In response to our most recent Weekend Rock Question – "What are the best albums of 2012?" – a good portion of your aggregate Top 10 list looked a lot like ones you'll see compiled by critics at Rolling Stone and elsewhere. One or two other entries were from old favorites whose reunions were guaranteed to spark some nostalgia among a certain demographic. As for the top vote-getter: well, let's just say it seems clear there was some ballot manipulation that Karl Rove would find impressive. Click through to see the results.
The members of No Doubt now have nine kids between them; their homes are filled with the target audience for Glee, on which the kids might've heard their parents' 1996 smash "Don't Speak." It took the band more than a decade to record the follow-up to 2001's Rock Steady, but they finally got it done. The title track of Push and Shove is the band's own "Bohemian Rhapsody," bassist Tony Kanal told Ryan Seacrest. Plenty of voters did their fandango.
The cover art for Muse's latest tour de force, The 2nd Law, features a vivid image of the brain's neural pathways that also looks like a psychedelic head of broccoli. "We are defined by the fact that we can't be defined by anybody," frontman Matt Bellamy told Rolling Stone just before the album's release. We're still trying to get our heads around that.
When Target declined to stock Frank Ocean's eagerly anticipated debut album, Channel Orange, their reasoning raised more than a few eyebrows. The chain claimed that Ocean's rush release on iTunes factored into its decision, but some suggested the company – noted for its support of anti-gay activists – had a problem with Ocean's open discussion of his sexuality. Nonsense, claimed Target: their decision-making takes into account "a number of factors, including guest demand." Safe to say at this point that Ocean's critically and commercially successful album has handily met the test of "guest demand."
For their 19th full-length studio release, Rush wrote another concept album. Clockwork Angels is a classic quest tale that features the Watchmaker, an overseer who "imposes precision on every aspect of daily life." To top off another banner year for the band, they've been inducted (finally!) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now that's quite a concept.
Bob Dylan's album before this one was the utterly inexplicable Christmas in the Heart, which found the stubbornly unsentimental artist trying on shmaltzy old holiday chestnuts for size. He could have gone electronic next and it would have sounded comparatively reasonable. But Tempest restored the crafty old changeling to form, and fans were once again sated. The jaunty train song "Duquesne Whistle," in particular, seems to have earned its spot among the singer's very best material.
Their massive reunion tour may have come in like a lion and gone out like a lamb, amid rumors of discord. (Van Halen not getting along? Say it ain't so!) However, A Different Kind of Truth sounded a lot like the vintage Van Halen that coaxed your best air-guitar moves, and with good reason: a majority of the album, the band freely admits, can be attributed to song ideas they'd been kicking around since way back in the mid-Seventies.
The guy truly belongs to rock & roll's one percent, having earned a mountain of money and accolades. Yet when Bruce Springsteen puts his mind to the 99 percent from whence his people came, as he did with a fury on Wrecking Ball, the whole country listens. There may be no more authentic voice for the voting masses.
The former White Stripe has a vulture on his shoulder on the cover of Blunderbuss, his solo debut. He's still picking at the carcass of classic rock & roll – still bringing it back to a ghoulishly electric kind of life. He's been touring lately with two bands – one all men, one all women – and there are more than just two sides to the guy who may be the most compelling character in current music.
Well, he does know a thing or two about popularity contests. By the looks of it, former American Idol winner Adam Lambert organized his fans to stuff the ballot box to make Trespassing the top vote-getter in our Readers' Poll. Upon its release, Rolling Stone gave the album four stars, with Rob Sheffield noting that Lambert sang the mix of "tinsel disco-club sleaze and leather-boy love ballads" like he was "Zeus in a thong." Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.