1. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour
I only discovered Enter Shikari last year and I was totally blown away. Their music is very innovative, genre-breaking and energetic with extremely social critical lyrics. In January they released their latest album “A Flash Flood of Color” and it’s just sooo good. I love every single song and I’ve been listening to this album for 11 months now without getting tired of it. There are tons of different styles in their songs – hell, even in one song they manage to mix different tempos and styles! Enter Shikari just sounds so fresh and exciting. If you like noisy rock music + electro/dubstep + badass lyrics, check them out!
Top 3 songs: Arguing with Thermometers, Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here, Pack of Thieves
1,5. Linkin Park – LIVING THINGS
Since Linkin Park is my most favorite band in the world for all times, I would have never given them the #2 spot! When you own a blog, you can trick around like that! All joking aside, there was one point that made this album better than the #2: the remix package.
First things first though. The album is one of the best Linkin Park albums. While it revisits the rap-rock beginnings of the band, Linkin Park managed to incorporate their evolved style, a fusion probably best showcased in the opener “LOST IN THE ECHO”. There are some tracks that are more experimental (VICTIMIZED, UNTIL IT BREAKS) and others that are typical Linkin Park hymns – catchy and fun rock songs (IN MY REMAINS, I’LL BE GONE, BURN IT DOWN).
The aforementioned remix package keeps the album exciting even after months. Everyone who preordered LIVING THINGS got an exclusive remix subscription for 8 official remixes by artists like Paul van Dyk, Money Mark, Datsik, etc. of LIVING THINGS songs. Great idea!
Top 3 songs: LIES GREED MISERY, CASTLE OF GLASS, LOST IN THE ECHO
2. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon
Ellie Goulding killed it with this album! Every song has single potential, there’s absolutely no filler track on it! Her unique Enya-like voice sounds flawless no matter if she’s singing uptempo dubstep tracks or beautiful ballads. I also didn’t get tired of the songs at all. “Halcyon” is one of those timeless albums that you will listen to in years, still.
Top 3 songs: Figure 8, Explosions, Halcyon (and pretty much every other track)
3. Sizarr – Psycho Boy Happy
When I heard Sizarr’s debut single “Purple Fried” for the first time, I thought they were another super cool indie band. Later on, it turned out they are three young kids from the little German town Landau – something I would never have guessed! Bands with a unique sound like Sizarr’s are usually from the UK or the US, so to say that I was surprised is an understatement.
Their debut album “Psycho Boy Happy” had the German media almost tripping over their feet and they were even featured in The Guardian. Their sound is very progressive, with Drum ‘n’ Bass elements next to strings, and a lead singer’s androgynous yet powerful voice.
My dear readers from all over the world, even if we are talking about a young group from Germany here, please check them out! They are better than some bands in the Billboard Hot 100!
Top 3 songs: Boarding Time, Purple Fried, Run Dry
4. Lana del Rey – Born to Die (Paradise Edition)
Lana del Rey is such an ambiguous person – on one hand she’s this amazing singer releasing one great track after the other, on the other hand she seems to be so fake and her live vocal performances don’t come close to what we can hear on her record. Since we are talking about the best albums of the year, Born to Die just has to be in the list – especially since Lana flashed me two times this year. Born to Die was released in January and I got addicted to it pretty easily. The songs are a great mixture of Hip Hop and vintage soul, but the lyrics are a bit strange sometimes. In some songs, she just kills it lyrically, but then there are lines that sound as if she just wanted to string cool sounding words together, without meaning. So Born to Die was a cool album with some negative aspects – still, definitely one of the best debut records I’ve heard!
In November, Born to Die was re-released with the EP “Paradise”. Paradise took Lana’s style to the next level with incredibly beautiful ballads and some kick ass songs like the lyrical challenging “Cola” (first called “Pussy”).
Top 3 songs: Off to the Races, Blue Jeans, Dark Paradise (Born to Die) ; Ride, Body Electric, Cola (Paradise)
5. Kanye West Presents Good Music Cruel Summer
I honestly don’t know what to write about it. This is just another great Kanye album with tons of other artists. Great songs!
Top 3 songs: Mercy, Clique, Creepers
6. Meg Myers – Daughter in the Choir EP
Meg Myers is such an awesome singer and if you don’t know her, go to meginthedark.com and download the “Daughter in the Choir EP” for free! Meg once laughed about a magazine calling her sound like a mixture of Sinead o’ Connor and Linkin Park – to be honest, I can’t think of a better description.
Top 3 songs: After You, Curbstomp, Monster
7. Azealia Banks – 1991 EP
Azealia Banks just appeared all of a sudden and took over the world – that’s how I experienced her career. Her sound mixture of Rap and EDM hits a nerve. She spits curse word after curse word with so much charm and style, which is so unlike other female rappers. I can’t wait for her debut album!
Top 3 songs: Liquorice, 212, Van Vogue
8. Santigold – Master of my Make-Believe
With Disparate Youth, Santi released one of the top songs in 2012! That track is so incredibly good that the rest of the album almost sounds boring in comparison. All in all a great record that just didn’t hold my interest as a full record for a long time. I just concentrated on single tracks after a while – and there are some gems on this record!
Top 3 songs: Disparate Youth, The Riot’s Gone, GO!
9. Styles of Beyond – Reseda Beach
After years and years of waiting, Styles of Beyond finally released Reseda Beach this year and damn, that album was worth the wait! SOB are probably one of the funniest Hip Hop crews and you can hear that on Reseda Beach (exec. produced by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda) – sick beats meet kick ass rhymes that are super hilarious. This record is so entertaining and you still want more after 36 (!) tracks!
10. The XX – Co-Exist
Co-Exist is just a beautiful record and The XX is one of the most valuable bands I’ve discovered this year (yes, I was late). They manage to make great music without much fuss, which is very refreshing.
Top 3 songs: Angels, Chained, Reunion