Today In Best Of’s: Pitchfork, Slate And The Fader Demonstrate Three Good Ways To Breakdown A Year In Music

by (@zaragolden)

We indulge in our fair share of constructing and consuming year end lists, but Pitchfork, Slate and The Fader’s year end’s are three we especially look forward to. Each takes a different approach at breaking the year in music down, and the insights that result tend to vary: Pitchfork’s is complete, Slate’s is super rigorous and The Fader’s always manages to spotlight the truly important things (in music, and also just in general, e.g.: “Top Four Pictures of Usher and Animals”). We heart these lists.

Like we said, Pitchfork‘s carefully considered Best Of lists come complete. So far this year they’ve counted down their Top 40 Metal Albums, Top Music Videos, Best and Worst Album Covers and they are in the midst of unraveling their best albums (50 through 21 went up today, presumably the rest will go live tomorrow?), so their top ten singles from 2012 until then:

10. Jai Paul, “Jasmine”
9. Fiona Apple, “Werewolf”
8. Beach House, “Myth”
7. Tame Impala, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
6. Bat For Lashes, “Laura”
5. Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”
4. Kendrick Lamar, “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”
3 Usher, “Climax”
2. Frank Ocean, “Pyramids”
1. Grimes, “Oblivion”

Slate‘s year-end stuff is, if you’ll believe it, think-y. Instead of making straight lists, they round up a handful of music writings best and have them just talk. This year’s Music Club includes Jody Rosen, Will Hermes, Jason King, Ann Powers and Lindsay Zoladz, and so far their correspondences have gone in on YouTube, R&B’s resurgence and one of the year’s great questions: “What are we to make of all these female-identified pop stars singing about their dicks?” And there are lists, too, which include more Frank Ocean, more Jessie ware, more Fiona Apple and more Miguel.

One of our favorite music criticism franchises is The Fader‘s By The Numbers album reviews. These mathematical and graphic reviews distill major releases down to digits, but not lazily like “number of songs” or “number of people who bought this” or “number of dubstep breakdowns/single.” Rather, they really seem to think about the album and the artist and what you need or want to know and the divvy it up that way. The By The Numbers for Rihanna’s Unaplogetic, for example, includes “Credited Songwriters: 45,” Number of times Rihanna sings the word ‘diamond’ or ‘diamonds’ on ‘Diamonds’: 38,” and “Grammatically contested tattoo: 1, Rebelle Fleur.” So, yeah: informative and fun! Their end of the year Listmania is similarly remarkable, as it breaks the year down into very timely and specific Top’s lists. Best Singles and Favorite Videos, these lists are not. No, instead we get “Top Four Holograms,” “Top Thing That Will Make Her Dance” and “Jay-Z’s Top Eight Nights at Barclays Center Ranked in Order of How Awesome They Probably Were by a Person Who Attended None of Them.” Combine this with Pitchfork’s extensive lists and there you’ll have it: 2012 totally ranked.

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