If I’ve learned anything from surfing the Interweb, it’s that people love lists. Top ten lists, grocery lists, “best of” lists; You make a list, people are going to read it, out of curiosity if nothing else. Perhaps that’s why Stereogum decided to put out a top 25 of 2012 list… in May.
Maybe it’s just me, but May seems a little early to be deciding the year’s top albums. (Granted, it’s a ranking of what’s been released so far, but still, really?) Deciding what albums are great, and which are just okay, takes time. You have to listen to an album over and over before you get a real feel for it. Some albums just keep getting better the more you listen to them. Other albums sound great at first, then fall flat after the newness wears off. Ranking the year’s albums this early feels similar to when sportscasters make playoff predictions halfway through the season. They’re inconsequential, under-informed, and purely for the fun of speculation.
But of course I read it. As you may already have guessed, I found the list to be…lacking. I usually find Stereogum to be a good source of music, so I was a little suprised by how off this list was. Where is School Of Seven Bells’ great album Ghostory? Beach House makes the list, but Best Coast doesn’t? (Mind you, both those albums were practically newborns when this review came out, so it’s a surprise that one made the list, and the other didn’t.) No Ty Segall, no Guided By Voices, no Father John Misty? Rick Ross’s album is #8, but Odd Future, A$AP Rocky and Logic don’t make it? (They don’t make it on to MY list either, but neither does Rick Ross.)
Obviously, a list as flawed as this deserves a response. Being a lover of lists myself, I decided to give our wonderful BOMBER readers my own list of the best albums of 2012 (so far). You’ll find my list differs wildly from Stereogum’s, though we both DO agree on a few things. This list isn’t meant to diss your favorite band, or to claim that my taste is awesome. It’s just meant to give a different perspective on the year’s most quality albums thus far. Feel free to let me know in the comments which list you felt was more accurate, or give me your own top ten in response. I promise I won’t bite.
Top 25 Albums of 2012 So Far:
25 Civil Twilight – Holy Weather
24 Guided By Voices – Let’s Go Eat The Factory
23 Death Grips – The Money Store
22 Torche – Harmonicraft
21 M Ward – A Wasteland Companion
20 Chairlift – Something
19 Silversun Pickups – Neck Of The Woods
18 The Shins – Port Of Morrow
17 Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times And The Tides
16 Jack White – Blunderbus
15 Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
14 El-P – Cancer For Cure
13 Screaming Females – Ugly
12 Best Coast – The Only Place / Beach House – Bloom
11 Grass Widow – Internal Logic
Strong album featuring great beats and above average lyrics that talk about more than killing and money.
Bob Dylan singing Hunter S. Thompson stories through a Fleet Foxes blender.
Punk as Fuck Punk as third base.
Warm and sweet like momma’s apple pie. May be knocked down a notch when Ty Segall’s Slaughterhouse arrives.
Rarely is an album so accurately named.
5 Brian Jonestown Massacre – Aufheben
Anton’s sober, Hollywood is back, and Aufheben is the best BJM album in years. ‘Nuff said.
4 The Men – Open Your Heart
Harder than concrete, solid as a rock, and gets better the more you hear it.
Is it rated higher than it should be? Perhaps. Is it a great album you can rock front to back, constantly revealing new layers? Indeed. Is it one of the best albums of the year so far? Fah sho.
2 Deep Sea Diver – History Speaks
Seriously, how many times do I have to tell you how great this album is before you go out and buy/download it already? Get on the bandwagon now, kids, while there’s still room.
Stereogum and I agree about one thing, at least. This is the best album of 2012 so far. For now. Can’t see it dropping down further than #3, if at all. If you still haven’t heard it, WTF?
(Honorable mentions to Air, Civil Twilight, A$AP Rocky, Of Montreal, Heems and Kool AD, Odd Future and Lower Dens. Maybe you’ll grow on me between now and the end of the year.)