) DMX - Undisputed
DMX was arrested, went to jail, and did so much crack in the last few years I can hardly believe this is possible, but he’s back bark and all. I went in with super low expectations, but was reasonably surprised. DMX always had a good nose for hooks and infused his deeper tracks with gospel in a non-tacky way. That’s all on display here.
Standout track: I Don’t Dance featuring Machine Gun Kelly
And finally, this is the Spotify Playlist with my favorite individual tracks of the year. I compiled it by listening to nearly every album featured on Spotify’s New Releases feature each week of the last year picking my favorite tracks.
So….what did I miss? What do you recommend? What were your favorites?