My Top Ten Albums Of 2012

Regina Spektor5.  Regina Spektor, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats – When Regina Spektor releases a new record, her fans can expect another helping of quirky, clever pop, but beyond that fact, anything goes. What We Saw… delivers on what makes her music so unique. One moment she has you laughing; the next, she’s breaking your heart. Even though some of the songs are too precious for their own good, this album is yet another solid effort.  (Best of the Best: “All The Rowboats,” “Firewood,” “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)”)

4. Mumford & Sons, Babel – Mumford & Sons made a splash a couple of years back with their Mumford and SonsBritish take on Americana. With Babel, they’ve raised the bar. Passionate vocals and impeccable instrumentation deliver tunes that dwell on heavy concepts: grace, faith, despair. And each song is its own rewarding and beautiful story.  (Best of the Best: “The Boxer,” “I Will Wait,” “Lover Of The Light”)

Green River Ordinance3. Green River Ordinance, Under Fire – I’ve been a fan of Texas band Green River Ordinance for a few years now, and I eagerly awaited this album. They didn’t disappoint, delivering a fresh slice of pop-rock. Big rocking anthems juxtapose with soaring ballads, and the result is something truly satisfying. Under Fire is one you’ll listen to over and over.  (Best of the Best: “Love Laid Down,” “San Antone,” “Home”)

2. Connor Pledger, Fight Or Flight – With his second album, my friend Connor Pledger Connor Pledgerraises the bar on his already promising career. He mines a similar soulful pop-rock territory as he did on his debut, Detours, but while Detours was a stripped-down, acoustic affair, Fight Or Flight brings in a full band and backing vocalists. Connor writes and sings great songs with clever turns of phrase, and this album hints at more incredible music to come from him. (Best of the Best: “Rebound Man,” “The Rough,” “By My Side”)

Zac Brown Band1. Zac Brown Band, Uncaged – The boys from Georgia have done it again – Zac Brown Band have managed to outdo themselves on an album that changes genres like a free form radio station. Country, bluegrass, rock, reggae, soul, island pop…you name it, and chances are you’ll hear it on Uncaged. The band’s musicianship is especially tight, the songwriting (involving other members of the Southern Ground family) is top notch, and the vocals soar head and shoulders above everyone else’s. I can only imagine how great these songs are going to sound live, and that’s one test of a good album. (Best of the Best: “Day That I Die,” “Goodbye In Her Eyes,” “The Wind”)