I always break the rules when it comes to these year-end music lists. Not because I'm a rebel, but just because I'm terrible at these lists. My editor said, "pick five to eight," but this list is 10 deep. It's also supposed to be a "Best Of," but I'm at the age now where I can't continue to abide the conceit that "my favorites" somehow equal "the best." I can't even act like I'm telling anyone about albums they may not have heard about, because everyone hears about everything all the time these days. Anyway, here are my 10 favorite records of 2012. If you haven't listened to them yet, I think they're all worthwhile. But hey, that's just me, so, you know, whatever.
Goat – World Music
Psychedelic voodoo Afrobeat Krautrock … from Sweden. Album of the year.
The Magnetic North – Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North
Epic and windswept, intimate and quiet; an ambitious and gentle take on organic post-rock.
Purity Ring – Shrines
In a year that electronic music was reduced to its most in-artful tendencies, the thudding bass, glitchy strangeness and dark beauty of this album was a savior.
Max Richter – Recomposed by Max Richter – Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
By far the most successful of Deutsche Grammophon's attempts at resurrecting the canon with contemporary leftfield electronic artists. Richter keeps the heart and soul of this chestnut intact while stretching its potential in some exciting ways.
Neneh Cherry & the Thing – The Cherry Thing
The most sultry skronk of the year.
Solange – True
If you can listen to "Losing You" and not sing along or smirk knowingly, then you're probably dead.
Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
Can we please shut up about how there's no life or personality left in contemporary R&B? And then can we just play "Adorn" a bajillion times?
Grimes – Visions
Grimes … you may have heard of her?
Infinity People – In Love With the Light
Exploratory and whimsically retro cult-family psych from Detroit. Or, as Mojo called it: "satanic bubblegum."
King Tuff – King Tuff
I mainly listen to metal these days in the car because it makes me drive fast and rock out, and it generally serves no other practical purpose. I didn't listen to any metal this year because this King Tuff record made me drive fast and rock