MetalGF’s Top Eight Albums of 2012
Not only do I not listen to metal, save for what comes as a side effect of living with Vince, but I don’t even listen to new music. My favorite rotation is one of Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Patti Smith and Tom Waits. I was hard pressed to come up with fifteen albums (that is so many!) so I did a half portion and thought of eight. I kept thinking albums were from this year only to find that they came out in 2009 or 2010 or 1979. But I persevered because I wanted to do this on the off chance that I introduce one of you to one new song or artist that you might not have otherwise indulged in, or on the equally off chance that one of you agrees with me and already loves one of these albums and we become best friends.
Talk about fun! This is definitely an of-the-moment album, proven most by the fact that the guitarist is dating an it-girl (who I, of course, also love), Lena Dunham of HBO Girls fame. Frankly, it verges on a guilty pleasure but I really enjoy it and I think at least two of the songs from this album will be around for years to come, namely the title track.
Listen: “Some Night”
What is this combination of people? Who thought of it and can I meet them? I love the Talking Heads (see: Little Creatures), of which David Byrne was the mastermind, song-writer and lead singer, but I was never really into St. Vincent (see: not liking new music). Together, their collaboration titled “Love this Giant” is both haunting and creative, with a gem or two that feels like the Talking Heads were reincarnated with a female lead.
Vince and I were in Atlanta with our friends right around the time this came out and we listened to this album about fifteen times in a row over a drunken weekend. For me, it felt a little like this was the second disc linked closely to their first album but this is not a bad thing. They are so emotional and have truly mastered the art of “the build.” It all feels very raw and earnest and not only do I really like them, but I think they inspire a lot of the other bands I love.
Listen: “I Will Wait”
It’s funny because when I first went to buy this on iTunes I accidentally wrote “Of Mice and Men” and got some wacky metalcore band. My mistake. I meant to download an album I would actually enjoy and so I did. Of Monsters and Men are from Vince and my current favorite country, Iceland. They have both a female and male lead singer, which seems to be a real trend in indie music right now. These guys are really into the Mumford build too (see #6) and I just think they have something special. This song is one of my favorites but the whole album plays like one long joyous song.
Listen: “Dirty Paws”
If you listen to the radio at all, you’ve probably heard their hit “Hold on,” and maybe you’ve wondered if it’s a woman or a man singing, just as I did with Albama Shakes’ lead singer, Ray LaMontagne and Antony and The Johnsons. These androgynous vocalists really do it for me. In this case it’s a woman named Brittany Howard and she’s amazing. Brittany and the bassist met in high school in Athens, which is as sweet as it gets. Her voice is original, soulful and timeless and this album is solid, good for all occasions and full of talent.
Listen: “Hold On”
Oh man, do I love this band. They just really speak to me. I have a weakness for the Northwest (see: Blind Pilot) after spending some of my early 20s in Portland. They are from Seattle and have that same earnestness of Mumford and Sons but with more sweetness and clarity. I bet they are SO good live! Oh god! I just love them! Give it a try.
Listen: “Down in the Valley”
Frank Ocean is a genius on the loose. He was originally a songwriter for other pop stars but released his own album Channel Orange in July 2012 and it quickly became the soundtrack of the summer all over town. He’s also the first African American artist to come out as gay, which was both brave and progressive as fuck. Hip hop is as homophobic as metal and this was a baller move to say the least. Give “Super Rich Kids” a listen and jam out at your own risk of loving it.
Listen: “Super Rich Kids”
1. Taylor Swift – Red (Big Machine)
You guys are going to hate me for this one! And yet, it is the one I love most. Have you ever dated someone? Have you have had your heart beaten or broken? Do you have a sister or mother or daughter? If any of these are true, I know you can find something to love in this album. Even Vince admits it’s good! Hear me out: Taylor Swift has this way of capturing the universal experience of dating and love in a way no one else can touch. What do you think of this, from her song “I Almost Do:” “It takes everything in me not to call you, And I wish I could run to you, And I hope you know that every time I don’t, I almost do.” We’ve all been there, sister! It’s irresistible. My personal favorite right now is “All Too Well”, which Vince points out could easily have been a Bon Jovi song. Taylor is a classic singer songwriter and the sooner non-teenage girls realize that, the better.
Listen: “All Too Well”