Top 5 on Friday: 2012

Top 5 albums, songs, artists of 2013. Tell us all your musical favorites of this past year!

 I’m just gonna go ahead and do lists for all three. Before I start, though, five of my favorites were already featured at Inyourspeakers.
Top 5 albums
1. Babel by Mumford and Sons Initially, I was disappointed in Babel, mostly because it was very similar to Mumford’s debut. This is a dicey issue because while I don’t want the band to stagnate, their first album was fucking amazing. But then as I listened to it more, I realized that I like pretty much the whole thing. I mean, it’s still excellent songwriting, full of soul but some of the best folk guitar I’ve heard in a long while.
2. The 2nd Law by Muse Muse has created another epic. They’re one of those bands that puts out songs I don’t like at all but makes up for it with these behemoths that blow my mind. “Madness” is a career high for them alone. It’s sexy.
3. Rot Gut, Domestic by Margot and the Nuclear So-And-Sos I don’t think this is gonna be one of those albums I throw on several years from now and hail as a classic, but it’s still a damn good piece of music full of emotion, and I love the raw, fuzzy guitars. It’s rock as rock was meant to be.
4. The Origin of Love by Mika Somehow, this isn’t quite as poppy as Mika’s previous releases–but it is more serious, more adult, and just more beautiful. “The Origin of Love” is one of the most gorgeous love songs I’ve ever heard. Mika kind of did what Mumford and Sons couldn’t, where he sounds like a new, awesome version of himself that hasn’t greatly departed from his roots. But he’s still plenty fun.
5. Theatre Is Evil by Amanda Palmer I’ve been kissing this album’s ass since it came out in September, everyone knows it, and I give zero fucks. It’s just fantastic. That’s it. Not a single bad song, the best in Palmer’s career to date, a great mix of classic Palmer and new ground but musical nostalgia and homages, everything. This is how you do music, dudes. On top of that, this and Rot Gut, Domestic both get bonus points for being there for me when most people weren’t. Oh, yeah, it was also Inyourspeakers’ #1 album of the year.
Top 5 Songs
1. “Stardust” by Mika I know I said “The Origin of Love” was among the best and it is, but let’s just talk about how good “Stardust” is. The dancey synths, the melodies, the reverb, the sweet little chorus, and Mika’s killer vocals. Love.
2. “Is Anybody Out There?” by K’Naan featuring Nelly Furtado Generally, I’m not into rap and hip-hop, but there are rare exceptions. K’Naan became one when he worked with Keane, and I filed him in my brain for future reference. Then he released Country, God or the Girl, which may be the only entire rap album I’ve ever liked–but I don’t just like it. I love it. This song is one of the may highlights. And if you’re not listening to K’Naan, you’re missing out.
3. “Automatic System Habit” by Garbage Garbage’s new album was another that kind of let me down, but holy amazeballs, this song! It’s catchy but still rock Garbage and angry with a killer hook. Alternative perfection. If only the entire album would’ve sounded this stellar.
4. “Melody Dean” by Amanda Palmer Picking a song from Theatre Is Evil was tough because it’s so solid. Most of the songs are contenders for this list, but “Melody Dean” wins because it’s one of the most fun ones–the riff is a reversed “My Sharona,” it’s full of synths, the hooks are fantastic, and it has some very memorable lyrics (“You know that it is you I love/And you I want to get me off/But you can only do that when you’re here/And right now you are not” resonates with a post-long-distance relationship). Plus horns and a great breakdown and bridge, and I loves me some great bridge breakdowns. Bonus points because I may or may not have overplayed the songs Palmer leaked ahead of time: “Do It with a Rock Star,” “The Killing Type,” “Trout Heart Replica,” and “Want It Back.”
5. “Cosmic Love” by Caitlin Michele This song sucked me into The Voice after I had to watch it at work. It’s just so epic! And I kind of love it. It’s the only singing competition I’ll watch.
Top 5 Artists
1. Tie between all my favorite Voice contestants–Caitlin Michele, Terry McDermott, Cody Belew, and Nicholas David. None won. All were robbed. Caitlin was gorgeous in all ways, Terry was a badass, I loved Cody’s bam-bam, and Nicholas was one soulful motherfucker.
2. Mika Other artists may have had bigger years–pretty sure all the aforementioned Voice contestants lost their minds–but releasing your best album to date is a pretty huge deal.
3. Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons Okay, they’re not new and haven’t done anything new, but I’ve been kissing their ass just about as long as I’ve been kissing Amanda Palmer’s ass. Jersey Boys rolled through Pittsburgh in September and blew my mind. And come on–having a hit musical on tour that’s basically the story of your group is pretty impressive.
4. Muse They just keep getting better and better.
5. Amanda Palmer I mean, come on! Bitch raised $1 million from around 20,000 people on Kickstarter to fund her new album, which happens to be her best album. She released multiple amazing videos. She remains cool, accessible, and approachable–she’s retweeted me at least five times now, including everything from praise and excitement to general discussion to MY FUCKING REVIEW OF “DO IT WITH A ROCK STAR.” I almost vomited.

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