Well, I disagree. I didn't buy and listen to enough new music this year to be any kind of expert in what's the best of the year. And besides, if anybody wanted that sort of thing, they could buy an issue of Rolling Stone or check out the billboard charts and get exactly that. Frankly, I don't have the time or the resources to buy and/or listen to everything that came out in one year. And my musical tastes, though varied, prevent me from forcing myself to listening to every single boring piece of output by pop princes and princesses like Myley Cyrus or Arcade Fire. Commercial pop isn't really my thing and droning bland, nearly chordless dullness isn't something I can recommend no matter how artsy it may seem at first. At the same time, i realize that Mumford & Sons may appeal to quite a number of people, but that doesn't really include me.
So, I'll just go by my own experience this year. A few examples of some things that have surprised me or just what I've found interesting personally.
Something Blue: Jack White's Blunderbuss (2012) displays perhaps something obvious about Jack White. He doesn't think the same way as the rest of us. Neither did he give us a full-on rock album, nor did he tone down everything for a more commercial sound. Songs on this album have open spaces. Natural echoes and resounding tones of electric guitar and piano play throughout this album. A listen through the whole album gives your ears lots to listen to in between the strike of the notes. Even drum hits are allowed to resonate and trail off. This gives the slower songs on the album a haunting quality that suits the dark theme of the raven on the cover. The upbeat songs take on the sound of a party in a sparsely furnished room like a cabin. The song 'Freedom at 21' is the obvious hit-single on this album, but this album is more of a journey through several different moods all with a blues-hint or flavour. I have to say that I was actually surprised at how much I liked this album, but I guess if I was more of a fan of White Stripes, I might wonder at this new direction. I think Blunderbuss hints at even more interesting stuff in the future.
'Not in Love' seems simple and yet the lyrics tell of a complex relationship. The sound of the song 'Video Disease' suggests we're all hooked on television. The guitar on Doesn't Really Matter is absolute coolness from opening riff to the snapping rhythmic bridge to solo.
In their time, and despite high sales of their first album, the critics dismissed Platinum Blonde as pretty boys, while industry and corporate-marketing pressed them for ever more commercial albums and catchier tunes, trying to break them into the U.S. as an attraction for teenage girls. But true fans of the band seemed more genuinely impressed by the original sound of the band, relying on Sergio's guitar skills and clever use of bass and drums (especially what sounds like the loudest rim-shots I've ever heard in the song Doesn't Really Matter). Despite some success, and several Canada-based hits, the band broke up as the '80s ended.
Well, the Blondes finally got a little more respect a couple years ago when Robert Smith and a group called Crystal Castles covered one of their songs in 2010. 'Not in Love' has over ten million views on the Crystal Castles YouTube channel and was an international hit. I still think the original is better, but hey... i still think the whole album is underrated.