to continue with the last minute year end posts, here are my top 10 albums of the year! it’s sort of in order but also sort of not because damn, this was a really excellent year for music.
1. Empires Garage Hymns My favorite band, still killing it on their third album. “Hell’s Heroes” has maybe become my absolute favorite song of theirs, something I never thought would happen, because what can beat “Spit the Dark”? but this one has done it. GH is their best and most cohesive yet and I already can’t wait for more.
2. Various Artists - The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 And Beyond I knew the Hunger Games would be good (and it was excellent) and I figured the music would be good (T. Bone Burnett overseeing it and all) but I did not expect it to be THIS good. So many beautiful Appalachian inspired songs, some full of angst and sadness and fear, just like the source material. This album also includes the best song Taylor Swift has ever sung, “Safe and Sound”, and introduced me to the Civil Wars, so yeah, it’s pretty great.
3. The Shins - Port of Morrow According to Last.FM, this is my most listened to album of the year, along with Empires. I can’t get over it, every single song is so great, it gets in my soul and sticks there. I’m still not sick of “Simple Song” and it is my favorite song of the year.
4. The Killers - Battle Born The Killers first album, Hot Fuss, is my 8th favorite album of all time, so even though I enjoyed Sam’s Town, after Day & Age, I did not expect anything out of them ever again. But then they randomly came to Asheville this summer and put on a, uh, killer show, I started getting excited for their new album and damn, it is their best since Hot Fuss. It’s the right amount of Vegas glitz and that Springsteen grit that they love so much.
5. Gold Motel - Gold Motel Greta is absolutely superb at making awesome summer albums that I love to listen with the windows down. This album coming out coincided with my 60s Girl Group phase this summer and it was a match made in heaven. Also “Leave You In Love” should be the soundtrack to a thousand lesbian romance stories.
6. Green Day - ¡DOS! It was hard to choose a Green Day album, I really love all three of them, I think they’re great throwbacks to their 90s pop-punk sound while still having a bit of their 2000s grandiosity. I went with ¡Dos! because I think it has the best individual songs on it (“Lazy Bones” and “Amy” for example) and it has my favorite cover.
7. Mumford and Sons - Babel Like Gold Motel in the summer, Mumford and Sons just sounds awesome in the fall. A mandolin breakdown while driving through the autumn leaves is the perfect soundtrack.
8. No Doubt - Push and Shove This album definitely surprised me the most of any this year. I heard “Settle Down” when it premiered back in the summer and was really not into it. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t catch me at all and I immediately lowered my hopes for their big comeback album. But once I listened to it, I realized I was completely wrong, this album is kickass and really marries a lot of No Doubt’s later music and Gwen’s solo stuff. Definitely recommended.
9. JJAMZ - Suicide Pact Z Berg’s voice can do no wrong with me. I love this dirty hipster album and all the dirty hipsters that made it.
10. The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter While I don’t know if I love this album like I did I And Love And You, it’s still a great folksy record (recorded right in my hometown) and anyone that names a song “Paul Newman vs The Demons” is automatically on my top 10.
Honorable mentions: Frank Ocean “channel ORANGE”, Passion Pit “Gossamer”, Gotye “Making Mirrors”, Civil Wars “Barton Hallow”, Adam Lambert “Trespassing”