Top Pop Albums of 2012 as Listed by L.A. Times

Miguel performing

2012 was a banner year for pop music as, possibly, the need to escape the harsh economy and just feel good pervaded the airwaves.

Here are the top 10 pop albums of 2012 as chosen by the Los Angeles Times:

1. Frank Ocean, “Channel Orange” (Def Jam). Ocean’s album has already garnered plenty of praise for its complexity and updates of classic soul tapestries. But simply put, no other album has affected me more this year, connecting profoundly with its most vulnerable — albeit headline grabbing — moments.

2. Miguel, “Kaleidoscope Dream” (RCA). Miguel earned his breakout moment with a stellar, fully realized album that helped reinvigorate R&B. “Kaleidoscope Dream” drips with buzzing synthesizers, lush melodies and enough psychedelic grooves to make Prince beam with pride. I dare you to listen to “Adorn” (one of the year’s best singles) without moving your feet.

3. Melanie Fiona, “The MF Life” (Universal Republic). One of the year’s more solid contemporary R&B offerings, Fiona’s sophomore effort deserved more attention. Here she weaved sultry, retro-dipped soul and updated grooves without abandoning her knack for emotional balladry — or compromising her powerhouse vocals.

4. Kendrick Lamar, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” (Aftermath/Interscope). Largely heralded as the savior of West Coast rap, Lamar’s major-label debut far surpassed the early hype heaped upon its arrival. Brilliantly vivid storytelling propelled this ambitious concept album about navigating manhood amid the violent, gang-scarred Compton.

5. Brandy, “Two Eleven” (RCA). Comebacks, especially in an oversaturated R&B landscape, are hard to achieve. Thankfully, Brandy managed by relying on her voice and not gimmicks. The focus on well-crafted R&B allowed Brandy to showcase her raspy, flexible tone, including her hallmark layered harmonies and those sweet, impeccable riffs.

Read more: Gerrick D. Kennedy, L.A. Times

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