As we reach the very end of 2012, it’s time to unveil our five favourite albums of the year.
Make sure to check out the other members of our top ten here, but now here are our favourite handful of LPs from the past twelve months.
5) Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
It’s been three years since Regina Spektor’s brand of whimsy lit up the charts, and thankfully her sixth album lived up to all expectations.
While it occasionally threatens to collapse under itself due to the sheer amount of twee it has on offer, Spektor’s latest is sweeter than a whole box of Quality Street and shows yet again why she’s one of the most revered female vocalists out there.
Firewood, How and Open are pure Specktor at her very best; delicately instrumented with gorgeous minimalist vocals and touching lyrics that will make any cold hearted cynic fall in love with the New Yorker’s often imitated style. Plus, anyone who does her own vocal drum solos is good in my book.
4) Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
Florence Welch and her band of merry men have had one heck of a year, all backed up by this, her follow up album that takes all of the best bits about her debut entry Lungs and turns them up to eleven.
From the very first chords of the album to its closing notes, Ceremonial’s is gripping, with it perhaps having the strongest start of any album this year with its first five tracks a majestic group of sweeping epics.
Ceremonials is an immaculately produced slice of pop at its absolutely rousing best and a clear proclamation of Florence as one of Britain’s best vocal talents.
3) First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
Sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg are back in the form of First Aid Kit and their follow up album to 2010’s The Big Black & Blue is one to savour.
Bigger, vocally moving and better in every way, First Aid Kit’s second album is a wonderful collection of indie folk songs with their hearts on their sleeves. This is a wonderfully mature, articulate and layered look at life and love.
From the superb vocals from the singing sisters to the near pitch perfect instrumentation throughout, this is an absolute treat for the ears. Smooth like honey and just as sweet to the taste.
Possibly the finest record for the heartbroken out there this year, The Lion’s Roar is a fantastic piece of Americana and another example of the incredibly vibrant musical crowd breaking out of Sweden and taking the world by storm.
2) Chromatics – Kill For Love
That producer Johnny Jewel was tapped up by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn to produce the soundtrack for his movie Drive, and this latest work of the group is a spiritual twin to it.
Blurring the lines between ominous cinematic beats and a hazy, nostalgia soaked version of electo-pop, Kill For Love fills it’s empty spaces better than nearly anything else this year, making each breathy, far away vocal echo in your mind.
It may be a whole heap of style over substance, but when the style is this breathtakingly good, you just revel in the sumptuous beats and bathe in the simplicity of it all.
Beautiful, haunting and impossibly delicate throughout its hefty running time, Chromatics’ third album is a work of utter and complete brilliance.
1) Channel Orange – Frank Ocean
Let’s get one thing straight, I’m not the biggest fan of RnB. So when I say that Channel Orange picked me up, shook me about and moved me so much I couldn’t even see where I’d started, it’s praise of the very highest order.
Breathtakingly honest, emotionally rich and complex, it’s a confession booth of an album, an utterly beguiling set of tales that will throw away all your expectations and leave your jaw rooted to the floor.
Not only that, but Frank Ocean’s debut leaves the entirety of RnB with a bloodied nose, completely taking apart the genre and laying down a gauntlet so fierce it positively needs to be contained in a strait jacket.
Channel Orange is a masterpiece, a piece of work that will stand as the genre’s high watermark for years to come and lifts Frank rightfully up to the very highest levels of lyricists.
One of the best debut albums there has been over the last decade and most definitely our 2012 album of the year.
We offer our congratulations to Frank, but what was your favourite album of the year? Let us know in the comment section below.
FemaleFirst Cameron smith