Every year I go through my Last.fm profile and identify my most listened-to albums to post here for consideration.
This year marked a radical shift in my music habits. iTunes Match allowed me access to my entire music collection wherever I went, but more importantly, my subscription to Rdio allowed me access to almost all music at a any time. A lot of my listening was just the week's lastest new releases. Compared to past years, this lead to listening to a larger number of albums fewer times.
Because of that, I'll mention 35 albums here instead of the usual top ten+. Here are the first 15, with the top 20 coming later this week. I will bold albums that deserve special attention (call them my consciously-chosen top albums, rather than the ones I just happened to listen to a lot).
Worst album of the year: Antony and the Johnsons - Cut the World
What the fuck is this shit? I like a few of their past songs, so I tried listening to this live album, but already by the second track, we're treated to a rambling spoken diatribe about feminism, religion, mangled science, and philosophy that probably only sounds deep if you're on drugs or highly unintelligent. "The water of the world is the blood of the woman's body, so that's what we crawled out of just as we crawled out of our mothers' wombs." What? Fuck off.
Ok, here are some better albums. I'll comment on a few.
35. Grizzly Bear - Shields
I never paid much attention to Grizzly Bear before this year, but their multi-layered, epic indie rock really did it for me this time around.
34. Hot Chip - In Our Heads
33. No Doubt - Push and Shove
32. Infected Mushroom - Army of Mushrooms
31. Trust - TRST
30. Christina Aguilera - Lotus
You'll notice a lot of pop music on this list. It was an interesting year for bubblegum pop, with the music getting edgier and more energetic while the sex-soaked lyrics got even more vapid and meaningless. When I think about it, that about describes my year, so it makes sense that I'd relate with the musical embodiment of it. Aguilera came back to fit right in with today's pop, while still bringing me back to my Xtina-loving, genie-rubbing days of 1999.
29. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Out of Frequency
28. The xx - Coexist
27. Purity Ring - Shrines
This album is just so damn pretty, but then you pay attention to the lyrics, and it's like, "wait, what?"
26. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
25. The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know
24. Jack White - Blunderbuss
23. Ke$ha - Warrior
Die Young is probably one of the best songs of the year, and the rest of this artlessly provocative album lives up to it. It just makes me want to get really sweaty and make terrible decisions.
22. Lioness - The Golden Killer
21. The Weeknd - Trilogy
I've never been a big R&B fan, but this collection of The Weeknd's three previously released mini-albums feels important. It incorporates several genres without sounding like anything that's come before, and deals with heavier issues than you'd expect (especially from someone so young). And damn, this guy is talented; comparisons with Michael Jackson are not unwarranted (especially when you hear him covering Jackson on D.D.). I think we'll be hearing a lot more from The Weeknd.
That's all for now, but I'll be back later this week with the top twenty. Here's a sneak peek in graph form: