80 // Lil Wayne // Tha Carter IV
It was a weird year for Lil Wayne, mostly because it wasn’t weird enough for the dude who makes a living out of being zany. The new chapter in Tha Carter series saw him try his tongue at statements and one liners that all felt too serious. It’s not like anyone takes him seriously anyway.
79 // Lil B // I’m Gay
What is the left to say about this album? Lil B is the Based God, he swags your bitch to the hundred billion thousand and on his new album he sticks to what he does best, which is fucking around like a lunatic. The only saving grace is pretty awesome production and interesting samples.
78 // Braids // Native Speaker
Experimental music is called that not because it’s weird but because it refuses to sound like something else out there. Which is exactly why Braids can’t be called experimental because Native Speaker is the biggest AnCo’s Feels rip off that is humanly possible. Feels is my favourite AnCo album though so I’ll let that one slip.
77 // Andrew Jackson Jihad // Knife Man
It has been a hard year on acoustic music. There was lack of imagination and sense of enjoyment. Andrew Jackson Jihad are not the ones for seriousness therefore their new album was as good as any that preceded it. Some seriously great lyrics too.
76 // Unknown Mortal Orchestra // Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Too many rock bands are choosing to be revivalists of a dead sound. Not many of the succeed before trying their hand at writing original stuff which is as bad. UMO do succeed at being 70’s revivalists. Can they take the next step?
75 // Patrick Wolf // Lupercalia
Patrick Wolf should simply be disallowed to write music when he’s happy. The lyrical clunkers are all over this overly jolly album that ranks as his worst. You can’t blame him for not having his heart in it though.
74 // Thundercat // The Golden Age Of Apocalypse
For a guy that is a bass virtuoso and works with the best producers on the planet, Thundercat’s debut was a limp experiment in free flowing smooth jazz and left field electronica. It does establish him as something more than just “that guy who played bass on Cosmogramma”.
73 // Washed Out // Within And Without
While many of his peers tried to move away from chillwave, Ernest Greene has kept to his guns and stuck by the sound that made him famous. Within And Without stands as one of the best albums in the genre that was dead before anyone released a chillwave album.
72 // Dum Dum Girls // Only In Dreams
Chicks making lo-fi rock music. 2nd album that is slower than their first one. All the things point to failure for Dum Dum Girls but with the help of some seriously good songwriting they just about survived the backslash and delivered a decent album.
71 // Lady Gaga // Born This Way
I was willing to give Gaga a chance. Behind all the outfits she looked like she had a thing or two to say. It’s a shame then that Born This Way features none of her so called avant garde influences and opts for generic euro dance sound. It neither disappoints not delivers.
70 // Nicolas Jaar // Space Is Only Noise
The trends are changing at the speed of light lately and while it was cool to make downbeat minimalistic music, next year it’ll be cool to overstuff your songs with everything. In which case Space Is Only Noise stands as the last great bedroom headphone electronic record to come out in a while.
69 // BadBadNotGood // BBNG
Jazz is dead. For a genre that is based on improvisation there’s just not enough artists that are willing to push boundaries. Colin Stetson released an album this year that was a brave and bold mess but it’s BBNG and their versions of Joy Division, Flying Lotus and Zelda that steal the show.
68 // Metronomy // The English Riviera
Metronomy have stripped themselves of anything that made them interesting and delivered one of the better left field pop albums of the year. Was it worth it though seeing as we have more than enough people taking care of the boring 80’s revivalism?
67 // Das Racist // Relax
In some ways Relax is the disappointment of the year. Sit Down Man and Shut Up Dude were both peerless in the scene of hip hop that takes itself way too serious. Relax’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t take anything seriously enough.
66 // Clams Casino // Instrumental Mixtape
A collection of beats from the best new producer of the year. Clams Casino bridges the gap between hip hop and psychedelic dream pop. Surely soon he’ll achieve more than just selling his beats to Lil B and Soulja Boy?
65 // Julianna Barwick // The Magic Place
What do you expect from your ambient record? Droning synths? Reverbing guitars? A lot of feedback? The Magic Place is built by Julianna’s voice and it’s the only thing that keeps it afloat for the whole of album bar some complimentary piano and percussion. The Magic Place is as great as it is boring.
64 // Belong // Common Era
Belong is a band that can’t write a melody without masking it under many walls of noise. Somehow this lazy and amateurish approach is exactly what makes Common Era stick out from the rest of this year’s releases. It’s no October Language but it’s not like it wants to be.
63 // The Drums // Portamento
It’s funny to see bands having meltdowns, especially big bands who start bitching at eachother during festivals. The Drums aren’t any of those and their drama queen moments when a member left were more than just embarrassing. Despite all that we still got a flawed but decent follow up. Second album’s forays into electonica included.
62 // Toddla T // Watch Me Dance
The best dance music refuses to take itself seriously. Watch Me Dance has no ambitions to blow your mind, it is merely a collection of good tunes that sound like they’ve been done before but sometimes everyone needs a bit of mindless fun. This is mindless fun with a lot of heart and charm.
61 // Big Troubles // Romantic Comedy
It’s quite hard to pick an album that was released on Slumberland Records seeing as all the music that they release is completely identical. What set Big Troubles apart from their labelmates is their willingness to evolve their sounds past the boring reverb shit. Big choruses included.