Our pick of the 10 best albums of 2012 featuring Emeli Sande, Pink, Rita Ora, Olly Murs and Coldplay.
10. Rita Ora ‘Ora’
Personally signed to Roc Nation by the best talent spotter in the business - Jay-Z – Rita Ora proved that she was worthy of all those Rihanna, Beyoncé and Aaliyah comparisons with her storming debut album ‘Ora’. Featuring songwriting and production credits from the likes of Sia, Chase & Status, Diplo and Switch, it’s a huge record that peaks with smash hit singles ‘How We Do (Party)’, ‘R.I.P.’ and the colossal DJ Fresh collaboration ‘Hot Right Now’. Roll on Rita’s Radioactive Tour in February!
9. Mumford & Sons: ‘Babel’
Since the release of their BRIT Award winning debut album ‘Sigh No More’, London-based folk rockers Mumford & Sons have slowly been growing in stature in reputation. It was no surprise then when their sublime second album ‘Babel’ stormed to number one on both sides of the Atlantic and picked up a jaw-dropping six Grammy Award nominations. As exemplified on lead single ‘I Will’, the record is a cacophony of rousing sing-along choruses, heartstring-tugging vocals and, of course, epic banjo-strumming. Get it right now - you won’t be disappointed!
8. Pink ‘The Truth About Love’
Pink isn’t just a pop star, she’s a true artist. Her sixth studio album ‘The Truth About Love’ is a heartfelt, feisty and lyrically direct look at love, life and sex. Listening to it you feel as though Pink is opening up her soul to you, yet crucially from the pop anthem ‘Blow Me (One Last Kiss)’ to the Eminem guesting ‘Here Comes The Weekend’ and the emotionally charged ‘Try’, it delivers on the big tunes too. A superb album.
7. Labrinth ‘Electronic Earth’
In February 2010 Mr Timothy McKenzie (aka Labrinth) exploded onto the scene co-writing, producing and performing on Tinie Tempah’s thunderous smash ‘Pass Out’. Two year’s on and he finally dispatched his own electrifying debut album ‘Electronic Earth’. An album that really has everything, it has moments of poignant beauty (‘Beneath Your Beautiful’), electro-grime carnage (‘Earthquake’), breezy summer anthems (‘Let The Sun Shine’) and slick R&B synthpop (‘Last Time’). ‘Electronic Earth’ really is as essential as a heartbeat.
6. Olly Murs ‘Right Time, Right Place’
Three years on from being thrust into the limelight on The X Factor and Essex’s prodigal son Olly Murs has delivered the album of his career! As lead singles go, they don’t get much better than the highly catchy Flo Rida collaboration ‘Troublemaker’ but if you thought that was a one-off you’d be massively wrong. A sure-fire future number one contender ‘Army Of Two’, for example, is a pop stomper complete with military drums and a massive chorus, while ‘Dear Darlin’, complete with its sweeping strings and trip-hop beats, is genuinely moving. Your record collection really would be a poorer place without ‘Right Place Right Time.’
5. Rihanna ‘Unapologetic’
Before ‘Unapologetic’ had even been released, the biggest pop star on Planet Earth had already stole endless column inches thanks to its ultra-raunchy artwork. Much more than a marketing gimmick though, the music the album contained proved to be worthy of the media hype! Guest spots from Eminem, Chris Brown and David Guetta all lived up to their big name billings while the Sia Furler penned lead single ‘Diamonds’ is a pop masterclass. The surprising highlight though is upcoming Mikky Ekko collaboration ‘Stay’ which ranks one of the Bajan superstar’s greatest moments yet. Is there any stopping Rihanna?! We seriously doubt it…
4. Bruno Mars ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’
Hawaii’s finest musical export lit up the music world with his BRIT Award winning debut album ‘Doo Wops & Hooligans’ last year and thankfully his second record ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’ far from disappoints! Led by the funk-tastic and slightly raunchy ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’, the hyper-eclectic album melds soul, pop, reggae and R&B to startling effect. Better still it’s all glued together by Bruno’s sonorous, soulful and inimitable voice. Expect the album to spawn yet more big hits in 2013!
3. Coldplay ‘Mylo Xyloto’
Already the biggest indie band on the block, rather than rest on their laurels and churn out the tried formula Coldplay upped the ante and pushed musical boundaries with their bizarrely titled thematic rock opera album. The move paid off in style! As vibrant and musically dazzling as the kaleidoscopic graffiti that adorns its artwork, it’s an album of staggering ambition, massive choruses and grand textures. As if that wasn’t enough they even drafted in Bajan megstar Rihanna for the delectable ‘Princess Of China’. An extraordinary record.
2. Robbie Williams ‘Take The Crown’
After the relative disappointment of 2009’s ‘Reality Killed The Video Star’, Robbie’s ninth studio album ‘Take The Crown’ is the sound of a man at the top of his game once again! An album of great depth, it’s packed with many musical styles veering from the buoyant saxophone tooting pop of ‘Candy’ to the hypnotic ‘Hunting For You’ and the epic stadium filling anthems like current single ‘Different’. Album number 10 can’t come soon enough!
1. Emeli Sandé ‘Our Version Of Events’
A natural successor to Adele’s ‘21’, Emeli Sandé’s immaculate debut album oozes class from start to finish! Never wavering in its brilliance, there are highlights aplenty from the Massive Attack-esque sweeping strings of ‘Heaven’ to the beautiful ‘Clown’ to the anthem of positivity ‘Mountains’ and the joyous ‘Next To Me’. Penned entirely by Emeli herself and all delivered in her flawless, unique voice, ‘Our Version Of Events’ mapped the Scottish songstress out as one of the decade’s great new musical talents. Little wonder it’s the best selling record of 2012!