Top Albums of 2012

Another year, another album ranking. Our fourth. The general consensus is that this has not been a banner year for music. One or two great albums at most; many good. But many highly anticipated albums (Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, The xx, Dr. Dog, Jens Lekman, et al) were received with, at best, mixed reception. Also, The Darkness, Ke$ha, Flo Rida, and Lana del Rey released albums.

Thank you to all the contributors, many of whom diligently listened to albums all year, only (like me) to throw together a haphazard list at the last minute. So, take this all with the grain of fun it’s intended with.

I’m beginning to suspect a pattern. As with last year’s consensus #1 pick, it was an overwhelming favorite. Is this a trend, or an indication that voters have a fondness for the undeniable similar sound of 2012 and 2011’s artist? Regardless, 2/3 of our voters picked it, although only two picked it #1 overall. I’m sure this had nothing to do with our editor’s consistent politicking for it.

As always, if you’re a nerd, you can check out our ranking methodology. And if your nerd handicap comes in a geographic flavor, you can talk shit on each other cities here. Individual voter pages are here, and the entire top to bottom list is here. You could also check out last year’s list

First, to the voter awards:

Most Influential / Biggest Sheep Award

This award is a photo finish between David Goldfarb and ChrisT, both with seven albums in the top 10. Although David’s overall top ten similarity was slightly higher, the award goes to Chris, who didn’t tip the scale by demanding that everyone listen to the albums he liked. They also both picked one album which no one else picked. Ex-roommates of a feather.

Iconclast

Brian G. Howard, who again diverges significantly from the groupthink.

Most Albums Listened To / Cushiest Desk Job

The humble David Goldfarb who listened to all 61.

The Hopefully Not Annual Award for Ranking Flo Rida, Ke$ha, Lana Del Rey, and THe Darkness

Matt K. Honorable mention, for ranking two of the four: Phil M

And now, Noise Narcs’ top 20 albums of 2012:

20Japandroids: Celebration Rock

Total Votes: 3; Highest Ranking: #2
19Cate Le Bon: CYRK

Total Votes: 2; Highest Ranking: #5
18Purity Ring: Shrines

Total Votes: 3; Highest Ranking: #4
17Hot Chip: In Our Heads

Total Votes: 3; Highest Ranking: #2
16Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan

Total Votes: 4; Highest Ranking: #2
15Ke$ha: Warrior

Total Votes: 3; Highest Ranking: #1
14Barroness: Yellow & Green

Total Votes: 2; Highest Ranking: #1
13Twin Shadow: Confess

Total Votes: 5; Highest Ranking: #3
12Frank Ocean: Channel Orange

Total Votes: 4; Highest Ranking: #3
11Dum Dum Girls: End of Daze EP

Total Votes: 4; Highest Ranking: #2
10Father John Misty: Fear Fun

Total Votes: 3; Highest Ranking: #4

Choice comment: J Tillman quits the Fleet Foxes, overdoses on early-’70s Beatles, and sardonically blisses out.David G

09Cat Power: Sun

Total Votes: 4; Highest Ranking: #3

Choice comment: Ignore the lyrics of “Human Being.” Ignore her crappiness to her fans. Pay attention to how one of indie’s best songwriters brings her full force to psych-pop.David G

08Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do

Total Votes: 3; Highest Ranking: #1

Choice comment: This world isn’t bullshit, not anymore.Chris T

07Beach House: Bloom

Total Votes: 6; Highest Ranking: #1

Choice comment: …as with a lot of dreampop, I found it just a tad limp. They finally found a pulse with this album.Miya T

06Grizzly Bear: Shields

Total Votes: 4; Highest Ranking: #3

Choice comment: Did any of you actually make it through this boring ass album awake? -Ed

05Chromatics: Kill For Love

Total Votes: 5; Highest Ranking: #1

Choice comment: Or, better yet, imagine the ranking it would hold had the band employed some sort of musical editor? ‘Kill for Love’ clocks in longer than ‘Blonde on Blonde,’ ‘Exile on Main St.’ and ‘London Calling.’ Ryan M

04Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D City

Total Votes: 4; Highest Ranking: #2

Choice comment: i TOLD y’all last yearLauren S

03Killer Mike: R.A.P. Music

Total Votes: 6; Highest Ranking: #4

Choice comment: 8-bit music, featured on several tracks […] serves as a great vehicle for transporting me back, emotionally, to the late 80s. But Killer Mike is not nostalgic and he isn’t playing video games.Chris T

02Tame Impala: Lonerism

Total Votes: 8; Highest Ranking: #1

Choice comment: Like the seemingly perpetual ‘kick me’ sign on my back, these songs are impossible to remove once they embed.Ryan M

01Sharon van Etten: Tramp

Total Votes: 10; Highest Ranking: #1

Choice comment: Perhaps this is Noise Narcs heresy, but this album took several listens as well as David’s intense lobbying to grow on me.Miya T

I seriously considered putting the demo version of this album as my #2.David Goldfarb