Friday, 28 December 2012

Top 40 albums of 2012!

Kicking off my end of year countdowns, here is my top 40 favourite albums of 2012, the top 100 singles will follow in the next few days!

40. Elton John vs. Pnau - Good Morning To The Night
39. Alanis Morissette - Havoc and Bright Lights
38. Kelly Clarkson - Greatest Hits - Chapter One
37. Cascada - It's Christmas Time
36. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
35. Kylie Minogue - The Abbey Road Sessions
34. Jennifer Lopez - Dance Again...The Hits
33. Gotye - Making Mirrors
32. Charlotte Perrelli - The Girl
31. Carrie Underwood - Blown Away
30. Lucy Spraggan - Top Room At The Zoo
29. Nádine - Christmas In South Africa
28. Ke$ha - Warrior
27. Leona Lewis - Glassheart
26. Rihanna - Unaplologetic
25. Cheryl - A Million Lights
24. Girls Aloud - Ten
23. Little Mix - DNA
22. One Direction - Take Me Home
21. Mika - The Origin Of Love
20. Train - California 37
19. Christina Aguilera - Lotus
18. Taylor Swift - Red
17. Jessie Ware - Devotion
16. Nelly Furtado - The Spirit Indestructible
15. Timoteij - Tabu
14. Ed Sheeran - +
13. Madonna - MDNA
12. Maroon 5 - Overexposed
11. Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss


10. Missy Higgins - The Ol' Razzle Dazzle

Highlights: Temporary Love, Set Me On Fire, Unashamed Desire, Hello Hello, Everyone's Waiting

9. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Highlights: Pound The Alarm, Starships, Young Forever, Va Va Voom, Marilyn Monroe, Whip It, Beez In The Trap, Right By My Side

8. Loreen - Heal

Highlights: Euphoria, My Heart Is Refusing Me, Crying Out Your Name, In My Head, Everytime, If She's The One

7. Agnes - Veritas

Highlights: One Last Time, Human Touch, Loaded, All I Want Is You, Nothing Else Matters, Like God, Into The Sun

6. Tone Damli - Looking Back

Highlights: Butterflies, Stuck In My Head, No Way Out, I Love You, Imagine, Look Back

5. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger

Highlights: Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You), Mr Know It All, I Forgive You, Don't You Wanna Stay, Breaking Your Own Heart, Einstein, Let Me Down

4. Steps - The Ultimate Collection

Highlights: Last Thing On My Mind, One For Sorrow, It's The Way You Make Me Feel, Love's Got A Hold On My Heart, Heartbeat, Better Best Forgotten, Say You'll Be Mine

3. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

Highlights: Video Games, Born To Die, Ride, National Anthem, Summertime Sadness, Off To The Races, Blue Jeans, Diet Mountain Dew

2. Emeli Sandé - Our Version Of Events

Highlights: Beneath Your Beautiful, Heaven, Mountains, Next To Me, My Kind Of Love, Where I Sleep, River, Read All About It (Part III)

1. Delta Goodrem - Child Of The Universe

Highlights: Hunters And The Wolves, Wish You Were Here, Sitting On Top Of The World, Dancing With A Broken Heart, Knocked Out, When My Stars Come Out, War On Love, Child Of The Universe


A mixture of brilliant debuts, disappointing (but still good) comebacks and improvements on previous eras define the bottom end of my year end top 40. Alanis Morissette, Carrie Underwood, Cheryl, One Direction, Mika, Train, Christina Aguilera, Taylor Swift, Timoteij, Madonna, Carly Rae Jepsen and Maroon 5 all came out with albums that I found better than their immediate predecessors. Ellie Goulding, Leona Lewis and Rihanna's previous efforts were all stronger but I still liked all three a lot. Some very promising debuts from Little Mix, Jessie Ware and Lucy Spraggan, great retrospectives from Girls Aloud, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Lopez and some excellent oddities from Elton John vs Pnau, Kylie Minogue, Cascada and Nádine. Special mention to The Spirit Indestructible by Nelly Furtado which shifted approximately 0.000000001% globally that her previous monster English album Loose did, but that's not to say that it deserved this fate - from start to finish it's excellent, especially all of the various collaborations on the album! 

But kicking off the end of year top ten is the third album by Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins. She finished in my end of year top ten in both 2005 and 2007 with previous albums The Sound Of White and On A Clear Night and despite a five year break she certainly didn't disappoint this time around, her songs just as melodic and affecting as ever. Nicki Minaj's second album was far more to my tastes than her first, the 'pop half' especially and it finishes a respectable 9th for the year! Loreen's debut album Heal wasn't perhaps the 'best album ever' that many may have expected but it was still an amazing debut album. Loads of growers but sometimes that's the best way! Fellow former Swedish Idol contestant Agnes provided a slightly better album, the brilliant Veritas, a worthy follow up to the monster that was Dance Love Pop. Chock full of strings and great choruses, the only missing element from the album was the lack of the 2011 single Don't Go Breaking My Heart. And my favourite Scandipop album of 2012 comes from Norwegian singer Tone Damli with her first career retrospective. Looking Back really made me realise just how fantastic this woman is at exploiting the niche that she nicely fills - radio freindly string-laden MOR pop. A couple of duds on there from her early career but post (and including) Butterflies, everything has been glorious!

A couple of 2011 albums kick off the top five! The first is Kelly Clarkson's fifth studio album, Stronger. It was #20 in my 2011 end of year chart but continued to grow into the new year when I began to re-explore albums that I might have not fully realised the potential of/got lost in the Xmas rush! Far better than All I Ever Wanted, it was possibly my favourite Kelly album since the defining Breakaway, complete with two absolutely killer singles that gave her back to back top 3's in my singles chart for the first time since 2005! Reformed in 2011, Steps' Ultimate Collection finished 2011 inside my top ten albums but goes even higher this year and into the top five thanks my enduring love for this retrospective (far more than their new studio album which failed to register for my top 40 of the year!). Packed full of turn of the millennium classic pop, I still regularly listen to this great pop collection.

American chanteuse Lana Del Rey kicks off the top three of the year with her debut album Born To Die. An absolutely gorgeous, sometimes haunting, album full of sombre balladry and self pity, I absolutely adored this woman and this album during 2012! But not quite as much as I loved the ever over-exposed Emeli Sandé. The former guest singer on rap singles, she broke off into her own this year and became the biggest female solo artist since Adele! The beautiful Our Version Of Events is mostly a ballad heavy affair, save for Next To Me and Wonder from the repackage. But when the ballads are as great as Beneath Your Beautiful, Mountains, Read All About It (Part III), My Kind Of Love and River, it really doesn't matter. And then the great Massive Attack influenced sounds of Heaven and Daddy, it's like listening to a greatest hits album, even though it's her debut. She's had every promo slot going this year and would probably attend the opening of an envelope but it truly is one of my favourite albums of 2012 and I'm glad that people are hearing it and her stunning voice. 

And onto the album of the year. After the slightly lacklustre Delta followed my two favourite albums of all time, Innocent Eyes and Mistaken Identity, I wondered if Miss Goodrem had lost her spark, or at least lost it in my eyes. After a huge five years away my favourite artist returned with Child Of The Universe. I fell in love instantly with the jolly comeback single Sitting On Top Of The World, the dancy Sophie B Hawkins soundalike Dancing With A Broken Heart, the gorgeous and emotional Wish You Were Here and the Tori Amos-esque stormer Hunters And The Wolves - Delta was back on top form. Add to this the jaunty country-tinged pop of Knocked Out, the Motown of When My Stars Come Out, the frantic drama of War Of Love and Child Of The Universe, the Mariah warbling of Safe To Believe and the Brian bashing Alcohol and it made for a stunning comeback. If you haven't heard this album I fully recommend it, I'm just praying for a UK release at this point!

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