10. FUN. – SOME NIGHTS
This was a group no one could get away from. I wasn’t a fan of all the synth and autotune at first, but eventually it grew on me. I discovered The Format a long time ago and fell in love with that group. And while I wish The Format was still around, fun. is doing a pretty good job at keeping the music going.
fun. – Some Nights
9. LANA DEL REY – BORN TO DIE
If your significant other played this album nonstop on repeat and wouldn’t switch albums no matter how many times you asked, it’d be on your Top 10 list too. Say what you will about Lana Del Rey, but her “horrible” performance on Saturday Night Live was the best thing that could have happened to her. It got everyone talking about her album, and to be honest, it’s really quite catchy.
Lana Del Rey – Video Games
8. MIKA – THE ORIGIN OF LOVE
Oh, Mika! I have been waiting impatiently for this album since I discovered the British pop artist last year, grabbed up every he did and saw him performing dressed as 17th century royalty at the Human Rights Campaign dinner. “The Origin of Love’ is very dance heavy and make you want to throw all your cares away and just dance like a complete fool.
Mika – Celebrate
7. BEN KWELLER – GO FLY A KITE
I’m very surprised that this album didn’t get more attention. It ranks up there with his 2006 self-titled album, which is one of my favorites of his. This album only brings me back to the classic Ben Kweller sounds and makes me want to dance along with every song.
Ben Kweller – Jealous Girl
6. FIRST AID KIT – THE LION’S ROAR
This was a nice little gem I discovered earlier this year and put on the backburner for many months before finally picking it up again and giving it another chance. The songs are so simple yet elegant, I just loved hearing everything these ladies had to offer.
First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
5. LOVEDRUG – WILD BLOOD
God bless the publicity agent who told me that this group was performing at Kingdom earlier this year. She was nice enough to send me a copy of “Wild Blood” and I was hooked the moment I started playing. Dark, melodic rock filled my ears and I found myself wanting more and loving it the more I hear it.
Lovedrug – Dinosaur
4. THE OFFSPRING – DAYS GO BY
Listening to the Offspring always makes me smile. They’ve been my favorite band since high school and I remember the days were I would fall asleep listening to every album they had on my CD Walkman. The So-Cal punks don’t really do anything new on this album, but they manage to invoke the history and style of every one of their albums since 1994. It’s an album for the crazy fans like me.
The Offspring – The Future Is Now
3. GREG LASWELL – LANDLINE
Greg Laswell was the king of sad love songs. The simple songs of life and heartbreak were prevalent in all of his songs. Now he’s no longer the sad man he used to be (he married the beautiful and talented Ingrid Michaelson, how sad can you be?) but still manages to put out a stellar record with guest vocals from lovely ladies including Michaelson, Sara Bareilles and Sia. He still manages to get in sad songs here and there, but it a very nice progression for Laswell.
Greg Laswell – Come Back Down (feat. Sara Bareilles)
2. PASSENGER – ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS
I’ve always enjoyed British-based folk band (really it’s just one man, Mike Rosenberg) Passenger and loved everything he’s ever worked on, but there’s something about this album that just stands out. Maybe it’s the intricate lyrics or maybe it’s the simple and almost genius way he puts songs together. There’s a definite progression over the course of Passenger’s career and the songs just keep getting better.
Passenger – The Wrong Direction
1. PLUSHGUN – ME. ME.
If any album defined this year, it was Plushgun’s synth pop antics found throughout “Me. Me.” Whether the song is dance friendly (“I Like It”) or slow and somber (“Mixtapes”), this album just hits you upside the head and makes you take notice, not understanding why it’s still under the radar.
Plushgun – Freeze the Frame