The Young Folks’ Best Music of 2012

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The Young Folks writers have come together to list the very best in pop culture for the year 2012!

From Bruno Mars to Imagine Dragons, our tastes in music differ, but there’s no doubt that 2012 gave us some great music. Check out each writer’s list below, and tell us which albums and songs were your favorite this year in the comments!

Caroline Cohen’s Top Albums of 2012

After long hours of trying, to come up with my Top 10 Albums of this year were possibly the hardest hours to go through. I hate ranking- no wait, I hate choosing what album was the best. This year was a fantastic year for music, and I am so sad it had to come down to just 10 albums, but after long hours of pondering my thoughts, here are the results. (I would’ve included The Black Keys’ El Camino, but unfortunately it came out at the end of 2011, not qualifying for this 2012 list.)

So here it goes, the top ten:

1. Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

This album is absolutely flawless. Imagine Dragons is a band that anyone can listen to. The only downside to the band is that they only have one album and one EP and most of the songs, except “Round and Round” and “My Fault,” aren’t on the album. This album is really great for just about any mood you are in, studying, road tripping, and even bad breakups. The album went platinum, and they are headlining their first tour in 2013. You can check out their tour dates here:

Favorite Songs: Nothing Left to Say/ Rocks & Bleeding Out


2. Matisyahu – Spark Seeker

I have always been a fan of Matisyahu, but I must say this album is really awesome. Like all of Matisyahu’s songs, this album continues the message of perseverance. Spark Seeker is great for working out and road tripping.  This album makes you feel like you can do anything. Matisiyahu is a religious Jew, and with his reggae feel he conveys, you wouldn’t guess that he has never performed on a Friday night. He went on tour with The Dirty Heads in the summer, and now he is going on tour again! You can check his tour dates here:

Favorite Song: Breathe Easy

3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange


Frank Ocean, to some controversial and overrated, to others the future of his wasn’t so odd (because he is part of Odd Future; it was a joke). Frank Ocean was anticipated to get big with his appearance on the Jay-Z and Kanye West album, Watch the Throne, in the songs “No Church in the Wild” and “Made in America.” It seems as if you are hanging out with Jay-Z ,you are destined to get big. (And being a Jay-Z fan, I wouldn’t mind hanging out with him.) The album is truly awesome. There are so many vibes you get throughout the album. I truly enjoyed this album. Frank Ocean isn’t on tour right now, but there have been rumors of a tour in the summer of 2013 in the UK.

Favorite song: Pyramids

4. Passion Pit – Gossamer

I was so glad that this album came out during the summertime; it reminds me of pink lemonade but that just may have to do with the coloring of the album artwork. The band consist of a lead vocalist who threads the album with his electro-falsetto voice singing about getting over a relationship and moving on in a more organic way per say. It stresses the value of time in moving on. This disco/ electro- pop album makes painful breakups feel like regret and moving on feel like a necessity. Each song starts with some type of synth tune, or an unexpected beginning; when listening to it straight through, it just seems like a movie. My favorite song off the album is, “Hideaway.” I really love how he expresses his emotions through the odd melodies that they put the whole song together.


Favorite Song: Hideaway

5. Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon

I waited two whole years for this album, and it was worth it! I don’t know how something so awesome could possibly occur. At first I didn’t like the album as much as the first one but in this album I feel as if the band really explores more, and who can argue with exploring? Exploring is fun, and entertaining not only to the band but to their listeners as well. The band really went out of their comfort zone with this album. The lyrics were better and the vibes were more intense. They added some horns to some of their songs, which was fun.

Favorite song(s): Sun and Sleep Alone (I couldn’t choose between the two!)

6. Greg Laswell – Landline

Married to Ingrid Michaelson, Greg Laswell made my top 10 from just being married to her. Just kidding; this album was amazing. Although Laswell isn’t the most fun person to listen to while working out, he is soothing and just really cool. The album is refreshing and interesting. It featured some of my favorite songwriters like Laswell himself, Sia (the one made of titanium; she has pretty cool stuff other than just that song), Ingrid Michaelson, and Sara Barielles (who didn’t write you a love song, but came out with a brilliant EP you should check out regardless of her ability to take orders). The album is great for reading a book, writing, or experiencing literature. I like to do my English essays by listening to this album. It is a great album to get you into New Year and back into your daily life.

Favorite song: Nicely Played

7. Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts

The awesome Norah Jones is inspirational, soothing, amazing, pretty, and phenomenal. She is one of my favorite female artists. This album is really nonchalant, if that’s possible. She is so easy to listen to. This album was released in April 2012, and it is her fifth studio album. Danger Mouse produced this album (he produced a few of the Black Keys Albums, Gnarls Barkley’s and Beck’s too). He’s a really iconic producer in my eyes because he has done a lot with alternative music.  The single of this album was the song, “Happy Pills.” I truly enjoy Norah Jones all the time, and this album just adds to her awesomeness, which by now is almost impossible.

Favorite Song: After the Fall

8. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

If you didn’t know, I love Twitter. Why? Well, I won tickets to a secret rooftop show in New York City with a beautiful view of the city. There I had ears that were thoroughly entertained with beautiful sounds and eyes that were graced with this awesome band from New Zealand. They are on tour around Europe and Asia; so if you’re around there, you should definitely check them out here:!live/  The album is really cool to listen to, it’s like something you listen to when the weather is “just right.” For example, on the beach or by the pool, or when the snow is just tall enough for a snowball fight that you won’t use all of the snow.

Favorite Song: Six Weeks

9. Dirty Heads – Cabin by the Sea

Wow, this album was intense. I don’t know which of the two albums they produced I like more, but this album had a lot of intensity. I love the Dirty Heads because their lyrics are so complex and they make you think. I personally love their use of percussion and horns throughout the album; it’s fun and funky. I recommend checking these guys out; both albums are great, and it’s really just funky reggae, if you’re into rap and like hanging out.

Favorite song(s): “Smoke Rings” (Feat. Del the Funky Homosapien) and Dance All Night (feat. Matisiyahu)

10. John Mayer – Born and Raised

The much-anticipated John Mayer album came out this year, his first studio album in three years. People either loved this album or hated it because John Mayer seems like he is going through a phase, and a country phase at that. He had a country hat, long hair, and bootleg jeans, flannel shirts, desert boots and obviously the oversized belt. I am not one for country music, but I actually enjoyed the album. This album was definitely a change of pace of him, but it wasn’t as “country” as some may say. I am always going to be a John Mayer fan. I really cannot find one song that I don’t like off of all of his albums. This wasn’t my favorite album of his, but it was still awesome. I hope he does go back to a jazzy/funky feel in his music, but I did enjoy this album, and I am glad that he put it out. Unfortunately, Mayer isn’t going on tour due to some throat issues. But don’t worry, this isn’t the last of John Mayer,

Favorite song(s): If I Ever Get Around to Living and Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967


Gabrielle Bondi’s Top Albums of 2012

1. Halcyon by Ellie Goulding

Frankly, I just can’t stop listening to Halcyon. I love every single song on this album. It’s darker and deeper in tone than Goulding’s first album and just a much more moving album. If you only know Ellie Goulding as that girl who sings the annoyingly overplayed “Lights,” listen to this album, and your mind will be changed.

2. Coexist by The xx

I loved The xx’s first album, but I loved this one more. Nothing calms and centers me like this band, and the tracks on their latest album are on point.

3. Channel Orange by Frank Ocean

Any top albums list without Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange is incomplete! Without a doubt, Frank is one of this year’s best breakout artists. If you aren’t listening to him already, you’re totally missing out.

4. Unorthodox Jukebox by Bruno Mars

Mars’ ambitious new album is a great one. As he tries to conquer as many genres as possible, I’m jamming along. It’s some of his best work to date.

5. The Hunger Games Companion Soundtrack – Various Artists

The Hunger Games brought together some of music’s best artists. From Miranda Lambert to Maroon 5, each song on this soundtrack is beautifully composed and performed.


Luciana Villalba’s Top 10 Music Albums of 2012

1. “Channel Orange” by Frank Ocean

2. “good kid m.A.A.d city” by Kendrick Lamar


3. “Coexist” by The xx

4. “Unorthodox Jukebox” by Bruno Mars

5. “Halcyon” by Ellie Goulding

6. “Is Your Love Big Enough?” by Lianne La Havas

7. “Trilogy” by The Weeknd

8. “Babel” by Mumford & Sons

9. “1992” by Azealia Banks

10. “Believe” by Justin Bieber


Alex Hanavan’s Top 10 Albums of 2012

1. Phoenix – The Classic Crime

Favorite songs: You And Me Both, The Precipice, Glass Houses

2. The Carpenter – The Avett Brothers

Favorite songs: Live And Die, Winter In My Heart, Down With The Shine

3. Chapter V – Trey Songz

Favorite songs: Dive In, Heart Attack, 2 Reasons, Forever Yours

4. Babel – Mumford and Sons

Favorite songs: I Will Wait, Lover’s Eyes, Broken Crown

5. Night Visions – Imagine Dragons

Favorite songs: It’s Time, Fallen

6. The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Favorite songs: Submarines, Charlie Boy, Flapper Girl

7. Overexposed – Maroon 5

Favorite songs: Daylight, Love Somebody, Beautiful Goodbye

8. Channel Orange – Frank Ocean

Favorite songs: Thinkin Bout You, Pyramids, Bad Religion, Forrest Gump

9. Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars

Favorite songs: Gorilla, Money Make Her Smile

10. Some Nights – fun.

Favorite songs: Some Nights, Carry On,


Annie Rishty’s Top 10 Songs of 2012

1. “Lights” by Ellie Goulding

2. “Spectrum” by Florence and the Machine

3. “Die Young” by Kesha

4. “Beautiful Sinner” by Nicki Minaj

5. “Glad You Came” by The Wanted

6. “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry

7. “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber

8. “International Love” by Pitbull

9. “Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris

10. “Whistle” by Flo Rida


Allyson Johnson’s Top 10 Albums

1. Of Monsters and Men – “My Head is An Animal”

2. Imagine Dragons – “Night Visions”

3. Frank Ocean – “channel ORANGE”

4. Beach House – “Bloom”

6. How to Dress Well – “Total Loss”

7. The Tallest Man on Earth – “There’s No Leaving Now”

8. Andrew Bird – “Break it Yourself”

9. Murder by Death – “Bitter Moon Bitter Drink”

10. Sharon Van Etlen –  “Tramp”


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