1. Bob Dylan – Tempest
“Playing to the big crowds Playing to the cheap seats
Another day in your life until your journey’s end
Shine your light, move it on, you burn so bright, roll on John”
When Tempest was released back in September.. I listened to the album intensely for a couple of weeks… It was very likable.. I felt it was way better than Together Through Life & probably better than Modern Times. Now @ EndYear I’m still not certain how good it is.. when you admire an artist as much as I do with Dylan.. this is serious shit. It is however better than TTL, Modern Times.. I’m not sure. Anyhow.. It’s the best new album released this year.
There are at least 3 masterpieces on Tempest (and some really good songs in addition to those three) and that earns it the top spot on my year-end list. It is funny to see how it has divided people, it has become a love it or hate it record, we love it. Dylan has changed his singing style (because he has to) and he has changed his music, as he has done so many times before. And everytime he do this, people seem to get offended, it is personal to them, I can understand that, but open up, let the new Dylan in, you will be rewarded with the best album in 2012. Fact.
- Egil: Tempest, Roll On John, Scarlet Town & Tin Angel
- Hallgeir: Tin Angel, Pay in Blood, Scarlet Town, Soon after midnight
2. Justin Townes Earle
– Nothing’s gonna change the way I feel about you now
“Hear my father on the radio singing “Take Me Home Again”
300 miles from the Carolina coast and I’m
I’m skin and bones again
Sometimes I wish that I could get away
Sometimes I wish that he’d just call
Am I that lonely tonight, I don’t know…”
Justin Townes Earle has returned with his 5th album and it is a great one, more Memphis, less Nashville but still very, very good. Again he’s brutally honest, and this album is almost painful in it’s honesty, he really puts himself down. It doesn’t make me pity him, it makes me think that I repect a man that has such insights and has the nerve to face his demons. It sounds as if it’s born out of recovery, and it probably is…
His melodic sense is fabulous and the lyrics are getting better with each release.
Honest country songwriting with a Memphis sound.
- Egil: Am I that lonely tonight?, Look the other way, Nothing’s gonna change the way you feel about me now
- Hallgeir: Look the other way, Nothing’s gonna change the way you feel about me now, Memphis in the rain, Am I that lonely tonight?
3. Patterson Hood –
Heat lightning rumbles in the distance
“I was 27, my band broke up, I got divorced and left my hometown to live in Memphis…”
Pain, Booze & guilt has often helped artists create great art… There is a lot of all three in this collection of songs from the Drive-By Truckers front man. These are heartfelt songs telling stories from a period in Patterson Hoods life when he was really down… even considered suicide.
“… My car got stolen, our band’s truck got stripped and I fell in love. I fell out with my family (who I was very, very close to) and had my heart broken. I seriously pondered killing myself several times but instead wrote literally over 500 songs in a three-year period.”
~Patterson Hood (from promotional materials for Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance.)
Nearly all songs on this album are great, but Come Back Little Star shines brightest.. and is a strong contender for a top 5 position on my list for the best new songs of 2012.
- Egil: Come Back Little Star, (untold pretties), 12:01 & Leaving Time
- Hallgeir: Come back little star, (untold pretties), After the damage, Leaving Time
4. Jack White – Blunderbuss
“And you’ll be watching me, girl
Taking over the world
Let the stripes unfurl
Gettin’ rich, singin’ poor boy”
“Blues singers and people who are singing on stage have the same feelings and emotions that someone who is called to be a priest might have.” – Jack White
Music is Jack White’s calling, it is his mission in life, and we at JV are regulars when he preaches. Jack White is a musical genius. He’s a rock auteur. You can hear “his voice” on everything he’s involved in. That is a good thing, and his first solo album really shines.
The music is less raw than with The White Stripes, this doesn’t mean that it is too polished, but I guess that it is an easier introduction into Mr. White’s world than any of his previous projects. His chosen musicians are a tight band and they really brings something to, and enhances his songs. His solo project sounds more like a band than The White Stripes ever did (for the record, I really love The White Stripes).
A tight band and Jack’s guitar explosions on a marvelous break-up record.
- Egil: Sixteen Saltines, Freedom at 21, Blunderbuss & Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
- Hallgeir: Sixteen Saltines, Freedom at 21, Love interruption, Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
5. The South – The South
This album is the one I’ve played most often in 2012, and I do not get tired of it. It is a great americana album. It’s varied and very well produced by Motorpsycho’s Bent Sæther. It sometimes sound like Little Feat, sometimes Allman Brothers, then The Band and then in goes into the Laurel Canyon landscape. The South is an extremely competent band and they really know their music history.The ballad, Walk in your shadow (a duet with Ida Jenshus) sounds like classic Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris . This may sound as if they’re not original, but they are, you listen to a song and even if it reminds you of former bands it still sounds brand new.
The album has a soft organic sound, but the band dynamics really comes through, and the guitars are still the main instrument.
The 5th best international album this year and clearly the best Norwegian album in 2012.
…the best part of the album is when the guitars are let loose on I’ll be the one, about 3.45 into the song and right until the end, magnificent!
Country, soul and rock’n roll in one big stew.
I’ve just gotta add one comment here.. “The South” is a wonderful album.. BUT live in concert.. they even sound way better! A great live band!
- Egil: Can’t find my way back home, I’ll be the one, Walk in your shadow, Juggernaut
- Hallgeir: Can’t find my way back home, I’ll be the one, Walk in your shadow, Juggernaut
6 thoughts on “Best albums of 2012: number 1 to 5”
“Tempest” is epic. But I find it hard to compare with Together Through Life. I LOVE TTL. I don’t know why so many think it to be inferior to anything Bob’s done recently. It is such a different Bob album with an incredible Tex-Mex feel and with songs like I Feel A Change Coming On, Beyond Here Lies Nothin’, and Forgetful Heart, I think it is a modern Bob classic. Just my 2 cents.
It’s always hard to compare… but I love lists… and to make my own lists I need to compare all the time 🙂
I think TTL is a great album.. but only a good Bob Dylan album.
Hey Egil: I cannot find the eponymous record by The South. I even checked in my favorite Americana record stop, http://www.villagerecords.com
Help. Please. I found a sample of something I THINK was “Coming Home” and it intrigues me. Thanks. Love this site..JRL
We think if you contact them directly through their facebook page they will help you get a copoy, or tell where to buy the album.
Thank you for the kind words. 🙂
Great list. I am going to have to check out that Justin Townes Earle release.
He is an in credible artist, great singer, songwriter and guitar player. We saw him do a Lightning Hopkins cover last summer, it was amazing!
Thanks for the feedback.
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