Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Albums of 2012

I guess now's about a good time as any to get this list out.

Here is my list of the Top 8 Albums of 2012:

8. Choice of Weapon - The Cult
I have been a Cult fan for a long time. In fact, their 1989 release Sonic Temple is one of my all-time favorite records. So when I heard that they were releasing a new album this year, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was glad that they were putting out a new album and couldn't wait to hear it. But on the other hand, I remembered that the last couple they put out were pretty lackluster. Choice of Weapon was released in May on Cooking Vinyl Records. It was co-produced by Chris Goss and the legendary producer Bob Rock, who, interesting enough, also produced Sonic Temple. Now, I'm not going to say that this album is another Sonic Temple by any stretch of the imagination. I wouldn't even go so far as to say it is as good as 1987s Electric but this album can certainly hold its own against many of the albums that were released this year. Highlights on this album include "Honey from a Knife," "Elemental Light," "Amnesia," "Lucifer," and "A Pale Horse."

7. King Animal - Soundgarden
This is another release I had mixed feelings about when I heard about it. Soundgarden was one of the best, if not the best, bands to come out of Seattle. Certainly a better band than Nirvana or Pearl Jam ever were. The idea of them getting back together after such a long hiatus was pretty exciting but due to the length of that hiatus, would they really have the same songwriting chops as they once did? While the album is not near as good as the 1994 album Superunknown, it definitely shows that the band can still write and play some great tunes. King Animal was released in November by 74 Entertainment/Republic Records. Highlights on it include "Been Away Too Long (a fitting title for the first single off the album)," "Taree," "Attrition," "Non-State Actor," "By Crooked Steps," "and "Bones of Birds."

6. Days Go By - The Offspring
The Offspring is one of those bands that I wouldn't exactly say I'm a fan of but every time they release an album, there are a couple of songs on it that I really like. For instance, 2008's Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace had its "You're Gonna Go Far Kid," and "Hammerhead." Despite that, the likelihood of an Offspring album making a Top Album of the Year list was pretty unlikely. That is until I actually heard their newest album, Days Go By, which was released in June by Columbia Records. Produced by uber-producer Bob Rock, this album ended up having so many good tunes on it that it didn't feel right to include it on this list. The highlights on this album are "The Future is Now," "Secrets from the Underground," "Turning Into You," "Cruising California, "Dirty Magic," and the cleverly-titled "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell."

5. Comet - The Bouncing Souls
Strangely enough, I did not really become much of a fan of The Bouncing Souls until this year. And perhaps even more strangely, it was not because of the June release of Comet. There were other albums by this band that I consider better. But once Comet finally grew on me, it grew on me in a big way. The Bouncing Souls are one of those bands that you can listen to when you are essentially in any type of mood. Their music is all over the place, in a good way, depending on what album you listen to. They are one of the few bands that can switch around in styles and do it successfully. My favorite songs on this album are "Fast Times," "Coin Toss Girl," "Comet," "DFA," "In Sleep," and "Ship In A Bottle."

4. All Or Nothing - Pennywise
I did a review of this album back in November on this blog and if you have read it then it should come to no surprise to you that it made this list. As stated in the review, it was released by Epitaph in May. I'm not going to say much about this album here, if you want to know what I thought about it in more detail, read the aforementioned review. Highlights on this album include "All or Nothing," "Revolution (which is probably the best track on the release)," "Let Us Hear Your Voice," and "X Generation."

3. Freak Out - Teenage Bottlerocket
A great album by a great band. Released in July by Fat Wreck Chords, this one picks up quite nicely where 2009s They Came From the Shadows left off. It has the same great formula of songwriting and was recorded in The Blasting Room just like Shadows. Highlights on this album are many but the best of the best would include "Headbanger," "Necronomicon," "Punk House of Horrors," and "Mutilate Me."

2. Exister - Hot Water Music
Trying to figure out which of the next 2 albums would make the top spot was a trying task. I went back and forth quite a bit between this one and the album that finally won out. But hey, there's nothing wrong with being #2 on a list like this. Exister is the first album released by the band since 2004s The New What Next. Having been so long since a band has gotten back together and recorded a new album, much like the #7 album on this list, you have to wonder if it was really going to turn out worth listening. Not only was it definitely worth listening it is, in my opinion, the best album they have ever released. This album was simply amazing and spent quite a few weeks stuck (not literally) in my vehicle's CD player. Highlights on this album include "Mainline," "Take No Prisoners," "Safety," "Drag My Body," "Pledge Wore Thin," and "Paid in Full."

And the #1 Album of 2012.........................

And the #1 Album for 2012 is.................................

1. Handwritten - The Gaslight Anthem

As I mentioned before, figuring out which album would take the top spot really was difficult but this album finally won out. I wrote a review of this album back in August for this blog so a lot of what needed to be said was said there. I had been anticipating the release of this album for a while, their previous album, American Slang having been one of my favorites. I was really looking forward to seeing how they would follow up such a great album. Well, follow up in a good way they certainly did. Handwritten was and is an amazing work of art that the only thing better could be anticipating how they will follow this one up. Highlights on this album were "45," "Handwritten," "Mulholland Drive," "Keepsake," and "Biloxi Parish."

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