Music of the Year 2012: Albums

Yesterday, I offered my picks for Songs of the Year 2012.

Today: Albums.

The Album is a different beast than the Song. I like a lot of songs by a lot of different artists (I’m sure you do, as well), but when I delve into the artist’s broader work, I leave wanting. Songs are about the moment; Albums, the horizon.

To be able to craft an album takes an artisan’s touch. It means being able to sustain a narrative through-line that is interesting. The music has to build upon itself. It has to methodically go someplace. A concept album, while certainly the pinnacle of the form, is not a requirement. Regardless, a mish-mash will not do.

The following offerings are not necessarily my favorite albums from the year. But they are, without a doubt, the best one’s I think anybody released.

1) The Lumineers, The Lumineers

I believe it was in June when I texted my PLGRM partner-in-crime, Rocky:

I’m calling it now: The Lumineers is the Album of the Year

He agreed, and neither of us were wrong. This album keeps revealing things to me like it’s scripture or something. It’s an amazing collection.

Sample: “Big Parade”

2) Ingrid Michaelson, Human Again

The ukelele wielding, pop genius returns again, fast becoming one of my favorite artists. Lady and I got to see her live this Fall, and the Queen of Quirk-Pop did not disappoint.

Sample: “Blood Brothers”

3) Derek Webb, Ctrl

I have come to hate Derek Webb almost as much as I hate Rob Bell. His ability to craft original music is astounding. I’m ashamed to say that, seeing him with Caedmon’s Call in college, I never saw this kind of thing coming.

But I am pleasantly surprised. Mostly pleasantly.

Sample: “A Real Ghost”

4) Sara Bareilles, Once Upon Another Time

She and Ben Folds crawled into his home studio and emerged with this independently released EP. It is unlike anything she’s done to date. It is utterly astounding.

Sample: “Bright Lights and Cityscapes”

5) fun., Some Nights

I didn’t respond to this album like I wanted to, but that does not diminish it’s accomplishment. To call this “pop music” would be to insult it. The compositions are complex and, at times, surprising. The lyrics are written with a deft touch, revealing themes worthy of deep consideration.

Also, I’m proud to say that I knew about and loved fun. before any of you. #smughipsterpride

Sample: “Some Nights”

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