RB’s Top 5 Albums of 2012

Lisa Hannigan - Passenger

Released in late 2011, Lisa Hannigan’s second album sees her solo career’s style expand sonically and her songwriting improve immensely. While 2008’s Sea Sew is a good album with many good songs, Passenger is a great album and stands out as a whole piece.

(Favorite tracks: “Paper House” and “Little Bird”) 

Viva Brother - Famous First Words

Another 2011 album that I didn’t listen to in full until 2012, Viva Brother’s only album (they split this year) is a myriad of Britpop cliches, taking the best and sometimes worst of Blur, Oasis and Supergrass and cramming it all together. What began as a guilty pleasure turned into full blown enjoyment for this album. The key is to interpret the lyrics as you’d prefer, rather than take them for their inane face value, just like you’d do with an Oasis record.

(Favorite tracks: “Electric Daydream” and “Otherside”)

Blur - Modern Life is Rubbish

While I’d obviously heard Blur’s second album before, I’d never truly listened to it or fully grasped it until this year. Reading various Blur biographies gives a level of depth to these songs that you wouldn’t be able to appreciate upon first listen. This album became my biggest influence on our own album, Digital Tension. It’s definitely the best pre-self titled album in Blur’s catalogue.

(Favorite tracks: “Blue Jeans” and “Chemical World”)

Duran Duran - Rio

Another album I never fully delved into until this year. The genres of music each member brought to the table somehow melded perfectly into this incredible example of what an 80s band should be. Check out the documentary on the making of this record on Netflix to fully appreciate what Duran Duran did here.

(Favorite tracks: “Rio” and “Save A Prayer”)

Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE

The only album released in 2012 I received in time or was good enough as a whole to warrant inclusion on this list. The production and arrangements are never too cluttered, yet even the more sparse songs feel layered. This is what modern R&B/Hip Hop should sound like. It’s good to see Frank Ocean on something as pointless as the MTV VMAs because it sets an example to aspiring musicians that you can be a proper musician and artist and still achieve a level of success that most sell their souls for.

(Favorite tracks: “Super Rich Kids” and “Sweet Life”)