2012 leaves behind high-quality albums

Donald Kaplan

Contributing Writer

Out of all the great music released last year, here is a list of my favorite albums of 2012, and the albums and artists I look forward to as this new year continues.

Mumford & Sons – Babel. This is the second studio album of the famed folk band Mumford & Sons. Two of my favorite songs on the album are “I Will Wait” and “Lover of the Light.” Many of the songs are very similar to those on their previous album, Sigh No More, yet the band still has this raw energy that emits from their banjos and basses, as well as Marcus Mumford’s voice.

Frank Ocean – Channel Ocean. The debut album of Odd Future member Frank Ocean emits a raw, soulful feel, one we have not experienced in a long time. My favorite tracks on the album are “Bad Religion,” “Pink Matter” and “Pyramids.” In this album, Ocean brings together a wonderful mixture of genres, with his soulful voice, to the smooth quick raps of André 3000 and Earl Sweatshirt. As you listen on, you can almost feel Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder in Ocean’s voice. This is definitely an album to look into.

Odd Future – The OF Tape Vol. 2. This is one of my favorite albums of the year. Being the first official album of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, it’s always a pleasure seeing how the group has matured since their first mixtape. Although quite explicit, the album is catchy and flows amazingly, with songs by Frank Ocean; Tyler, the Creator; Hodgy Beats; Left Brain; Domo Genesis and the return of Earl Sweatshirt. My favorite tracks are: “White, “Sam (is Dead),” “P” and “Oldie.”

GOOD Music – Cruel Summer. Kanye West decides to step off his throne and bring together his group: Pusha T, 2 Chainz, Common, Ghostface Killah, Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Raekwon and others. This collaboration, in my opinion, changed the face of rap. The songs run smoothly, with amazing beats and lyrics. To be honest, I’m impressed with Kanye. The songs to listen to are “The Morning,” “Clique” and “New God Flow.”

Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. This album piqued expectations. Kendrick takes us to his world in Compton, causing the listener to empathize with him and some of the experiences he had to deal with growing up in one of the hoods of Los Angeles. The album also includes collaborations with Dr. Dre and Drake. My favorite tracks are “Backseat Freestyle,” “Art of Peer Pressure,” “Compton” and, heck, the whole dang album!

Lana Del Rey – Paradise Edition: Born to Die. Back with her eternally sad, alluringly depressing voice and lyricism that at times is on the brink of being labeled insane, Lana Del Rey returns with an expansion of her sophomore album, Born to Die, with an all new sultry Paradise Edition. On this EP, Lana returns with her silky, seductive voice but brings a more haunting aura along with her. Playful lyrics like those featured in “Cola” and “Gods and Monsters” are overwhelmed by a seemingly contrary sadness to her voice.  Everything about the album oozes in a sadness that makes Lana distinct, and it is this that gives her a cult-like following of the insanely sad.

The new albums that are dropping this year are quite exciting. A$AP Rocky released his debut album, “Long.Live.A$AP” earlier in January. Yo La Tengo, one of my favorite indie bands, just recently released their new album. Justin Timberlake, Destiny’s Child, Azealia Banks, Lil’ Wayne and many more are also set to release. If you want to hear some great music, check out some of these albums!

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