If there's one thing I've learned through my 2012 music selection process it's that guitars have had a really bad year.
Working to decide my top three records of 2012 has been a struggle. My shortlist this year was heavy in R&B, Rap, and Electronic music with all the guitar hopefuls releasing records that failed to inspire.
My shortlist, based on my last.fm (which I think is totally broken at the moment… these numbers are really wrong due to terrible iOS support) listening habits, looks a little something like:
- Japandroids _ Celebration Rock
- The Weekend _ House of Balloons
- John Talabot _ Fin
- Cloud Nothings _ Attack on Memory
- Squarepusher _ Ufabulum
- Four Tet _ Pink
- Alt-J _ An Awesome Wave
- Frank Ocean _ Channel Orange
- Beach House _ Bloom
- Grizzly Bear _ Shields
That's only 5 records that even have guitars with two R&B records and three electronic records. Looking at the numbers used to generate my shortlist it's clear that the electronic music has had a lot more plays than the guitar music.
As always selecting only three records from everything I've listened to this entire year is ridiculous, however for the sake of tradition I have chosen:
Four Tet _ Pink
One of the best electronic records I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. It's completely subtle with so much character between each song. While keeping his own style through such a large shift into dance club tracks, Four Tet has released my favourite full length of the year. I can listen to the entire record over and over again finding new shifts and pieces I missed before, which is the only thing that can keep me listening over and over again.
Frank Ocean _ Channel Orange
Sexy, sweet, and extremely well paced. This record features so many amazing songs and ideas you can't help but listen through the entire record in one sitting. If anything the record is too well put together and too easy to listen to for such a young artist that I know he'll struggle to meet his own standard next time out.
Alt-J _ An Awesome Wave
This record, and band, came from absolutely nowhere to release a debut record that bands dream about. It's quirky and it features a vocalist who could stand out anywhere. The songs are well written and the lyrics build some beautiful scenes. I have had this on hundreds of times already this year.