No top anything this year. Just specific category names that make me smile.
The Album I Ordered With A T-Shirt
This is still in my home CD player - fully realized rebel music. Bam is scary in a good way, the realest artist in a genre obsessed with authenticity. Guests seem to only push him further - tracks with Rocky Rivera and Killer Mike are standouts. If you want a case-making track go with the solo effort 'Moms' - part biography of Bam's mother, part feminist critique, part relationship reflection, and it all works. Staggering.
The Album I Can't Find at Record Shows
I heard this in August for the first time and listened to it for a full work day. Unprecedented. It's a Philly soul Dusty Springfield album. There's a version of Van Morrison's 'Tupelo Honey' that I like better than the original. And no one is selling it in LP form. I will have it. Hopefully in 2013.
The Album That Lives In My Car
The Noisettes were a pretty damn good punk band but Dan Smith and Shingai Shoniwa just wanted to take you to the disco, and 'Contact' is them admitting it. About the most fun thing I heard all year. I hate traffic. You coulda caught me stuck on a hill belting out 'That Girl' more often than not on my commute days.
The Album That I Can Make A Dutch Baby To
It's 22:27. A Dutch Baby takes about 15 minutes in my cast iron, so if I start pre-heating and put the album on, I've got more than enough time in the 7:27 to blend together three ingredients, slice whatever fruit might go in, and melt the butter. Oh, the butter. Make more dutch babies, folks.
As for the record, it's wonderful first-thing-in-the-morning music. I have a crush on Rachael Price's voice, but Bridget Kearney's upright bass is what makes this collection of pop covers ['Faith'! 'I Want You Back'! A goddamn Paul McCartney song that I somehow like!] and one blissful original [below] great cooking music. Sometimes my partner's asleep, so I put my Lumia in my apron and dance around the kitchen.
The Local Rap Album of the Year
I love local rap. Spit landmarks I recognize and it makes up for a lot. I'm easy like that. Might be why I like Wale. The Physics, I've convinced myself, need no such home cookin' to be awesome - thumping Puget sounds, everyman rap that works as well on a gray day as it does on a blue one. Okay, that was way local.
The Le Tigre Memorial Album That Can Serve as A Running Mix
I saw Gossip this year live for the first time. They covered 'What's Love Got To Do With It'. [Like so.] I lost my shit in a way that only a well-timed cover can do. Oh, yeah, this album is just heater after heater of Beth Ditto making everything sound like a Commandment. Push through that last few blocks.
The Album That Isn't An Album of the Year
Best mixtape I heard all year. A haunting, haunted exploration of 2012 fear and loathing. Tinashe sounds like Aaliyah if she'd grown up listening to Massive Attack. Next to blow. And if you don't believe me, check out the PR work on the Wikipedia article for 'Reverie'. Ha!
The Album That I Came Around On Twice
I, like everyone else, heard cokey rap hit 'Like a G6' and turned it off, resenting the earworm qualities of Dev's chorus. I listened to less non-KEXP radio this year than ever, but at some point I heard 'Bass Down Low' enough times to realize I adored it and promptly copped all four[!] singles available in Zune. Then oversaturation of the very same tune led me to dislike the album when it - finally - came out. The fact that it was March may have also played a part. I came back around during summer. Let the god Al Shipley tell it:
the album [Dev] eventually released [...] is surprisingly twee: her opaque voice often dropping any pretense of swag and singing painfully earnest synth pop songs.