29 Jan 2013

Ten Favourite Albums of 2012

My last post was a total downer, I know, but it'd be wrong to suggest that 2012 was a total musical disaster. On the contrary, there've been some really excellent records out this last year. As usual, I've been pretty penniless (and I don't download records, or use Spotify because it gives me vertigo) so naturally I've only encountered a small section of the year's output. But still, all the records listed below are both interesting and important. Rather than simply throw around the standard adulations, I've tried to consider how each achieves its particular effect, and what it might tell us about our times, our culture, and the future of music. So here it is, finally,

here are my Top 10 Favourite Albums Of 2012...

24 Jan 2013

2012: The Year in Musical Disappointments

2012 was a frustrating kind of musical year for The Night Mail. Despite the fact that there were significant new releases from practically all of my super-official, fantasy-league, pantheon artists* (including my two hyper-ultra-official, gun-to-my-head favourite bands**), it was actually a pretty disappointing year for music. Or maybe it was because of that fact. There's nothing quite so conducive to disappointment as looking forward to things.

For one thing, I didn’t really latch onto any earth-shattering new artists or stylistic ideas, and - while admittedly this might be due to some personal critical oversight on my part - skimming over the various ‘End of Year’ lists on my most trusted blogs and webzines would suggest that my own awareness of the year’s hypees wasn’t too far removed from that of the broader blogosphere hegemony.

For another thing (strike two), 'Call Me Maybe' aside, it was an incredibly bad year for proper pop too. It's a good indication of the state of affairs when learning the 'Gangnam Style' dance becomes a significant plot thread on Glee. (Notes for a future thesis: Arguably the success of the first two seasons of Glee had a lot to do with the quality of the chart pop circulating at the time. To some extent, the requirement to include hit songs has a determining factor on the direction of the plot and the nature and affective quality of the musico-dramatic set-pieces available to the writers. Glee has been crap all year, go figure.)