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Back to 2012 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    2012, only eight years ago, but it feels so much further away. It was the year the world was supposed to end, and yet the current state of things feels far more apocalyptic than almost anything from 2012.

    Looking at the AbsolutePunk list from this year throws me in two different directions. First, it’s a year with a lot of really great rock albums. From The Menzingers, The Gaslight Anthem, Japandroids, Every Time I Die, and many others. And second, it’s the year of Fun.’s Some Nights. For whatever reason, I forgot that all of this was happening at the same time. In my head, I never associated The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten happening while Fun. was blowing up across the country. It’s weird how time can play tricks on your brain like that.

    At a high level, this staff complied list feels pretty representative of where the music scene was in 2012 and where we, as a publication, were starting to try and branch out a little more with our musical tastes. You see Taylor Swift’s Red on this list, an album that would do very well in our best of the decade list. And you also will find Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar making appearances.1 And then it’s also a year where a lot of heavier music and scene staples were putting out releases. Every Time I Die released Ex Lives, Code Orange Kids released Love is Love / Return to Dust, and Yellowcard put out Southern Air next to Anberlin’s Vital. Whereas last week had me coming to the realization that a lot of the albums in 2011 were great albums that often ended up becoming my least favorite of the bands’ respective catalog, looking at my list from this year is virtually the opposite. This is the year of albums that would, in time, make a run as being my favorite release from some of the bands that feature. It’s my favorite Japandroids record, I think I’ve come to conclude it’s my favorite Yellowcard record, it’s my favorite Every Time I Die record, it’s my favorite All-American Rejects record, and mewithoutYou, Now, Now, Stars, and The Menzingers all make a case as well. I don’t think it’s my favorite The Gaslight Anthem record, but there are times where I think it’s the best Gaslight Anthem record. When I think about the run The Gaslight Anthem had, and include Brian’s work with The Horrible Crowes, it feels like everything was leading to that record. And along with with Fun.’s Some Nights, it is probably what I most associate the year with in my head.

    Seeing the rise of Fun. was one of the more, ugh, fine I’m doing it, “fun” experiences of following this music scene for as long as I have. Seeing all these members of bands I had been following and praising for years finally getting the massive mainstream success I had always thought they were destined for was a joy to watch. From The Format and Steel Train and Anathallo to winning a fucking Grammy? It’s one of my favorite success stories to come from our musical scene. Watching the years of hard work the band members and their team put into that band and it having the success it did, still brings a smile to my face. And it ends up being one of the biggest “what would the next album have sounded like and how successful would it have been?” questions that I still think about.

    2012 was also the year that Blink-182 released the Dog Eating Dogs EP2, and the EP was pitched as a return to form because all of the band members were in the same room this time. There are a few good songs there, but not much I return to, it would also be the last collection we’d see from the band that featured Tom DeLonge. Elsewhere, All Time Low would make a bounce back record with Don’t Panic, and The 1975 would begin to make their way into our lives with a series of EPs. I still remember the first time I heard the “The City,” and knew we were in for something extraordinary with this band. The lyrics resonated with me in particular as they coincided with me making one of my most significant life changes as I moved … to the city.

    I grew up in the suburbs. It was basically all I knew. I spent my life there, moved away to a relatively small college town in Southern California, lived there for about five years, and when I moved back to Oregon, I ended up in a different suburb. That’s just what I thought you did. I went to the city to visit bars or do some shopping, but I had never grown up thinking that you could live there. Oh, what a sheltered little suburban boy I was. In 2012, as I was finding my way through various personal struggles and intense therapy, I decided I needed the human version of a reboot. So I moved downtown. It would end up being one of the best decisions I have ever made. Now, eight years later, I’m still in the same condo. I will probably move again at some point (being quarantined in the city when all the benefits of city living are virtually not accessible has made the last six months difficult), but being exposed to city life had the exact outcome I was hoping for. It rebooted my brain. I sold my car, donated most of the “stuff” I had accumulated over the years, and picked myself up with the help of family and friends. I needed a shock to my system to kick me out of the routine and destructive cycles I was in. And soon, I’d meet my future wife at a random bar downtown. We’d have to do long distance for a few years while she finished up her doctorate, but that time led to me being able to fully discover the city while working on our relationship at the pace that we wanted.

    And, while all of this was going on … I was searching for a way to take the website to a new level. AbsolutePunk was humming along. From the numbers I saw at the time, the website was making quite a bit of money for our corporate overlords, but the spending over there, was interesting. I wanted to bundle up the best pop-punk, alternative, and punk blogs on the internet and create a network of websites that could all work together to increase our reach better and have a traffic base that would rival some of the biggest music websites online. First, I absolutely did not come up with the name AbsoluteVoices. It was always supposed to be the stand-in name for the project while we discussed it, but then it came time for the press release, and it just became what it was. I’m still angry about it. Second, here’s what my original idea was: A network of websites on various platforms that covered similar, but distinctively different in subtle ways, alternative music. From WordPress to Tumblr, to very poppy to very punk, I wanted a collection of music websites that we could bundle to sell ads across together (at the combined peak we were at something like over 40 million page views per month) as well as use the combined talents of all the writers for various projects. I envisioned a news ticker that could go on the top of all the sites to display trending headlines, team up podcasts, video content, and shared resources to be able to do things like music festivals, merch, and be able to get real data on what was working on what platforms. Instead, it was an organizational nightmare. BuzzMedia, soon after becoming SpinMedia, was on the verge of all kinds of leadership shakeups and competing interests. It wouldn’t be long after that we couldn’t get funding for anything, let alone engineering resources, and communication ended up feeling like bureaucratic hell. I could share countless stories from this period, from when I ended up redesigning AbsolutePunk myself, and it never launched, to the end, and people being owed money they would never see. I felt like I was pulling teeth to get anything done. By the end, it was an absolute clusterfuck. I wasn’t even getting data or numbers anymore, and this led to me feeling completely fed up with the entire venture capital-backed media industry. I’m sure I’ll have more on that over the next couple of weeks.

    But, back to the lists. Let’s re-rank my 2012 list. Same arbitrary rules: don’t add too many albums I wasn’t listening to, use what I’ve listened to the most over the past eight years as a guide, and yada yada yada.

    Best of 2012 (Re-Ranking)

    1. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
    2. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
    3. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
    4. fun. – Some Nights
    5. Yellowcard – Southern Air
    6. Every Time I Die – Ex-Lives
    7. Now, Now – Threads
    8. John Mayer – Born and Raised
    9. The All-American Rejects – Kids in the Street
    10. Good Old War – Come Back as Rain
    11. Stars – The North
    12. Taylor Swift – Red
    13. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
    14. Anberlin – Vital
    15. No Trigger – Tycoon
    16. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
    17. Further Seems Forever – Penny Black
    18. The xx – Coexist
    19. Neon Trees – The Picture Show
    20. P.O.S – We Don’t Even Live Here
    21. Hot Water Music – Exister
    22. All Time Low – Don’t Panic
    23. The Shins – Port of Morrow
    24. Muse – The Second Law
    25. mewithoutYou – Ten Stories
    26. Propagandhi – Failed States
    27. The Killers – Battle Born
    28. Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon
    29. The 1975 – Facedown/Sex EP

    This is the first time I can remember my top two albums staying the same.

    That Gaslight Anthem album is still my number one from the year. I spent too much time listening to it over the last eight years for it not to remain. A lot of these albums helped soundtrack a critical year in my life, and, more than others, this entire list feels very much attached to my history. Other years it’s one or two albums, but this year feels more as a collective whole etched into my memory.

    I went back and forth on Japandroids or Menzingers, but gave Japandroids the nod because it’s my favorite thing they’ve done whereas The Menzingers have other albums that at least rival this one. Fun. sees a slight boost because of how much they dominated that and the next year, and Some Nights remains a staple in my collection. Yellowcard actually saw a relatively large jump. Southern Air, I think, and I waffle on this sometimes, is my favorite album from the band. It combines everything I love about the band and mixes the pop-punk fun with poignant songwriting as well as any from the group. Every Time I Die and Now, Now also see a rise in the ranking, and while I had Blink-182’s EP on my original list, if I’m going to include any EPs from this year on my list, it’s going to be The 1975. But, I’m keeping them at the bottom because, well, they’re EPs, and I usually put those in a separate section.

    Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and Taylor Swift all make their way into the list. And this is based on the next few years and all three of those artists being very important to me, which would lead me to go back to their catalogs and spend a whole lot of time with them. They get dinged a tad because I was just starting to get into them all in the real 2012, so I feel it would be unfair to elevate them higher in the re-rank.

    Stars and John Mayer drop a tad, mostly because I just haven’t gone back to those albums as much, and the rest just feels much more representative of what albums have continued to be a part of my life since.

    In 2012, the world didn’t end. Obama was elected for a second term. I moved to the city. And I met my future wife; I just didn’t know it yet. It’s the part in my life where I consider it no longer my ‘formative’ years, as I’ll turn 30 just a few months into 2013. And it’s where many friendships I had most of my life would begin to fade away. Friends I grew up with would move away, start families, and our interests or ability to catch up would slowly bend apart. Whereas right out of college, I felt like we were all faking how to be adults, this was when I realized, without knowing when, that we had all grown into those shoes. We were looking at our thirties, and the word “adult” had been stripped of it’s usual “young” qualifier at some point I can’t pinpoint. We’d been raised to not trust anyone over thirty, and now we sat at that precipice with our ranks thinning like some of our hair. The grand expectations of our youth feeling like a distant memory. Where we once asked who, or what, we would be when we grew up, it now felt like we had the answers. But what I didn’t know then, that I know now, is that growing up is a never-ending process. You don’t just reach an age and have your entirety frozen in carbonite. Kris Roe once sang that “being grown-up isn’t half as fun as growing up,” and I yelled that refrain to concert walls for years. But, now, I have to disagree. I still feel like I’m growing up. I’m on the other half of thirty, having just turned 37 in the year of COVID. And I see forty around the bend. The next milestone. But these last eight years have been some of the best of my life. I’m still growing. It’s different, it’s not always fun, but there are still memories to make, still music to make them with, and I keep remembering the lesson I learned in 2012: if you’d like, you never have to keep being who you always were. It’s your life, live it.

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    1. And it was the year of that one Mackelmore album everyone kind of liked for a while.

    2. I’m still mad I missed out on this on vinyl.


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  2. JRGComedy

    Trusted Supporter

    Man, that top 5 was just huge for me too. I'll forever be grateful I got to see Fun perform one time. And without question, Southern Air is the album that turned me into an actual Yellowcard fan, instead of just a casual passerby.
    artbynickferran likes this.
  3. trevorshmevor Jul 22, 2020
    (Last edited: Jul 22, 2020)

    and use a pretty font Supporter

    Lotta great records here. When I think of music in 2012, similar to the previous year, I was hyper focused on just a few albums and those albums only. The main difference is that I still love many of them to this day. All spring it was Every Time I Die, all summer it was Vacationer and Periphery, all fall it was P.O.S and Circa Survive, and all winter it was Now Now and Taylor Swift.

    Personally, a year I hold an incomprehensible amount of nostalgia for, and one I’ve grown to see as the actual end of my adolescence despite being 23.

    This was probably my favorite write up since the 2008 one, really cool to hear about your perspective on this time Jason!
    Bartek T. likes this.
  4. Ryan G

    Moderator Moderator

    Make Do and Mend's Everything You Ever Loved was my number one from this year. I've been listening to it a lot recently and it holds up super well. It feels underrated to me and I still think it should be a 2010s decade classic.
  5. phaynes12

    playing in the band Supporter

    honorable mentions: joie de vivre - we’re all better than this, purity ring - shrines, the tallest man on earth - there’s no leaving now

    25. you blew it - grow up, dude
    24. killer mike - rap music
    23. cut teeth - televandalism
    22. the walkmen - heaven
    21. old man gloom - no
    20. danny brown - xxx
    19. grizzly bear - shields
    18. gojira - l’enfant sauvage
    17. kowloon walled city - container ships
    16. schoolboy q - habits & contradictions
    15. spiritualized - sweet heart sweet light
    14. fiona apple - the idler wheel etc.
    13. birds in row - you, me and the violence
    12. the men zingers - on the impossible past
    11. the chariot - one wing
    10. caspian - waking season
    9. converge - all we love we leave behind
    8. miguel - kaleidoscope dream
    7. every time i die - ex-lives
    6. father john misty - fear fun
    5. cloud nothings - attack on memory
    4. japandroids - celebration rock
    3. tame impala - lonerism
    2. kendrick lamar - good kid, maad city
    1. frank ocean - channel orange
  6. Thanks!
    Christian Romero likes this.
  7. Krlhnsn


    @Jason Tate , did something happen with Make Do or have you just grown on from them?
  8. Haven’t listened to them in at least five years. :shrug:
  9. Krlhnsn


    I agree! Seemed pretty rad at first and then just faded. Wasn’t sure if I missed some bad news.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  10. artbynickferran

    2012 was the first year I made a list! Glad I can *actually* participate in a re-ranking this time around. Looking back, this year had a lot of my favorite albums from bands that I liked but weren't necessarily my favorites (Anberlin, From Indian Lakes, The Gaslight Anthem, Good Old War, Japandroids, Stars).

    2012 Re-Ranked:
    1. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
    2. John Mayer – Born & Raised (I know this isn't a popular opinion, but this is his best album imo)
    3. Now, Now – Threads
    4. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City
    5. From Indian Lakes – Able Bodies (this defined almost 2 years of my life and I wish I loved anything they've done since then even half as much)
    6. The All-American Rejects – Kids In the Street (
    7. fun. – Some Nights
    8. Yellowcard – Southern Air (agreed that this is their best)
    9. Caspian – Waking Season (this album helped me fall in love with post-rock)
    10. Daytrader – Twelve Years
    11. The Early November – In Currents
    12. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
    13. Good Old War – Come Back As Rain
    14. Anberlin – Vital (just revisited this for the first time in a while and I still contend that this is their best album)
    15. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
    16. Jukebox the Ghost – Safe Travels
    17. Godspeed, You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend, Ascend!
    18. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
    19. All Time Low – Don't Panic
    20. Stars – The North
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  11. Phil507

    Trusted Supporter

    "(being quarantined in the city when all the benefits of city living are virtually not accessible has made the last six months difficult)"

    As someone who lived in Manhattan for a decade and now Brooklyn for going on 4 years, I can relate.

    Also, on another note, if that same record was released by another band, Stereogum/Pitchfork and the more elite taste sites of the world would have been all over it. This is a whole other think piece but so many bands that came out of the Warped Tour scene of the 00's were continuously overlooked by the mainstream press in the 10's despite any artistic strides they made (Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, Motion City Soundtrack, AAR, Thursday, etc)
    Mattww and Jason Tate like this.
  12. Lucas27


    One of my favorite years for music, including two records that would be among my all-time favorites:

    1. Andrew Peterson - Light for the Lost Boy
    2. From Indian Lakes - Able Bodies
    3. SONS - Keep Quiet
    4. Anberlin - Vital
    5. John Mayer - Born & Raised
    6. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
    7. The Chariot - One Wing
    8. Andrew Osenga - Leonard, the Lonely Astronaut
    9. The Oh Hellos - Through the Deep, Dark Valley
    10. Derek Webb - Ctrl
    11. House of Heroes - Cold Hard Want
    12. Now, Now - Threads
    13. Matthew Perryman Jones - Land of the Living
    14. mewithoutYou - Ten Stories
    15. Anchor & Braille - The Quiet Life
    16. Yellowcard - Southern Air
    17. ElisaRay - All Creatures
    18. The Killers - Battle Born
    19. Caspian - Waking Season
    10. To Speak of Wolves - Find Your Worth, Come Home
    21. Abandoned Pools - Sublime Currency
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  13. Yellowcard2006


    Not one of the most noteworthy years of music for me but defintely some stuff I still return to

    Misser - Every Day I Tell Myself I'm going to Be a Better Person
    This Time Next Year - Drop Out of Life
    The Early November - In Currents
    Title Fight - Floral Green
    Motion City Soundtrack -Go
    Farewell Continental - Hey Hey Pioneers
    Citizen - Young States
    Anthony Raneri - New Cathedrals
  14. Garrett

    it's a banger Moderator

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  15. Drew Beringer

    @drewberinger Moderator

    2012 the year of me moving to LA
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  16. Tim

    we must be nothing less than fabulous Prestigious

    Taylor Swift - Red
    Audrey Assad - Heart
    mewithoutYou - Ten Stories
    Chromatics - Kill for Love
    Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss
    David Crowder*Band - Give Us Rest
    Demon Hunter - True Defiance
    Gungor - A Creation Liturgy
    Lights - Siberia
    Beach Boys - That's Why God Made the Radio

    Man, the top of that list is really strong, but I couldn't really come up with ten albums from the year that I still go back to. There was stuff from that year that I liked a lot then & could enjoy now... but it's hard to choose favorites amongst albums that you haven't heard in years.

    Ended up throwing Beach Boys at the end to round it out, just as sort of an honorable mention. Didn't have any staying power with me, but it was a surprisingly solid victory lap for a band that long seemed well past releasing another album, let alone a decent one. Glad they were able to have that one more ride.
    Lucas27, Jason Tate and JRGComedy like this.
  17. 2012 was the year Lana Del Rey dominated my summer, Muse released a disappointing album, “Elephant” by Tame Impala became the biggest Australian rock song since the 2000s; Frank Ocean was the most loved artist by everyone in my year, and Ten Stories and The Idler Wheel... changed the way I’d look at songwriting forever
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  18. btr


    The year of the Green Day trilogy!
    1. Modern Baseball - Sports
    2. Dads - American Radass
    3. Spose - The Audacity!
    4. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
    5. Title Fight - Floral Green
    6. Every Time I Die - Ex Lives
    7. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
    8. Reel Big Fish - Candy Coated Fury
    9. Taylor Swift - Red
    10. Odd Future - The OF Tape, Vol. 2
    11. John Mayer - Born and Raised
    12. Green Day - ¡Uno!
    13. Basement - Colourmeinkindness
    14. All Time Low - Don’t Panic
    15. Maroon 5 - Overexposed
    16. Green Day - ¡Tre!
    17. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
    18. NOFX - Self-Entitled
    19. Linkin Park - Living Things
    20. Kesha - Warrior
    21. Chance the Rapper - 10 Day
    22. Forever Came Calling - Contender
    23. Masked Intruder - Masked Intruder
    24. Mac Miller - Macadelic
    25. The All-American Rejects - Kids in the Street
    26. Allister - Life Behind Machines
  19. irthesteve

    formerly irthesteve Prestigious

    Great year of music

    1. fun. - Some Nights
    2. Metric - Synthetica
    3. The Early November - In Currents
    4. Jason Mraz - Love Is A Four Letter Word
    5. Good Old War - Come Back As Rain
    6. Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman: Ascention
    7. Sara Watkins - Sun Midnight Sun
    8. Cat Power - Sun
    9. Circa Survive - Violent Waves
    10. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
    11. Anthony Green - Beautiful Things
    12. G.O.O.D. Music - Cruel Summer
    13. Anberlin - Vital
    14. Sucré - A Minor Bird
    15. House of Heroes - Cold Hard Want
    16. Matchbox Twenty - North
    17. The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
    18. Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror
    19. Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear
    20. of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks
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  20. We pretend those didn’t happen. :-p
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  21. smowashere


    Wow, what a year musically
  22. ComedownMachine

    Prestigious Prestigious

    Big year for me in my personal life and with music. It’s where I first started paying attention to new albums.

    1. Frank Ocean- Channel Orange
    2. Kendrick Lamar- Good Kid Maad City
    3. Lana Del Rey- Born to Die
    4. Fun.- Some Nights
    5. Taylor Swift- Red
    6. Grimes- Visions
    7. Beach House- Bloom
    8. The All-American Rejects- Kids in the Street (was my #1 album back then, having my first real break up at 15)
    9. Father John Misty- Fear Fun
    10. Fiona Apple- The Idler Wheel...

    2012 me would have said:

    1. The All-American Rejects- Kids in the Street
    2. The Killers- Battle Born
    3. Muse- The 2nd Law
    4. Blink-182- Dogs Eating Dogs
    5. Fun.- Some Nights
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  23. btr


    Had to look up to make sure all three dropped in 2012... and they did. What a way to end the year.

    September 21, November 9, December 7.
  24. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    2012 was one of the best years of my life, for a lot of reasons...the music among them. It still feels super recent for me, in a way none of the years we've covered yet really do. I started my senior year of college in the fall of 2012, so a lot of this music kind of feels like the "end of youth" to me, in a way. That's definitely how I feel about Handwritten, Southern Air, Celebration Rock, and Born & Raised (collectively the soundtrack to my last summer before real responsibility) and it's definitely how I feel about Red (which I played exhaustively throughout my last year of college, and which ended up being my album of the decade).

    This was also the year when I really settled on the path toward becoming a writer as my profession. A big thing happened that summer when I shared a review of Handwritten from my blog on the forums and @Jason Tate invited me to join the AbsolutePunk staff. I definitely remember how surreal it was to be writing for a site I'd been frequenting for 4+ years, and I definitely remember taking the spare moments I had at my internship that summer (with, incidentally, the company I now work for more or less full time) to write my first reviews for the site. The inaugural one, I'll always remember, was a write-up of the first Glen Hansard solo LP. I think I ended up doing 200 reviews total, right on the dot, before AbsolutePunk closed up shop. I always thought it was pretty poetic that the last one was Brian Fallon's Painkillers. The artist that started that journey for me ended up finishing it out, too.

    Looking at my original list from the end of 2012, it's interesting to me how much the order (and some of the records) changed. I don't think I was ready to admit at the time that Taylor Swift had made my favorite album of the year, though thinking back to that fall and how much time I spent with Red, I can hardly believe I thought it was anything else. That was year three of a long distance relationship with my now wife, and I can't even begin to calculate how many times I listened to Red on those long drives.

    All told, now sure there's a year with a top 10 that I love more than this one. That top 7 especially is just a wall of classics, all of which I still listen to all the time. What a year.
    1. Taylor Swift – Red
    2. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
    3. The Killers – Battle Born
    4. John Mayer – Born & Raised
    5. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
    6. Yellowcard – Southern Air
    7. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
    8. Matthew Mayfield – A Banquet for Ghosts
    9. Keane – Strangeland
    10. The Fray – Scars & Stories
    11. The Tower and the Fool – How Long
    12. Go Radio – Close the Distance
    13. Fun. – Some Nights
    14. The Menzingers – On the Impossible Past
    15. Matchbox Twenty – North
    16. Glen Hansard – Rhythm & Repose
    17. The Wallflowers – Glad All Over
    18. Motion City Soundtrack – Go
    19. Counting Crows – Underwater Sunshine
    20. Phillip Phillips – The World from the Side of the Moon
    21. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur
    22. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
    23. Ingrid Michaelson – Human Again
    24. Green Day – Tre!
    25. Robert Francis – Strangers in the First Place
    26. Tyler Hilton – Forget the Storm
    27. Passion Pit – Gossamer
    28. The Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
    29. Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
    30. David Ramirez – Apologies
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  25. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

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