Concert of the year: … And possibly the gayest, was Rammstein’s show at American Airlines in May. Madonna had nothing with her high-heeled boys on this German metal band. With blatant dom-sub action — not onstage but on the catwalk above the audience — the five-member band excited the nearly full arena on their first huge tour in the States. But then there was lead singer Till Lindemann riding the hugest cock ever (a cannon, really) while “ejaculating” white foam all over the floor audience. Why not? Pyrotechnics ruled the night and yet all the displays and outlandish visuals still enhanced their brand of hard rock and dance-metal. Plus, it never hurt that the band is also hot and beefcakey.

The year of the queer: This was the year of the gay artist. Yeah, yeah, don’t box them into labels, but the fact is, many out artists released new albums that were also great. Four of them made my best-of albums list, but only just because there wasn’t room for the likes of Bob Mould, Imperial Teen and Adam Lambert. We also heard from the Scissor Sisters, Brandi Carlile, Xiu Xiu, Melissa Etheridge, Bloc Party, Amy Cook and Grizzly Bear, to name a few — all doing excellent work.

Comeback of the year: Although it’s debatable that it was a great one, Madonna re-emerged in full force on the public radar with a new album, tour and Super Bowl performance. MDNA got off to a decent start but fizzled shortly after its release. The bigger news was that Madge was going on tour and coming back to Dallas after more than 20 years. The bigger news locally was the loud groan heard through the city when she canceled the first show due to laryngitis. But her backing tracks helped her along on her Sunday show and fans who have been waiting to see her either since Blonde Ambition or for the first time, were properly sated.

In memoriam: Music lost banda singer Jenni Rivera in a plane crash this month, but the community also lost an ally. She participated in 2011’s Spirit Day and performed at the Billboard Awards in a purple gown acknowledging LGBT victims of bullying and suicide. According to GLAAD, she had even invited the organization to come and discuss bullying on her radio show. And that comes after the passing earlier this year of disco queen Donna Summer.

Tube-ular: With Frank Ocean’s debut album buzzing, the queer singer gave a killer performance on Saturday Night Live, pushing him into the stratosphere. Every step he has made this year has felt like a move forward for the black gay community — especially in music. Ocean also received six Grammy nominations. And queer-friendly local singer Sarah Jaffe just made her step into a bigger public eye by appearing on Jimmy Kimmel in December. Known for more delicate, internal tunes, she churned out the impressive rocker “Talk” and likely upped the ante on music in general.

— R.L.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 28, 2012.