Yes, it’s time for my Best of 2012 wrap-up, starting with the subject I know least about these days: music. And while some of the “jams” below did indeed “drop” this year (as the young people say), what follows is mostly just a snapshot of my own personal soundtrack for the Mayan Apocalypse:
Single of the Year: “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye (featuring Kimbra): Overplayed and inescapable since its U.S. debut last January…yet I’m still diggin’ it after months of endless rotation, which for me is the mark of true instant classic pop. (And the fact it sounds like a long-lost Police single doesn’t hurt, neither.)
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild soundtrack: One of the reasons I don’t listen to much new music in my old age is simply and sadly that I don’t have (or make) time for it anymore. I read on the treadmill, I barely road trip, and all those pesky lyrics break my concentration when I’m working. But Benh Zeitlin’s soundtrack to his own flabbergasting indie fable (co-scored with Dan Romer) is nothing but pure music in a mystic swamp symphony I kept on heavy rotation throughout the storms and sea changes of a tumultuous annum.
4. Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm. I bought this when it first debuted in 2005…and then never really listened to it until rediscovering the noir-flavored song cycle earlier this year. As always, Mann’s voice is cozy as a quilt as she trills sorrowful toe-tappers like “King of the Jailhouse”: maybe there’s something wrong with me that I can’t see, indeed.
3. Amanda Fucking Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra: Theater Is Evil: The one-time Dresden Doll and current Mrs. Neil “Moneybags” Gaiman stirred controversy by funding this album on Kickstarter (while — oops! — not raising enough to pay musicians who volunteered their time on tour dates). But whatevs – haters been hatin’ on Ms. P’s diva theatrics since her street performer days as The Eight Foot Bride in Harvard Square (and, hey, maybe they’re right)…but she’ll always be my go-to gal for apocalyptic operatic punk cabaret lady pop (at least when Siouxsie Sioux’s outta town).
2. Janelle Monáe: The ArchAndroid: But when it comes to apocalyptic operatic R&B ska-hop (and whatever else the genre-hopping chanteuse feels like tackling), this amazing 18-track opus brings the wild rumpus like nobody’s business.
1. Various Artists: The Meat City Beatniks & Dynamic Duos. Sure, maybe I’m biased…but the work-in-progress Meat City compilation (due in 2013) and the Society For The Advancement of Hearing Loss project Dynamic Duos featuring tunes by and from the likes of James & Martine Dryden (of Moonflower fame), Eric Jacobson, Tim Sprague (of The Blob), George Nisula and Stephen Ramone Lewis (of Audio Spanking), Mark Wagner, Commodore Snerd (featuring the lovely and talented Amy Jeglinski-Osborne) and many others (including the lyrical stylings of Scott Von Doviak) were my favorite musical juggernauts of the year. Click here for the SAHL songs and you’ll just have to wait for the rest…
…but in the meantime, please to enjoy a 2011 favorite and a 2012 farewell performance that served as my personal theme songs throughout this fearsome Year of the Dragon.