Disclaimer: I am not even nearly a music journalist.
Oh well it was inevitable really, wasn’t it.
Now listen chaps - I simply don’t listen to enough new music any more. There are many reasons for this - the primary one is that this year, my laptop, phone and headphones all broke. Pathetic reason, I hear you cry. But I can’t access music as easily as I used to anymore, and due to one reason or another, I lost a whole load of my ‘cool’ music when my laptop died and went to iHeaven. This leaves me with mostly musical theatre soundtracks and Peter Gabriel on my phone (not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it does limit my listening habits somewhat).
HOWEVER. I have been listening avidly to a few good albums this year and I have been blown away by the following Top 5 (in no particular order) plus one bonus re-release:
1| Nude - The Irrepressibles
I’ve always been a fan of washing, ethereal soundscapes to accompany my less-than-magical commutes from NE London to SW London (I really know how to pick my work places). The Irrepressibles have produced a remarkably delicate and serene mixture of tracks, and managed to incorporate what I think may be the most romantic song of the year, Two Men In Love, with one of the most impressive vocals I’ve heard recently.
2| True - Solange
A stellar EP from a woman who has to live in possibly the biggest older-sister shadow EVER. Her trippy 80s-synth sound will, I feel, be more suitable for 2013’s summer nights, but even in the bleak midwinter it still makes me feel refreshed and OH I JUST WANT TO DANCE LIKE HER I MEAN LOOK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy9W_mrY_Vk
3| The Idler Wheel… - Fiona Apple
"I ran out of white doves’ feathers to soak up the hot piss that comes from your mouth every time you address me." Well, quite. If you want to hear a woman practically screaming her way through a song about regret, look no further. Phenomenal album. Apple is such a vocally emotive singer. Also the piano/percussion on Left Alone is just nnnnnnnfffffff.
4| Put Your Back N 2 It - Perfume Genius
I was worried that the follow-up to 2010’s Learning would be difficult; not quite there, nothing that would reach the almighty cry-yourself-to-sleep power of Mr Petersen. Oh but I was WRONG, as usual. Just as emotional and just as well-accomplished, this is a remarkable and gentle outpouring. I saw Perfume Genius live this year (I KNOW RIGHT?) and I would heartily encourage you to do the same if you get chance.
5| Channel Orange - Frank Ocean
Possibly my favourite of the year. Possibly. If only for Bad Religion and Pyramids. But anyway. Prostitutes and dealing-with-sexuality aside, this is an album of epic proportions; lyrically, instrumentally, emotionally. In my opinion. Songs that are both unconventional and surrealist feel gently familiar. Maybe it’s the massive unrequited under(over?)tones, I don’t know. The soundtrack to my summer.
BONUS| So (Remastered) - Peter Gabriel
THE BEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME, remastered and rereleased. My heart leaps at the constant joy this record brings to me. This man is a genius and every song on this album is worthy of being repeated on a loop. Play the whole thing at my funeral, &c.