Best of 2012 Countdown: Top 40 Albums – Part 4: The Top Ten!

As the triple j Hottest 100 opens up its digital doors for voting in its 2012 edition, we come to an end of our top 40 albums list with ten phenomenal albums. Stay tuned for our top 40 songs of 2012… they’ll be launching tomorrow and running through to the New Year!

Mumford & Sons – Babel

Such a great follow up to their debut. They maintained their recognizable folk-rock style while still producing music that was both interesting and different. After the overwhelming success of “Little Lion Man”, it may not have done as well as it should, but this is an album which only continues that success. Oh, and then there’s the live show… – Ruby Niemann

Sigur Ros – Valtari

The imagery this album conjures up is gorgeous; this is everything you’d be expecting from the band following their hibernation/hiatus period, and more… – Sosefina Fuamoli

Father John Misty – Fear Fun

In a year where acts like Lana Del Ray & Nicky Minaj ruled charts, Father John Misty was a breath of fresh air. Always one to engage the crowd, even when he was behind the drum kit in Fleet Foxes, this album sounds like a man releasing something he had been wanting to get out for some time. Although his earlier solo albums were great, this one has a life that jumps from the speaker every time I play it. What’s more, unlike some of the aforementioned artists, nobody ‘told’ me I should like this album. I just do. – Cam Ewart

Alt-J – An Awesome Wave

Coming out of relative obscurity to release one of the best and most original albums of the year, Alt-J have had an incredible 2012. They’ve toured the world, garnered an amazing amount of praise and have come out the other side seeming like genuinely humbled dudes. But at the end of the day it’s all about An Awesome Wave which in its own title sums up the album better than I could myself. It’s definitely a fun ride and every time I turn the record on, it’s not one I ever want to finish… They’ll be back in the country for Laneway. – Larry Heath

Grizzly Bear – Shields

Bettering Veckatimest was always going to be a challenge for Grizzly Bear, yet Shields managed to stave away the naysayers. There are rich and warming sounds blended brilliantly with more ethereal. It flawlessly switches between serene and cathartic, without coming across as contrived. Frontmen Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen interweave their vocals throughout songs, blurring the song writing distinction and making for a more harmonious offering. – Nicholas Langley

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Not since D’ Angelo (except maybe Anthony Hamilton) has a crooner so smooth come along and crafted a masterpiece with absolutely no filler. The potential the young Odd Future member showed on Nostalgia, Ultra has now been fully realised and Ocean is well on his way to becoming a household name… if he isn’t already… – Chris Singh

The Rubens – The Rubens

For a band that only formed in 2011, The Rubens have truly nailed it with their self-titled debut album. A fusion of blues, soul, gospel and rock, The Rubens have managed to create a raw yet highly polished sound through gritty guitar licks, explosive percussion & haunting key work. This, blended with the crooning vocals of Sam Margin makes for an absolute stellar album and my top pick for 2012. – Bridget Hustwaite

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

In my books, this is the best album of 2012. I love this album, a lot. It’s an absolutely perfect progression for The Gaslight Anthem. I would really love for this album, and the band, to get more recognition, because it (and they) are so fantastic. This album made my year. – Ruby Niemann

Tame Impala – Lonerism

One of the best sophomore albums of recent years. Truly immersive yet still tremendously catchy and expansive. – Tom Williams

Staking a claim at world domination, Tame’s sophomore album established them as a far greater entity than a mere flash in the pan. Building on the strength of Innerspeaker, Lonerism is exquisitely written, intriguingly produced and brilliantly performed. There is an abundance of textural and aural variety, and it’s difficult to pick a highlight – or a lowlight for that matter – which is testament to the album’s consistency. – Nicholas Langley

Jack White – Blunderbuss

There was a huge hole left in my heart when The White Stripes announced their split in 2011. What was I going to do without new music from my favourite band? Jack White’s album Blunderbuss filled that hole. He manages to bring elements from all of his bands and collaborations, honour his blues and country influences and still sound new and exciting. It’s impossible to choose just one favourite song from this album, which is always the best sign that an album is how it should be; a complete piece of work. – Justine McNamara

Blunderbuss is a glorious, vibrant album that allows Jack White to revel in his love for heartfelt blues rock. Brightened up by energetic piano melodies for songs including “Hypocritical Kiss”, and the occasional use of female vocals for tracks like the open-hearted “Love Interruption”, this album is bursting with charisma. – Lucy Inglis

Blunderbuss is full of that wacky Jack White charisma that we all know and love. The album features a seemingly mish-mashed collection of blues, country and funk with a hint of garage rock paired with dark, thoughtful lyrics and the ramblings of a crazy homeless person. Suffice to say, this first solo effort is as intriguing as the man himself. The hoard of talented female musicians thrown in the vocal mix (including his ex-wife Karen Elson…) juxtapose White’s eclectic style with soft, pitch-perfect sounds, creating a sense of safety at times when tracks seem to go a little off-beat.

This albums gets better, yet no less confusing, with every listen. Highlights include his cover of Little Willie John’s 60’s RnB hit “I’m Shakin'” and the 70’s stoner rock-esque “Sixteen Saltines”. I have so much knife-twising, finger-slamming, mother-murdering love for this album, and can’t wait for more solo White in 2013 and beyond! – Bella Fowler

Jack going solo was the best idea he’s ever had. The three songs, “Missing Pieces”, “Sixteen Saltines” and “Freedom at 21” all still have remnants of the heavier guitar from The White Stripes but by the end you’re left knowing this is just Jack White at his best. Straight from the three heavier and somewhat chaotic songs, with their distorted riffs, in the start, to “Love Interruption” and “Blunderbuss”, slower and acoustic, creates a great contrast which really makes this album. By the end you’re been taken on a journey that shows his development which is why I love it so much, it shows how he’s put all that he’s learnt over his career into one brilliant album! – Sabina Rysnik

This is the album that has had by far the most plays on my itunes in 2012. Seeing Jack White at Splendour in the Grass topped it off for me, this was my favourite album of the year. Jack White is a musical genius and each and every song on Blunderbuss had me wanting to pick up my guitar or sit down at the piano and play. – Amy Lee Freshwater

The Top 40 Countdown: Part 1 (40-31) | Part 2 (30-21) | Part 3 (20-11) | Part 4 (10-1)