Posted 01/29/2012 by cal
I confess: in agonizing over end-of-year pieces, the idea of greatness does enter into the equation, as opposed to just what I liked or listened to most this year. Yes, it’s all subjective anyway, but it gets tiresome listening to music critics year after year mock their contemporaries for trying to make a statement beyond “I enjoyed this”, as if he or she is the first unpretentious writer to take that tack. The designation of Album Of The Year ought to carry weight, whether you’re The Academy or some guy on Facebook; it shouldn’t just be the most-tallied record on your last.fm chart. And maybe I only say that because I know I’m going to be listening to several of these albums a lot in the coming months and years yet, and I know my appreciation for them will change so much that using “like” as the basis for a list makes it pointlessly transitory, possibly even inherently invalid, whereas considering greatness, trying (if in vain) to hypothesize an album’s impact, or even what I think its impact should be, makes the exercise more meaningful.
Then again, judging by the declining market value of music reviews that exceed 140 characters, perhaps this is an exercise in vanity only. Either way, regardless of greatness, my whole point is to get anybody who reads this to check out one or more of these albums that he or she hasn’t heard before, or look at them in a new light and revisit them. So here’s what I really liked an awful lot in 2011.