2012 in Review: Best Albums of 2012

albums of 2012True fact — I wrote an albums of 2012 post last week but stupidly lost it. Thanks, WordPress autosave. Thanks a bunch.

Anyway… those who have followed my writing journey from its origins will be aware that in a previous life, I was a music blogger. I wrote for a few websites as well as a portfolio of my own, and I loved doing what I did. However, as the creative writing and blogging became more serious, I found it difficult to juggle responsibilities, so was forced to cut my music blogging short, at least for the time being.

The passion for music has certainly not died though. How could it? 2012 has been a sensational year for music. I usually struggle with these best albums lists, but the battle for the top spot this year has been something else entirely. The fury-infused experimental hip-hop of Death Grips; the two-hour soundscape-drenched synth-pop of Chromatics; the Lennon-esque riffs of Tame Impala… 2012 has been a headache, but the best sort of headache.

I’m well aware that this is a book blog, but as music is such a big part of my life, I find it hard to ignore. Also, I love lists. Bloody love them.

So, without no further ado, my list of the twenty best albums of 2012, in reverse order. No skipping to number one.

20. Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

19. Dan Deacon – America

18. alt-J – An Awesome Wave

17. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

16. Grizzly Bear – Shields

15. Japandroids – Celebration Rock

14. Mac Demarco – 2

13. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light

12. John Talabot – Fin

11. Hot Chip – In Our Heads

10. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

9. Beach House – Bloom

8. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

7. Purity Ring – Shrines

6. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

5. Grimes – Visions

4. POLIÇA – Give You The Ghost

3. Death Grips – The Money Store/NO LOVE DEEP WEB

2. Tame Impala – Lonerism

1. Chromatics – Kill For Love


So, there you have it! My twenty best albums of 2012. It’s been a bloody good year, that much can be said. I had a real nightmare deciding my number one, and it seems some top music publications have had the same headache. In the end, I went for Chromatics not because it’s the most flawless album of 2012. That accolade probably goes to Tame Impala. I went for Chromatics because of the effect it has had on the rest of my listening habits. Sure, some would argue a bit of outside editing would aid the experience, but I think it works very nicely indeed as the opus it is.

Anyway, I’ve created a Spotify playlist of my favourites too, so you can make your own minds up.

Oh, and about music — being one of my passions, writing aside, I will probably blog about it more in 2013. Of course, it won’t all be about music, but perhaps a review of an album that I enjoy. Sounds fair, right?

What We Saw $25/£20 Amazon voucher

Thanks to all who shared the news of What We Saw‘s release. You’ve really helped make it a successful week indeed. I ran a little giveaway for a $25/£20 Amazon voucher for a lucky person who shared the news, and I’m delighted to say that the winner is… Ella Clarke! I’ll contact you with your voucher.

To everyone else — thanks for sharing. Much appreciated!

I’ll be back to writing matters on Friday with a sneak-peek into 2013! Until then… happy listening and happy reading!

Are you a music fan? What are your favourite releases of 2012, and why? Do you listen to music whilst writing or prefer the sweet sound of silence?

Image courtesy of fensterbme via Flickr


  1. Thanks for sharing your top albums, Ryan. I’m going to have to check some of those out. I have to be honest though – Japandroids and alt-J were the only groups I’m familiar with, but I’m always excited to discover new artists. Music is also a big part of my life and also my writing experience, and each book usually has a “soundtrack” that I revisit during my productive times. What about you? Do you have music going while you’re writing, or are you a dead-silence kind of guy?

    • Good question, Will, and I might actually add it to the bottom of the post if you don’t mind!

      I used to think I preferred silence whilst writing, but due to my living circumstances over the past three years or so at university, silence is something that’s pretty hard to achieve, as you can imagine. So I tend to stick my headphones in whilst writing nowadays. If anything, it enriches the experience. I find the changing moods in songs taking the writing on a journey of its own… unbelievable how powerful sound can be.

      I find actual soundtracks work pretty well with writing. Two I am particularly fond of are Cliff Martinez’s ‘Drive’ score, and Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross’ ‘The Social Network’ and ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ soundtracks. Any favourites of your own?

      • Howard Shore’s Return of the King, James Newton Howard’s The Village and John Williams’ Adventures of Tin Tin are three I keep coming back to. I have a playlist of several dozen soundtracks and I put it on shuffle and write away. I will have to check out your choices as well!


  1. Writing in 2013: A Sneak-Peek of What's Next... • Ryan Casey - [...] but I pretty much covered things in a series of posts, from the lessons I’ve learned to my favourite …

Don't be shy - leave a comment!

%d bloggers like this: