Monday, December 17, 2012

Completely Random Thoughts #45: Album of The Year?

"Free Expressions" by Etana [2011]
The best album of the year? With the last day of the year now coming up on two weeks away, it seems like a very nice time to start going back and thinking of a few pieces such as that album that released wayyyyy back in January which you thoroughly enjoyed, but haven't really listened to from maybe June-ish (biggup Da Professor) and seeing exactly where it fits in. It's also a good time to maybe check out that record that you didn't pay your greatest attention to and, again, seeing and hearing just how good it actually was and if it should be on a list representing the class of 2012 (biggup Admiral T). You'll do this, likely, for a variety of different things, but saying someone had the Best Album of The Year in a particular genre, at least in my opinion, is a great distinction and is a testament to that artist and everyone behind the scenes in more avenues than just that one project. You're essentially saying that these people are extremely good at what they do and for one twelve month period, they were without peer.  
"The Burnin Melody" by Lion D [2009]
So what makes an album THE best of the year? And what would make one confident enough to proclaim an album to be such, particularly when they KNOW they haven't heard every other qualifying project. For me, the top ranking album is one which initially, for whatever reason, sets itself apart from the hundreds and probably even thousands of others in a given year for you. Be it as simple as just a feeling you have or one of your favourite artists or producers or whatever. There's going to be something about that album which gives its own 'category' in reference to your tastes even before you listen to all of it. Of course, I'm probably not the one to ask as two out of my last three top choices, 2010's "Long Journey" by Naptali and 2009's "The Burnin Melody" by Lion D (any day now Lion D), took top honours from me and very likely only me (because everyone else was wrong). But that is yet another fascinating product of such a distinction: I certainly would not, but with that extra order stuck on there it is absolutely no way now that I EVER forget either of them and their music. That album can come from anyone and it's always just as nice when it comes far off the proverbial radar, as it is from a bonafide superstar - as it did last year, when Etana's magical "Free Expressions" was the best album to be found in my opinion. 
"Long Journey" by Naptali [2010]
 Now that's just my opinion, here's another.
Your 2013 Grammy Award nominees for the Best Reggae Album are:

  • "Rebirth" by Jimmy Cliff [Ume/Sunpower Records]
  • "Miracle" by The Original Wailers [MRG Recordings]
  • "Reggae Got Soul - Unplugged On Strawberry Hill" by Toots & The Maytals [Isis Productions/Metropolis Recordings
  • "Tomahawk Technique" by Sean Paul [VP Records/Atlantic]
  • "New Legend - Jamaica 50th Edition" by Sly & RobbieThe Jam Masters [Mondo Tunes]
I've gone over and over these things over the past few years and just don't see the point this year. What I will say, however, is that with no one named Marley to block his path (and he's only ever lost the award to Marleys), it appears as if Sean Paul is headed for his second Grammy. "Tomahawk Technique" was not a favourite of mine (so many songs there sounded like each other), but who cares. The only competition would figure to come from the legendary Jimmy Cliff, who would also take his second win here. You'll find many Jimmy Cliff fans greater than me, but I have to admit that "Rebirth" is, by far, the finest album on that list of four albums and a five-track EP (two studio albums, a live set, a compilation and an EP…) (yeah). 

You could also take the interactive approach of our friends at Da Ville
And, with a really nice idea, leave the decision to the masses. 

Or you can just make one giant list, like we always do. Whatever your standards and whatever your favourite album from the year, enjoy what has been one amazing year for Reggae music and Reggae albums in particular - highlighted by a fireball

The 20 Best Reggae Albums of 2012 - coming soon

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