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2012 Albums of the Year: 5-1

December 26, 2012

5. The Shins – Port Of Morrow

5

Pitchfork: 8.4/10

Metacritic: 72/100

Port of Morrow was one of the first albums that really clicked for me this year. For some reason, not a whole lot early on seemed too memorable to me, so maybe that had something to do with this albums staying power with me this year, but here it is starting out the top 5 list. The album brings out the high points from the Shin’s back discography: catchy hooks treated with the glossiest of pop production. Just an all around enjoyable album and one to which very few would be opposed to listening.

4. Grizzly Bear – Shields

4

Pitchfork: 9.1/10

Metacritic: 86/100

I haven’t been a huge Grizzly Bear fan in the past, but maybe because of this year’s generally weaker crop of albums (in my opinion at least), I figured I would give this one a more serious chance. And sure enough, it really sat well. Having learned to appreciate the band’s complexity and attention to detail, I’m definitely excited to go back through their discography, particularly 2009’s Veckitamest, which I listened to but later deemed not worthy of staying on my iPod.

3. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

3

Pitchfork: 8.8/10

Metacritic: 80/100

I can’t say that I haven’t been aware of The Dirty Projectors’ existence before this year, but I’ve never been moved to listen to any of their music. This seems to be an emerging trend of this year’s music for me. As previously mentioned, not as many albums jumped out at me so I had to extend myself to listen to albums that I otherwise wouldn’t. And it has by and large payed off. The lyricism on this album is great and the sounds are interesting and really unlike anything I’ve heard before. I’ll definitely be making a point to check out their back discography as well.

2. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

2

Pitchfork: 9.5/10

Metacritic: 91/100

Hip hop music about overcoming adversity in the violent, poverty-stricken streets? Reconciling faith and family with guns and drugs? It’s been done before. A lot. But the execution of such an overwrought concept on good kid, m.A.A.d city is fantastic. I’m not a big enough hip hop fan to appreciate all the skits that litter just about every album in the genre, but never have I been so tolerant of them as I was with Kendrick’s parents’ voicemails on this album. The storytelling here is fresh and unique. Not only is each song great on its own accord, but each one serves a purpose in advancing the plot of this “short film by Kendrick Lamar.”

 

1. Passion Pit – Gossamer

1

Pitchfork: 8.4/10

Metacritic: 76/100

Passion Pit will forever hold a special place with me as 2009’s Manners was my unofficial introduction to the world of “indie rock.” I approached listening to and seeking out music differently after hearing something so similar yet so unlike the music I listened to at the time. That’s why Gossamer was my favorite release of 2012, despite other albums (like GKMC) still being actually better in my opinion. Still, despite the nostalgia, I just thought Gossamer was a great follow-up album as well. Similar enough to remind me why I liked their previous album yet different enough to keep things fresh and interesting. Gossamer, like Manners, is incredibly consistent with the quality of its tracks which in turn leads to an album that remains just as enjoyable as the first time I heard it.

 

Analysis

Average Pitchfork Score: 8.8/10

Average Metacritic Score: 81/100

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