Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid
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Janelle Monáe can do no wrong. Her range, her style, her love of art all comes shining through on this album and Deep Cotton should be commended for their true talent and orchestration. Lyrically, the album dazzles and gives an operatic quality to whatever futuristic soul is. Her self-described “emotion picture” is my one true love of musical releases this year.
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
If this is a cliche, I don’t give a damn. Kanye, flaws and all is a modern master. I don’t know what I can say about him that hasn’t already been said but the album is so beautiful next to all of his other works and showcases his mastery. The fact that so many people have come to collaborate with him gives us a glimpse of the wide range of respect he has in the industry. How can you not want to work with him? He’s grown up so much and whatever self-therapy he administered that allowed this piece of art to grow out of him, we are all better for it. Somebody oughta say AMEN!
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way
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Your favorite artist’s favorite artist. Miss Jones and her kings just take it back. Way back. This album had me doing the two step by myself in the middle of my living room (while my roommates weren’t home of course.) The way chick breaks it down on the vocals on “If You Call”… If someone can give you chills in a studio album, it is not to be taken lightly.
Dirty Projectors & Björk – Mount Wittenberg Orca
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This was my happy album of the year. The vocal prowess that Björk demonstrates and calls Dirty Projectors to is technically valuable but what I really love about this collaboration is that it tells a story. It feels honest and cohesive and all around beautifully made music.
Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
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This chick came out of left field and hit me in the face at a very transformational time in my life. Whatever it is she speaks to the wandering wistful youthful spirit in me. Newsom’s not for everyone but to me she really captured the feel of this year’s complex nature.