Top Ten List Revisited: 2012

NOTE: Posted the 2011 revision earlier today. Now I’m posting the 2012 one so I can post the 2013 list before Christmas. Hurray!

I made my 2012 list less than a year ago. Published it on January 3, 2013. How much could possibly change in less than a year? This list probably stands exactly as it was at the time, right? WRONG AGAIN, JACKASS! …sorry. I’m sure you’re great.

There are only minor changes. So let’s get to them.

What I listed at the time:

  1. Metric – Synthetica
  2. Bob Mould – Silver Age
  3. Foxy Shazam – The Church of Rock and Roll
  4. Aimee Mann – Charmer
  5. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
  6. Rush – Clockwork Angels
  7. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Lost Songs
  8. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
  9. Jay Gonzalez – Mess of Happiness
  10. Billy Talent – Dead Silence

REVISED Top Ten Records of 2009:

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1. Metric – Synthetica

I don’t think I’ve listened to this as much this year as I’d imagined I would…but I still remember exactly how I felt the first time I heard it, and it still kind of blows me away how much I like it. So it stays at the top of the heap.

Favorite Tracks: “Artificial Nocturne,” “Breathing Underwater,” and “The Wanderlust”

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2. Bob Mould – Silver Age

Still love this one too. Although in hindsight, I could’ve used a slightly louder vocal track for most of the record…but that’s a minor criticism on a record that delivers so well from track to track.

Favorite Tracks: “Star Machine,” “The Descent,” and “Angels Rearranging”

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3. Stone Sour – House of Gold and Bones Part 1

Didn’t hear this one until this year…and holy SHIT was I missing out! Full-on metal with Corey Taylor more than occasionally slipping into full Slipknot-voice, but also containing sparse, introspective, beautifully arranged songs as well. Part one of a part-two concept piece (and if these lists prove nothing else, it’s that I love concept albums), the story is as good as the music. If you’re a metal fan, you kind of owe yourself this record.

Favorite Tracks: “Gone Sovereign,” “Absolute Zero,” and “Last of the Real”

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4. Foxy Shazam – The Church of Rock and Roll

I haven’t listened to this very much since devouring it last year…but I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t think about it. This is a brilliant, brilliant, ridiculous, brilliant, balls-out, brilliant record. Think about what might happen if Queen went absolutely fucking insane and recorded it anyway. That’s about right.

Favorite Tracks: “I Like It” and “Holy Touch”

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5. Aimee Mann – Charmer

Really gorgeous record from one of my favorite musicians. The songs stand up against anything else from her career and the arrangements are some of the best crafted Aimee’s ever done. Even if it’s not the first one I reach for on the shelf, it HAS remained on my iPhone all year, and I listen to it close to weekly. Not a lot of records I can say that about.

Favorite Tracks: “Labrador,” “Crazy Town,” and “Red Flag Diver”

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6. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

This record is such a gift. No one ever would have thought that Leonard Cohen would still be making new records at this stage in his life and career…or if they did, they probably didn’t imagine they’d be any damn good…but this is a beautiful, atmospheric, and elegant recording.

Favorite Tracks: “Going Home” “Show Me the Place,” and “Darkness”

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7. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

This record was some of the most fun I had last year and I still find myself coming back to it semi-regularly. Soulful and sublime, I’m glad the Shakes have been getting good attention from all the right people. Proud to have gotten on the bandwagon early.

Favorite Tracks: “Hold On,” “You Ain’t Alone,” and “Heartbreaker”

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8. Rush – Clockwork Angels

Still an excellent record (though it did move down my list). The concept is loose at best (hence Neil’s–yikes–novelization of the piece), but the music is strong and the songs are catchy while still maintaining that classic Rush complexity. This one’s a BIG win from a band no critic thought would still be around at this point.

Favorite Tracks: “Caravan,” “BU2B,” and “The Wreckers”

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9. Billy Talent – Dead Silence

Really, really fucking good. Punky, but not overly so. The shrieking vocals of their early releases have subsided, but in that transition the vocal melodies have become more refined. The musicianship seemed to take a MAJOR step forward on this one and each song seems to have its own, individual charm. No complaints about this one at all, and I’ve been popping it in my player pretty regularly.

Favorite Tracks: “Stand Up and Run,” “Don’t Count on the Wicked,” and “Show Me the Way”

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10. The Shins – Port of Morrow

Somehow missed this one at the time. That’s a shame because it definitely belongs on this list. I think I’ve used the word “infectious” in one or two of these posts (but, fuck you, I’m not re-reading these things), and that’s a perfect word for this record. If you weren’t a Shins fan before, this album will make you one. That’s how it happened to me.

Favorite Tracks: “Simple Song” and “For a Fool”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jay Gonzalez – Mess of Happiness (It’s still great, but I was too over-excited about it last year. It’s an honorable mention, not a top ten.)
  • …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Lost Songs (Again, great record that I was just a little too excited about at the time, and actually belongs here.)
  • Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (Miley Cyrus really fucked up that title for him, didn’t she?)
  • Rufus Wainwright – Out of the Game (Really good, but just not in the top 10.)
  • Mumford & Sons – Babel (Still really like it. But still really like the ones I listed better.)
  • OFF! – OFF! (Excellent, but so fast and in-your-face that it’s draining. Which maybe should’ve gotten it ON the list instead of keeping it OFF, now that I’m thinking of it…)
  • Corrosion of Conformity – Self-titled (GREAT sludgy release from a great metal band. Very old school and very, very good.)
  • Patterson Hood – Heat Lightening Rumbles in the Distance (Way better than the last DBT record.)
  • Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral (I still play this one regularly)
  • Heartless Bastards – Arrow (It’s good, but it’s sleepy. Could’ve used a few more rockers on there.)
  • Beach Boys – That’s Why God Made the Radio (Great, but Mike Love’s such a bastard I refuse to list it.)
  • Shooter Jennings – Family Man (A little too white-trash for my taste, but what works on it works REALLY well. Shooter’s a great voice, but I just don’t see eye-to-eye with some of what he said on this one.)
  • Circa Survive – Violent Waves (Really great release. Almost put it at #10, which would put it appropriately right next to Billy Talent…but just barely didn’t make the cut.)
  • Coheed & Cambria – The Afterman: Ascension (Excellent, but I like the follow-up from this year better so that kept this one in the honorable mentions.)
  • The Henry Clay People – Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives (Really great. They blaze through a bunch of songs as fast as they can and leave you wanting more.)

Get ready folks… 2013 was a BIG one.

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