How are you supposed to write a list like this? Unless you're a music magazine or an established music blog (where it's usually more of a collective effort anyway), I don't really believe in listing more than twenty albums of the year. Twenty is a good number because it gives you more leeway than ten, and it is enough to give a broad overview of your year in new music. More than twenty and I think it comes off a bit like, "these are the albums I checked out once or twice this year and didn't find to be completely terrible, please validate my music taste!".
For example, 2012 was the year that No Doubt released a new album after eleven years, but it didn't make my list. The Mountain Goats, who already have a boundless back catalogue, also released something, but I can't have listened to it more than three times so far, so that is not going to make my list, either. Just because your all-time fave artist releases something one year, it doesn't mean it's going to be amazing, and I think people need to keep that in mind when writing these lists.
Anyway, I give you my top twenty:
- Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
- Grizzly Bear - Shields
- David Byrne & St. Vincent - Love This Giant
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
- Japandroids - Celebration Rock
- Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
- Tall Ships - Everything Touching
- Soap&Skin - Narrow
- Lower Dens - Nootropics
- Liars - WIXIW
- Willis Earl Beal - Acousmatic Sorcery
- Beach House - Bloom
- Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
- Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
- Shoes And Socks Off - Miles Of Mad Water
- Yuna - Yuna
- Grimes - Visions
- Mount Eerie - Clear Moon
- Hurray For The Riff Raff - Hurray For The Riff Raff
- Cat Power - Sun