Best of ’12 Extravaganza


TODAY: 11 Favorite Albums of 2012, 38 Also-Favorites and 54 Almost-Favorites
SOON: 11 Favorite Songs of 2012 and a Spotify Playlist with a Bunch of Other Songs That Are Also Really Good
ALSO SOON: 11 Favorite Music Videos of 2012 and a Very Long List, Longer Than I’m Willing to Count, of Other Music Videos That I Like (I Watched a Lot of Music Videos This Year)

Welp, a month and change late, I’m raising The Ashtray Says from the dead to humbly present to you my favorite musical things of 2012, in groups of 11, because it’s a way more fun number than stodgy old 10, don’t you think? My 11 favorite albums, unranked, followed by two more tiers (“love” and “almost love”) of great albums, presented alphabetically. 11 favorite songs (also unranked), with a link to a Spotify playlist containing 74 more songs that got under my skin in a serious way at some point this year. And 11 favorite music videos (you guessed it, unranked), followed by a very long list of other great videos you could peruse if you’re really trying to kill some time.

I’m presenting these favorites in a format both more condensed and more sloppy than I have in the past two years, because instead of burning myself out on the process, I’d prefer to use this listifying as a way to ramp up back into music writing in 2013 after a rather long hiatus. And, in my mind, it’s better to do this a month into the new year, when you’ve had some time to sit with the year’s music, than to do it in late November, a ridiculous deadline that most major music publications seem to have adopted.

So, why leave everything (relatively) unranked? I mean, obsessing over numerical rankings can be fun (for nerdly nerds like myself), but let’s face it — on an individual level (versus, say, a magazine’s voting system), it’s pretty thin facade of objectivity. Love for music (or any cultural work, obviously — but music especially, I tend to think) just doesn’t work that way; if I re-ranked the albums on my 2010 and 2011 lists today, the order would be utterly different. And also, like, priorities, right? That shit takes a long time.

I almost considered not putting anything at all together this year, because listening to music with the intention of slotting it somewhere into a list in the distant future is a pretty silly habit. But fortunately, a few members of the small but loyal group of people who pay attention to these blobs I write specifically requested it. (These are people I know we’re talking about here, I’m not trying to say I got, like, emails about this. Ha.) My buddy Ryan, in particular, was adamant that I do this, and it was his birthday a few days ago, so happy birthday Ryan, hope you enjoy it.


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