Other Ten Percent Year End Music Guide

Dec 26 2012

Not going to lie you guys, I’m not sure if its that I’m tired and my apartment is cold or if I just want to play with my presents or what but I’m not really feeling this list all that much at the moment. It might also be that the whole idea of year end top ten lists feels weirdly antithetical to OTP at this point. This blog isn’t really me foisting my opinions on you so much as it is me slowly and subtly shaping the way you process all of reality by picking the things that you should pay attention to. Totally different goals. At the same time I kinda think there’s been enough good music this year that throwing some albums at you is somewhat necessary. I mean seriously, we are living in a rap golden age right now and I kinda think the Kendrick Lamar album everybody’s pointing to when they say that doesn’t even make my top five rap albums of the year. So here, in no particular order, are 9 albums I think you really need to have listened to by the end of the year and another list of top albums you can take a look at if you hate my opinions.

My Album of the Year–El-P Cancer 4 Cure
When I say it’s mine I mean literally I don’t think it’s album of the year material for people who don’t share my exact interests. There’s a really specific audience for a rap album that sounds like a constantly high guy living about nine months into the future rapping about the surveillance state and I’m pretty much at the center of that Venn Diagram. That said, even if you don’t share my interest in rap albums that sound like the soundtrack to The Wire as a William Gibson novel this thing is surprisingly solid with quite a few jams outside of “Full Retard” that deserve your attention.

Best Speakerboxx to El-P’s Love Bellow–Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music
R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure are not technically companion albums. Since El-P produced both of them and they came out a week apart thought I ended up listening to them as companion albums and if you close your eyes and pretend like that was intended these two albums form the best rap double album in nigh unto a decade. Of the two this is the album Jane vastly prefers (as do most music publications it seems) because it’s just a really technically adept rapper showing off for 10 tracks. I already did a round or two on Killer Mike during the summer jams write-up but if the El-P write-up didn’t sound like your cup of tea then give this album a try instead.

Special Award for Excellence in Getting David Byrne to Sound Like “Once in a Lifetime” Era David Byrne–David Byrne & St. Vincent Love This Giant
People HATED this album, I mean just ripped into it for 3000 words like it had killed their parents or something, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. I mean I’m not going to pretend this is album of the year material but it’s at the very least FUN. I’ve thrown a track or two from this album on every party playlist I’ve had in the back half of the year and it’s gone over well at all of them. I think people were expecting something transcendent from St. Vincent and David Byrne working together but it sounds more like two people just kicking back geeking out about what they like to do musically. “Do that thing where you warble constantly while saying nonsense” said David Byrne. “Yeah okay but only if you do that thing where you add a bunch of horns and then yell random interjections” responded St. Vincent. I’m sure for some people that comes off as super lazy but that’s basically all I wanted out of the album.

Not Quite Best New Artist/Not Quite Mixtape of the Year Still Amazing Album of the YearJoey Bada$$ 1999 Mixtape
Rap. Golden. Age. In a year that had an honest to God Wu-Tang album (which was also quite good by the way) it’s weird that the album that sounds the most like a really fantastic 90’s rap album came from an 18 year old kid. Not every track on this mixtape is amazing and Joey Bada$$ is in general still right on the line between being a really gifted rap mimic and a really gifted rapper but when you start a track with a sample from Pinky and the Brain and end up with one of the best party jam tracks I found all year I kinda don’t care what you do on the rest of your album.

Best Album Everybody on Earth Seemingly Forgot About–Twin Shadow Confess
Seriously, even I almost forgot about it and I have no clue why. In my opinion Confess is a much stronger album than Twin Shadow’s debut and he also gave probably the best live performance I saw this year when I went to see him live. I think the revelation that his weird beat poetry post apocalyptic sci-fi novel WASN’T a joke turned a lot of people off but I kinda don’t mind a guy who’s on the wrong side of that particular irony line.

Mixtape of the Year–Azealia Banks FANTASEA
Rap. Golden. Age. You could make a decent argument that Nicki Minaj or even Angel Haze actually had the female rap album of the year and I really couldn’t disagree with you. In fact I think most people overlooked this mixtape because Azealia’s first official album is coming out in like Febuary and most people are just clearing the decks to make 2013 her year. Still, I kinda couldn’t ignore the mixtape that brought what I still argue is this year’s official summer jam into existence and there’s another 4-5 examples of Azealia Banks giving approximately 0 fucks in the best way possible on FANTASEA. I mean the title alone shows some truly impressive levels of not giving a fuck.

Driving Music of the Year–Beach House Bloom
Jane thinks this album is too depressing for driving music and if you’re stuck in traffic she’s probably right. Bloom was, however, basically the soundtrack of a truly fantastic weekend trip Nikki and I took down the coast over the summer and if you haven’t heard this album in a car within view of the Pacific Ocean you haven’t actually heard it yet.

Best Album I Actually Skipped Out on Seeing Live–Chromatics Kill For Love
Seriously, the venue looked super douchey and Nikki and I were fairly certain they weren’t even going to go on until like midnight so we just went home and went to sleep even though we had tickets. I could, and did at the time, argue that Kill For Love is the kind of album that’s so effective at creating the weird little electronic space its painting that there’s basically no way a live performance could be anything but disappointing. In reality though I just didn’t want to be out in a club at midnight because I’m not 22 anymore. Wait, I should say something about this album! It’s my go to album from this year to kinda zone out to when I’m trying to get some work done. In fact it’s what I’ve been listening to while I’ve been writing up this whole post.

Album of the Year of the Year–Frank Ocean Channel ORANGE
I mean, right? I am not really saying anything surprising here. In fact I’m not really saying anything because I sorta feel like nobody missed this album. I mean I’m skipping about half a dozen albums I really wish could have made the list like the Hot Chip album and the new Aesop Rock and the Nas album and the new Big Boi but I kinda felt like I HAD to put this on the list.

David I Hate Your Terrible Music Opinions
Yeah okay. Well John Allison is having two of the teenage girl characters from his comic review his 20 favorite albums and it’s hard to argue with an Ariel Pink review that ends with Ariel Pink needs to go to jail.

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