Hello again, Gardeners! We’re now into our second round of our Throwback Thursday feature, this time taking a look at our Top Albums of 2012 Lists and making the changes that we see fit. Once again, Craig set far too great an example for me to follow up, but I’m here to at least give it a try. In looking back at 2012, I quickly realized that it was a bit of a down year for emo music. It was a year after The Wonder Years, Transit, Fireworks, and Balance & Composure ended up turning the scene on its side with eye-opening albums, and those bands were all focused on touring. We were still a year away from the Fall Out Boy reunion, and many bands who helped define the “Emo Revival” hadn’t even formed yet. So in lamen’s terms, 2012 was kind of a lost year for emo. However, there were still plenty of albums that caught my ears, and quite a few that I discovered after 2013 was ushered in. You can take a look at my original list of the top albums of 2012 here. In the mean time, just as I did last time, I’ll start by giving you a few albums that were considered for my Updated Top 10:
The Chariot – One Wing
Every Time I Die – Ex-Lives
Make Do and Mend – Everything You Ever Loved
Go Radio – Close the Distance
Title Fight – Floral Green
Yellowcard – Southern Air
Now, let’s take a look at the albums that have stuck with me through what hindsight reveals to be one of the worse years in music that I’ve seen since I started blogging about music. It was a mess, and here’s how I tried to clean it up:
10. Misser – Every Day I Tell Myself I’m Going to Be a Better Person: Tim Landers, former member of Transit and Brad Wiseman of now-defunct This Time Next Year both have a lot of time on their hands now that they’ve left their former full-time gigs, and maybe it’s time they get this wonderfully surprising side project back in gear. Every Day is chock-full wonderful guitar work and aching lyrics that are easy to relate to, and even easier to sing along to.
(2012’s Rank: 8)
9. Further Seems Forever – Penny Black: It’s interesting that the week Chris Carraba announced the return of his bread-winning project Dashboard Confessional the same week that his first band’s reunion album found its way back onto my headphones. Further Seems Forever explore much darker lyrical themes and tones than Carraba’s heartfelt acoustic-based Confessional songs, and Penny Black remains a captivating listen years after its release.
(2012’s Rank: 11)
8. Circa Survive – Violent Waves: 2012 ushered in the era of the self-released album as a viable option for already-established bands, and Circa Survive’s Violent Waves was one of the pieces of evidence proving the method can work. With no one on the outside shackling their creativity, Circa Survive began to fully realize the vision they had for themselves. While a bit top-heavy, the album packs a whalloping punch throughout.
(2012’s Rank: 3)
7. Anberlin – Vital: The major-label casualty list has added many a smaller band to its list, but Anberlin never became one of them. If anything, the resources afforded to them allowed Anberlin to develop their sound into the behemoth that it was before the band called it quits last year. Vital attacks the listener with both an onslaught of guitars and a synth-heavy, mid-tempo approach that creates a duality in the album that proves the band’s trademark versatility.
(2012’s Rank: 4)
6. From Indian Lakes – Able Bodies: From Indian Lakes are the 2012 version of Have Mercy, in that they were a band I hadn’t actively listened to when their debut came out, but once I did, they ended up becoming one of my new favorites. Able Bodies is a loud, bold record, and serves as a great introduction to the talents of wunderkind Joey Vannucchi.
(2012’s Rank: Not ranked)
5. All Time Low – Don’t Panic: After Dirty Work proved once and for all that they weren’t the heirs to blink-182’s throne (I don’t even think anyone would want that at this point, anyway), All Time Low came back with Don’t Panic, a proclamation to their fans that they hadn’t abandoned the songwriting that made them such an endearing band in their early years. Thanks to a newfound freedom on former label Hopeless Records, the band released an album that challenges So Wrong, It’s Right for the title of their best work.
(2012’s Rank: 7)
4. fun. – Some Nights: Can a pop album with three Top-40 hits still be classified as emo? Probably not, but Nate Ruess’s contributions to the genre when he was in The Format kept me from completely dismissing Some Nights from Keep Calm’s Top Albums list in 2012. It probably wasn’t the right call, but when the songs are this good, exceptions will be made. Once you get through the singles, you start to see that this is a complete album that you just don’t see in pop music anymore.
(2012’s Rank: 8)
3. Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon: Teeming with charisma and catchy indie-rock hooks, Walk the Moon’s proper introduction to the world was a monstrous debut powered by infectious singles “Tightrope,” “Anna Sun,” and “Quesadilla.” The deeper cuts of the album like “Jenny” and “Fixin'” help maintain momentum throughout, and set up Walk the Moon for chance at world takeover.
(2012’s Rank: Not ranked)
2. The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past: When 2012 started, very few people knew who The Menzingers were. By the end of February, the Pennsylvania Punk outfit were on everybody’s radar, as they topped countless Album of the Year lists (including Craig’s re-rank last week). The focus here is how heartache paces Greg Barnett and Tom May’s portrait of growing up in America, which resonates with listeners of any background or perspective. The Menzingers’ best work may still be ahead of them, but On The Impossible Past will always be remembered as the album that started their rise.
(2012’s Rank: 5)
1. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten: One selfish reason I love doing these Throwback Thrusday posts is that despite how many changes I make to my list, I often look back at my top album and feel quite comfortable with my ranking. In the case of The Gaslight Anthem, I had Handwritten tapped as my “preseason #1,” and I never wavered from it. In the years that have passed, the album has become one of my all-time favorites. Be it personal connection to the subject matter or the album simply being great, Handwritten has aged like wine, as is the custom with The Gaslight Anthem’s albums. They’ve proven already that they’re here to stay, but that’s not what makes them great. What makes them great is that they stay and continue to push themselves to be better.
(2012’s Rank: 1)
So what did you think of my look back at 2012? I must say, the re-rank for this year was much more difficult than my re-rank of 2013, but I still had a lot of fun. That being said, I’m only one man. What did I miss? What would you have in your list of the best albums of 2012?