Back when I reviewed 100s of CDs or so a year, I’d compile a “Top 25″ records for that year. Usually whatever Spoon put out that year would win and some hardcore record would be way too high on the list because I had just seen a band live, but I’d end up being pretty proud of the list (as proud as you can be of a list, I suppose).
Unfortunately, I cannot post the lists and make fun of myself because I forgot my Myspace account info — where I used to post the lists — and I had my profile set to private for some asinine reason.
1) I’m not going to list Drake or some other “I made it the hard way if the hard way is making it because people knew me from the Disney Channel” act just to pretend I “get hip-hop.” I will put hip-hop records on here that I wore out or am wearing out.
2) I’m not going to list 25. I listened to a lot of soul this year. Otis Redding and Sam Cooke died a long time ago, but putting “Pain In My Heart” on this list would be unfair. Also rode 2010 records like The Roots’ “How I Got Over” and Pearl Jam’s “Backspacer” pretty hard.
3) Bands I’ve known before get a lot of love if they did something pretty good. Tough.
4) Records like Radiohead‘s “King of Limbs” were quite good, but I’m not going to pretend they blew my mind just because its Radiohead. I also love the Beastie Boys, but I’ve listen to “Hot Sauce Committee” about four times and it feels like it was twice too many.
5) I guarantee Adele‘s record is amazing because I wore out the few tracks I have, but I don’t have the whole record so I won’t pretend I know and loved it. That’s why this is my list, not a know-all, heard-all list.
So without further ado, here’s my first “Top Records” list since about 2008. I’m going to keep it at five. If my musical rebirth continues, I’ll return to a number closer to 25 in 2012.
1. The Roots, “Undun”
– I’m sure there are folks out there thinking I’m in the “Drake” boat here as the white dude who just adores The Roots, but I don’t care. The “neo-soul” idea is the place to where I believe hip-hop was meant to evolve. A Tribe Called Quest, EPMD, any hip-hop group worth its blood uses elements of Motown and groove well. Jay-Z and Kanye West did a cool thing when they sampled Otis Redding, but The Roots just channel the man. Get it right.
2. Roger Bryan & The Orphans, “37″
No joke. They might be local and everybody’s buddies in Buffalo, but this record may have captured the life of being in a traveling band better than any “national” act. And anyone who knows how much I’ve loved ripping on their lead guitarist/friend of mine knows it hurts me to admit the high quality of this record. It really is a brilliant and stirring work of art.