Oh hey there! Hope you’re getting hype to bring in the New Year tomorrow evening with your family and friends. While enjoying my rather lazy day, it occurred to me that this year our ears experienced some pretty awesome tunes. (Shout-out to Spotify for helping me keep track of them all by the way.)
I’m blessed to have a rather colorful pallet when it comes to music. In my opinion, a great album is one that you can listen to from beginning to end– one that has great commercialism but also those secret gems that really connect you to what the artist is really conveying. Without delay (in no particular order) here are the first few on my list of awesome albums of 2012. Check out the others after the jump.
1. Kaleidescope Dream – Miguel
This absolutely goes without saying. Miguel is a phenomenal artist and his time to shine is definitely now. The highly-anticipated album has quality beyond belief, but we all know that the star of this Grammy-nominated LP is “Adorn”. Miguel did us a favor (and teased us) by releasing short EPs with three songs each that gave us a taste of what KD had in store. I am excited to see what Miguel has for us in 2013.
2. Is Your Love Big Enough? – Lianne La Havas
Love, love, love Lianne! Her melodic folk sound is completely soulful yet soothing. I’ve had this album on heavy rotation for the last four months because it is just that great. Lianne definitely provides feel good music, and you definitely get that on the title track “Is Your Love Big Enough?” — can’t wait to see her in April!
3. Two-Eleven – Brandy
B-Rocka came back heavy this year for sure. After having her album being pushed back four months due to the untimely death of her mentor and icon Whitney Houston, Two-Eleven’s June release was long overdue. The newly engaged songbird did a great job of marketing for the album, as well as a national tour in small venues across the country. Her rendition of Frank Ocean’s “Scared of Beautiful” evokes ridiculous raw emotion that makes the song so heart-felt and real.
4. good kid, m.A.A.d. city – Kendrick Lamar
Initially, I wasn’t too thrilled about the drop of Kendrick’s second studio album, but after seeing how crazy everyone was going in the Twittersphere, I just had to check it out. And he definitely didn’t disappoint– “Swimming Pools (Drank)” is that song that reminds you of your good ol’ college days or a chill summer day. I love how Kendrick reps hard for the West Coast, and he definitely brings a different sound to hip- hop.
5. Perfectly Imperfect – Elle Varner
Ah, my girl crush. I’ve been following Elle’s music for about a year now, and I must say that her debut album was perfectly perfect. At 23, she’s singing out things I can totally relate to, which makes the album that much greater. She created a good buzz around her single “Only Give It To You” featuring J.Cole, but my love and appreciation for the cleverness behind “Sound Proof Room” goes without saying.
6. Whispers In The Dark – Luke James
*sigh* – but if you know me, you know how much I STAN for Luke James (hey Taj!). I was introduced to his talent earlier this year and have been in love with him ever since. 2012 was definitely a great year for Luke — many awesome performances, including opening for King Bey herself. Although considered a “mixtape”, this LP just screams real R&B music — and “Mo’ Betta Blues” proves that.
7. Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head – T.I.
It’s the KAAAANG homie! I’ve loved Tip since “24s” and it’s been dope to watch his transformation from a hardcore ATL rapper to a phenomenal brand that continues to revolutionize hip-hop culture and music. This album has a dope list of great features, but it’s a tie between “Ball” featuring Lil’ Wayne and “Sorry” featuring Andre 3000 for me on this one.
8. Life is Good – Nas
Nassir Jones brought the heat that everyone was waiting for this year. Everyone loved how open he was about his failed marriage with Kelis by posing with her infamous green wedding dress on the album cover. “Bye Baby” tells the tale of heartbreak, but the real 90’s music enthusiasts appreciate the sample of Guy’s “Goodbye Love“. I’ve always liked Nas’ music, but this album gave more depth to the person and the artist.
9. Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding
It’s is rather refreshing to hear such great jazz music! I absolutely adore Esperanza’s alluring sound, and her talent as well. I originally discovered the album’s lead track “Black Gold” featuring Algebra Blessett around Black History Month, which led me to listening to her entire album. Her cover of Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” put a smile on my face, but the true star of this album (in my eyes) is “Cinnamon Tree“.
10. channel ORANGE – Frank Ocean
Last but not least! Nominated for six Grammy awards, this album was definitely the most talked about in 2012. I’ve personally been a fan of Frank’s music since early 2011, and was not remotely surprised by the success of his long-awaited debut album. The star on this album? Geez, there are so many great gems to choose from, but of course “Bad Religion” shows Ocean’s vulnerability and experience of heartbreak. But I would be wrong if I didn’t mention “Pink Matter” and how much Andre 3000 SLAYED his verse.
BIG Honorable Mentions
- Born to Die – Lana Del Rey (Go to single– “Blue Jeans”)
- True – Solange (Go to single – “Lovers in the Parking Lot”)
- The MF Life – Melanie Fiona (Go to single – “Rock Paper Scissors”)
- Cruel Summer – G.O.O.D. Music
What were some of your favorite albums of this year? Speak on it!