In last week’s Year in Review edition, we ran a list of our writer Rich Lopez’s top 10 discs of 2012. Well, he’s not the only contributor who likes to write about music: Chris Azzopardi has his own ideas. And while there is some cross-over (Frank Ocean, natch), it’s interesting to see how they differ. Here, then, are Azzo’s favorite CDs of last year:
10. Cat Power, Sun. Clocking in at just under 11 minutes, “Nothin’ But Time” starts simple enough, with just piano and fuzzy static — then there’s some man chants, and Iggy Pop. On paper it’s a hot mess, but the heartfelt coming-of-age mantra (during which all things seem infinite and possible) beautifully builds into a euphoric mind-release that breezes on by. For the musical oxymoron “Ruin,” Chan Marshall’s a world traveler singing over a bouncy drum beat, chiding fussy Americans. The hallucinatory “Manhattan” drops you in the bustle of a big city, where you’re just a speck of broken dreams and memories. On “3, 6, 9” she’s so drunk that her looseness translates to the song’s rhythmic punch. And to your ears. Forever and ever.
9. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange. Can men who love men make it in the supposed anti-gay realm of hip-hop? Frank Ocean answered that question when he came out via Tumblr and topped the charts with his solo debut, rightfully earning him kudos, a rabid fan base and Grammy nominations. And it’s not just hype. Channel Orange renders his poeticism — about sex, drugs, love and longing — into progressive hip-art beats. The music, though, is only the half of it: Frank’s voice rolls over your sound holes like the “buttercream silk shirt” he sings about on “Lost,” an acid trip that will have you trying to find your way out. This is the gem, though, that’ll go down in the books: “Bad Religion,” so painfully pointed it hurts.