Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
Call it what you will, but Lana Del Rey's record is one of a kind. Kanye West producer Emile Haynie perfectly fuses classical orchestration, electronic synthesization, and hip-hop for a new brand of POP. Lana has officially crowned herself America's tragic retro-glam Princess, formerly known as Lolita, also a song on her album. She may be a fake, but the sun-baked nostalgia we feel while listening to these songs is 100% real. A gorgeous record. Our favorite cuts include Dark Paradise, Radio, and Summertime Sadness.
Tanlines - Mixed Emotions
Though this album should have been released 2 years ago, what it lacks in evolution it more than makes up for in sentimentality, warmth, & attention to detail. Purveyors of moody, melancholy synthPOP, Eric Emm & Jesse Cohen created a masterful album about the reluctance to leave safe spaces & enter the dangerous terrain of full-blown adulthood. We can relate.
The Shins - Port of Morrow
A lovely listen from start to finish, The Shins' latest musical venture leaves other trendsters' attempts at music mute. Propelled mostly by James Mercer's signature lyricism & knack for timeless melody, Greg Kurstin also lends his professional touches as co-producer. A timeless indie POP album, individual songs like 40 Mark Strasse are also a must-hear.
Fun. - Some Nights
Like Lana's Born To Die, Some Nights represents genre fusion. Here we have indie rock, musical theatre, and hip-hop jumbled together. However, Jeff Bhasker, another Kanye producer, didn't blend said genres as smoothly as his colleague, Emile, did for Lana. Still, it's a worthy listen. Lead singer, Nate Ruess, has rightfully been compared to Freddie Mercury. Plus, we can't resist guitarist and backup vocalist, Jack Antonoff. His pro-LGBT stance, Jew-fro, and arm definition turn us ON. Scarlett Johansson may have lost her high school sweetheart, but we'll be happy to find him.
Marina & the Diamonds - Electra Heart
A quintessentially hit or miss album. Marina has progressed, but she's come farthest with the producer she started with, Liam Howe. Though this album is difficult to generalize, it's quite blah, generally. Read our review & don't miss the unforgettable Teen Idle.
There you have it, our top 5 POP albums of 2012, so far. Thankfully, there's still much more to come. What do you think, dear readers?
Gregory & Minna