Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Top 30 Albums of 2012

Now that all of the big releases are out for 2012, it's time to count down the top 30 albums of the year! Last year only left me with a top 20, but there have been so many great albums, or at least albums with a couple good songs, that I've extended it to a top 30.

Last year, Talk That Talk narrowly edged out 21 for the coveted top spot of the year. It was based simply on the amount of good songs on an album divided by the total number of tracks to come up with a percentage. This year, things are a bit different. The ratings have been a bit more complex.

The first component of the score is good tracks. I developed a fraction. For example, I liked 14 songs out of 16. That's 87.5%. This percentage was multiplied by 500 (the possible total points for this component). This album would receive 438 points.

The second component is the number of scrobbled plays on my last.fm. Say this given album has 150 plays. That transferred into 150 points.

Finally, I added the two together to get an overall score. This album would have 588 points.

30. Ne-Yo - R.E.D.

Ne-Yo's latest album produced more likeable tracks than he usually does. The dance pop infused album also includes his normal R&B sound.
Key Tracks: Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself), Cracks in Mr. Perfect, Forever Now, Carry On (Her Letter to Him), My Other Gun
Based on tracks = 5/18 - 28% - 139 points
Plays - 21
Total - 161 points

29. Lana Del Rey - Paradise
Lana Del Rey delivered this EP in the last quarter of the year. It was something everyone was hoping would be as amazing as her album, but it was a severe letdown. Maybe it was TOO much like her album in the end. It was too flat. The only thing it really has going for it was the shock effect of Cola.
Key Tracks: Ride, Cola, Gods & Monsters
Based on tracks: 3/9 - 33% - 167 points
Plays - 12
Total - 179 points

28. Tim McGraw - Emotional Traffic
Tim McGraw puts out his last release from his current label this January and it feels almost like a rush job. I didn't get into it as much as I expected, but I did fall in love with 3 tracks.
Key Tracks: Better Than I Used to Be, The One That Got Away, Halo
Based on tracks: 3/12 - 25% - 125 points
Plays - 55
Total - 180 points

27. Calvin Harris - 18 Months
Ever since Guetta dropped Nothing But the Beat, DJs seem to be popping out albums with tracks featuring big names. This year was the year of Calvin Harris. A lot of the tracks were released way ahead of the album's release in October. Lucky for Calvin, I let him count some dated songs...
Key Tracks: We Found Love (feat. Rihanna), I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding), Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welsh), Let's Go (feat. Ne-Yo), Bounce (feat. Kelis)
Based on tracks: 5/15 - 33% - 167
Plays: 15
Total - 182 points

26. Chris Brown - Fortune
This horrible addition to Chris Brown's discography actually managed to chart through some massive Christmas generosity on my part. I did not hold against it the terrible majority of the album, but gave it fair consideration for the few tracks that were actually good.
Key Tracks: Turn Up the Music, Bassline, Don't Wake Me Up, Till I Die, Party Hard, Trumpet Lights
Based on Tracks: 6/19 - 32% - 158 points
Plays - 33 plays
Total - 191 points

25. Justin Bieber - Believe
 Justin Bieber actually delivered an album I can stand to listen to a few song. He's never made one of my album lists before. While his raspy voice shows signs of exiting puberty and declining vocal talent, it delivers a couple songs that I have listened to throughout the year, most notably Boyfriend.
Key Tracks: Boyfriend, Beauty and a Beat, Believe, Fall, All Around the World
Based on tracks - 5/17 29% - 147 points
Plays - 49 points
Total - 196 points

24. Usher - Looking 4 Myself
While I can say I love this album, it really only delivered a few good songs, like most Usher albums. Overall, I would say this album is a step up from his last few. It took a couple months to grow on me, but finally I liked 6 tracks.
Key Tracks: Numb, Scream, Dive, Euphoria, Can't Stop Won't Stop, Lemme See (feat. Rick Ross)
Based on tracks: 6/18 33% - 167 points
 Plays - 31
Total - 198 points

23. No Doubt - Push and Shove

After a 9 year hiatus, No Doubt busted back onto the scene this year to only mediocre success and joins the lower portion of the chart that has the albums with only a few good songs. While I've never been a No Doubt fan that loves the entire album, I have to say they've done better.
Key Tracks: Push and Shove, Settle Down, Looking Hot, Dreaming the Same Dream
Based on tracks - 4/12 - 33% - 167 points
Plays - 35 points
Total - 202 points

22. Matchbox Twenty - North
 Another band returning from almost a decade hiatus finds themselves hanging slightly about No Doubt. Matchbox Twenty has always been one of my favorite alternative bands, but, sadly, I could not really get into this album. There are a couple standout tracks that still make this a solid effort.
Key Tracks: She's So Mean, Sleeping at the Wheel, English Town, Radio, Overjoyed
Based on tracks - 5/12 - 42% - 179 points
Plays - 28 points
Total - 207 points

 21. Cheryl Cole - A Million Lights
 Stunting one of the most bland covers of the year, Cheryl throws this bland mosh of generic pop tracks with symptoms of dubstep-overdose. The only track that seems to stand the test of time is Call My Name. However, I ranked it by giving props to the tracks that kept me entertained for a couple weeks after the release.
Key Tracks: Call My Name, Boys Lie, Last One Standing, Girl in the Mirror, One Thousand
Based on tracks: 5/15 - 33% - 167 points
Plays - 49 points
Total - 216 points

20. Pitbull - Global Warming
Despite my ongoing attempt to hate Pitbull, I can't resist the infectious tracks on Global Warming. He honestly gets better with each album, despite the overwhelming amount of samples he uses. Back in Time and Don't Stop the Party are so much fun! This tied with A Million Lights, but won out by being better.
Key Tracks: Back in Time, Don't Stop the Party (feat. TJR), Feel This Moment (feat. Christina Aguilera), Global Warming (feat. Sensato), Get It Started (feat. Shakira), and Last Night (feat. Havana Brown and Afrojack)
Based on tracks: 6/16 38% - 188 points
Plays - 28 points
Total - 216 points

19. Alanis Morissette - Bright Lights and Havoc
 Alanis returns with her first album in four years and with one of her least cohesive albums. It was hard to get into a lot of her tracks, but Guardian is a stand out track, infusing rock elements like she did in the tracks that made her famous on Jagged Little Pill. Overall, it wasn't a total disappointment.
Key Tracks: Guardian, Woman Down, Spiral, Havoc, Lens
Based on tracks: 5/14 - 36% - 179 points
Plays: 48 plays
Total - 227 points

18. B.o.B - Strange Clouds
B.o.B. makes a stellar sophomore effort, exhibiting much improvement since his debut album. The beats are sick and the collabs are intense. It's sad that this didn't sell that well.
Key Tracks: Outta My Mind (feat. Nicki Minaj), Strange Clouds (feat. Lil Wayne), Both of Us (feat. Taylor Swift), Chandelier (feat. Lauriana Mae), Ray Bands, Castles (feat. Trey Songz), So Good
Based on tracks - 7/15 -  47% - 234 points
Plays: 43 points
Total - 277 points

17. Karmin - Hello

 The best white rapper since Eminem emerges into starlight this year...and it's a woman! This duo has created some fierce and infectious tracks such as the title track!
Key Tracks: Hello, Crash Your Party, Broken Hearted
Based on Tracks: 3/7 43% - 215 points
Plays: 64 points
Total -  279 points


 16. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Ellie's sophomore effort is such an improvement over her debut. Lights only sported one good track, the title tracks. This album caught my attention with Explosions and grew on me from there on out. Very good album, just not something I'll play out.
Key Tracks: Explosions, Halcyon, I Need Your Love (Feat. Calvin Harris), Anything Could Happen, Only You, I Know You Care, Figure 8
Based on Tracks: 7/15 - 47% - 234 points
Plays: 48 points
Total - 232 points

 15. Train - California 37
Train is one of the few alternative bands that I can say I have developed an honest liking for over the years. I have 6 tracks I like off of this album but the two singles really carry the most water for it.
Key Tracks: 50 Ways to Say Goodbye, Drive By, This'll Be My Year
Based on plays: 6/12 - 50% - 250 points
Plays: 44 points
Total - 294 points

14. Flo Rida - Wild Ones
 I'm almost mad that this is so far up the list because...well, it's Flo Rida. The only thing that helped it out was it being an EP, making the fraction even out to a higher percentage. I let it stay here to be fair and because the first two singles and even the third one are enjoyable!
Key Tracks: Wild Ones (feat. Sia), Good Feeling, Whistle
Based on tracks: 5/9 56% - 278 points
Plays: 54 points
Total - 332 points

13.  Rihanna - Unapologetic
I desperately wanted to love this album after Talk That Talk claimed the top spot last year. Sadly, despite her attempt to infuse substance in this album, the whole thing seems forced, leaving very few good songs that I can see standing the test of time in my iTunes library. So here I am, unapologetic that Rihanna flops to #13 this year.
Key Tracks: Diamonds, What Now, Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary, Phresh Out the Runway, Half of Me, Pour It Up, Jump, Right Now
Based on tracks - 8/15 - 53% - 267 points
Plays - 74 points
Total -  341 points

12. Maroon 5 - Overexposed
As albums go for Maroon 5, this appears to be their most solid album, despite the atrocious cover. I usually only care for 3 or 4 tracks when they drop an album, but I can say I like the majority of this album!
Key Tracks: Payphone (feat. Wiz Khalifa), One More Night, Lucky Strike, Tickets, Sad, Daylight, Wipe Your Eyes, Doin' Dirt, Beautiful Goodbye
Based on Tracks: 9/16 - 56% - 281 points
Plays - 110 plays
Total - 391 points

11. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die
From what struck me as incredibly dull at first listen, this quickly grew into one of the best breakthrough albums of the year. Sure, she never spawned a successful US single, but that's no reason to ignore her. Her imagery and dark sound make her music special and it really is amazing.
Key Tracks: National Anthem, This Is What Makes Us Girls, Radio, Born to Die, Diet Mtn Dew, Off to the Races, Lucky Ones, Without You
Based on Tracks - 8/15 - 53% - 267 points
Plays - 125 points
Total - 392 points

Now here's where the game changes. Instead of listing just the good tracks, since these albums are the most solid of the year, I will list a few of the best and a few to skip.

10. Marina & The Diamonds - Electra Heart
Marina really grabbed my attention with this album. I didn't get the hype surrounding her first album, but this album is excellent. Definitely deserving of it's position on the chart. If you haven't checked her out yet, do it now!
Key Tracks: Primadonna, Starring Role, Homewrecker, Bubblegum Bitch, Sex Yeah, How to Be a Heartbreaker
Skip: State of Dreaming, Teen Idle, Valley of the Dolls
Based on Tracks - 9/14 64% - 321 points
Plays - 113 points
Total - 334 points

9. Rita Ora - ORA
Continuing the British invasion of the top 10 of 2012 comes Rita Ora with her debut album ORA. While I did not play this album that much, the amount of likeable tracks hoisted it to the top. A lot of the songs were good, but were just too generic to make a huge impact. This album has yet to even see a US release. Hopefully Rita will hit the studio again and come back with an album that will hit top 5 next year!
Key Tracks: How We Do (Party), R.I.P. (feat. Tinie Tempah), Roc the Life, Radioactive, Been Lying, Hot Right Now
Skip: Crazy Girl, Meet Ya, Uneasy
Based on Tracks: 11/15 73% - 367 points
Plays: 69 points
Total: 436 points

8. Adam Lambert - Trespassing
Adam blasts back onto the scene this year with Trespassing and blew away his debut album. This is pure electro pop awesomeness. Filled with club bangers and anthems, this album delivers beyond expectations.
Key Tracks: Trespassing, Better Than I Know Myself, Cuckoo, Shady, Pop That Lock, Take Back
Skip: Kickin' In, Nirvana, Broken English
Based on Tracks: 10/15 - 66% - 333 points
Plays: 153 plays
Total - 486 points

7. Carrie Underwood - Blown Away
Carrie's fourth studio album is a bit darker than her previous work and is incredible. It's probably her second best album yet. I love the darkness in the first three tracks. Best country album of the year!
Key Tracks: Blown Away, Two Black Cadillacs, Good Girl, Cupid's Got a Shotgun, One Way Ticket
Skip: Wine After Whiskey, Leave Love Alone
Based on Tracks: 10/14 - 71% - 357 points
Plays: 131 points
Total - 488 points

6. Christina Aguilera - Lotus
 Xtina puts her best foot forward musically with this album. It's incredibly solid and no track really stands out as a weak spot, such as Sex for Breakfast did on Bionic. The commercial failure is her label's and her own fault for the messy promo she has done and the shoddy single choices. This is probably her best album since Stripped.
Key Tracks: Army of Me, Empty Words, Let There Be Love, Make the World Move (feat. CeeLo Green)
Skip: Shut Up, Light Up the Sky, Red Hot Kinda Love
Based on Tracks: 13/16 -  81% - 406 points
Plays: 136 points
Total: 542 points 

5. Taylor Swift - Red
From the release of We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, I was skeptical on how I would feel about this album. I knew I didn't like the album artwork, nor did I like Begin Again when she released it. However, Red and I Knew You Were Trouble. kept me locked in. Finally, the album arrived and, while it was not as good as Speak Now, it was a solid effort that I grew to love.
Key Tracks: I Knew You Were Trouble., Red, All Too Well, 22, Treacherous, State of Grace, Starlight
Skip: Sad Beautiful Tragic, Come Back... Be Here, Stay Stay Stay
Based on Tracks: 16/19 - 84% - 421 points
Plays: 171 points
Total - 592 points

4. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded/The Re-Up
Nicki Minaj brings forth her second studio effort Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded this year. The artwork was stunning with all the colors, but still a total mess. The album is a schizophrenic hip-pop/pop/rap mosh of music. The original deluxe release contains 22 tracks. The Re-Up, released in November, adds 7 more tracks of pure (and awesome) hip hop to the mix to make up for what the original release was lacking. With the surplus of tracks, most of them being good, the whole package lands itself at #4 for 2012.
Key Tracks: Pound the Alarm, Up in Flames, I Am Your Leader, Roman Holiday, Starships, Va Va Voom, Masquerade, Hell Yeah, Freedom, Marilyn Monroe
Skip: Gun Shot, Sex in the Lounge, Champion, Young Forever, High School
Based on Tracks: 22/29 - 76% - 379 points
Plays: 262 points
Total - 641 points

3. Madonna - MDNA
 The driving force behind pop music for decades returns this year with what could potentially rank up as one of her best albums. Never being much of a Madge fan prior to this album, it really grabbed my attention and made me fall in love. It's a bunch of fun and a whole load of fierce. Definitely better than her last studio effort, Hard Candy.
Key Tracks: Give Me All Your Luvin' (feat. MIA & Nicki Minaj), I Don't Give A (feat. Nicki Minaj), Girl Gone Wild, Turn Up the Radio, Gang Bang, Falling Free
Skip: I'm Addicted, B-day Song
Based on Tracks: 14/16 -  88% - 438 points
Plays: 238 points
Total - 672 points

2. Ke$ha - Warrior
The Glitter Queen cometh! Her second full length studio effort blew me away. This electro pop album mixed with some "cock-rock" and rock elements makes for a perfect follow-up to Animal/Cannibal. I have yet to decide which of K$'s albums I like the best, but all the time waiting for this paid off.
Key Tracks: Thinking of You, Gold Trans Am, Warrior, Die Young, C'mon, Wonderland, Crazy Kids, Wherever You Are
Skip: Only Wanna Dance With You
Based on Tracks: 15/16 94% - 469 points
Plays: 305 points
Total - 774 points

1. P!nk - The Truth About Love
 While people will probably base this on my bias towards my number one love, this is a completely fair decision. P!nk has delivered the most solid and amazing pop rock album of 2012. It is incredibly solid including the bonus tracks and b-side. I am still singing along to this album in the car daily event thought it was released in September.
Key Tracks: Try, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Slut Like You, My Signature Move, Is This Thing On?, Walk of Shame, Just Give Me a Reason (feat. Nate Ruess), True Love (feat. Lily Rose Cooper)
Skip: Chaos and Piss
Based on Tracks: 18/19 - 95% - 474 points
Plays: 408 points
Total - 882 points

And there you have it: the top 30 albums of 2012! Many great albums and songs were released over the course of the year and I cannot wait to see what 2013 holds in store! Until then, take time to get to know the albums on this list you don't know!  





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