Because, y’know, no-one asked for it - but here you go.
10. Factory Floor - Factory Floor
On paper, this has everything that should make it my number 1; DFA records, icy-cold girl vocals, thumping vintage drum machines. On record it doesn’t quite add up, but still makes it into my top 10. A couple of great songs, but the record lacks the soul to sustain over the full length.
8. Tie between Drake - Nothing Was The Same and Beyonce - Beyonce
It might seem a bit premature to put Beyonce’s album - which the world has had for less than a week - into a list so soon, but it really does have quality. Can’t put it any higher, as I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it on the 20th or 30th listen, but I’ve paid it with Drake, as I think they’re quite similar, in a way. Beyonce and Drake are the top of their games at the moment, and while both these records have big singles, they’re records which work best as albums from start to finish. In a year when most of their competitors turned out dire albums with a good single or two, this shouldn’t be overlooked.
7. Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
Frightening, industrial, dubby churn. Made me feel a lot of the feelings, in a way that most instrumental music can’t and doesn’t.
6. Annie - the A+R EP
So I’ve totally got a crush on Annie - but I think she’s cool with that. This EP - just 5 tracks, with a bonus remix on the picture disc - showed the bigger pop divas what to do if you only have 5 songs. No filler. No crap. Just vintage, bubble-gum Annie.
5. HAIM - Days Are Gone
When the first HAIM tracks started circulating online, I gave it a listen, and it really didn’t click. But when the album came out, and the days started to get warmer, it grew on me. In a weird way, like they’ve done a Ariel Pink or a Washed Out record, completely devoid of all the intentional eccentric bits.
4. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Maybe they’re trying too hard to have fun, but then, what’s wrong with somebody trying to have fun? Reflektor picked up on the clues they left in “Sprawl II”, and gave us an album full of LCD Soundsystem producing the Talking Heads. Their best since “Funeral” - but also a much easier listen.
3. Savages - Savages
Dark, moody and probably impossible to follow up, Savages painted themselves into a corner with 100 litres of Resene black-on-black. Challenge and reward, rise and fall, capture and release.
2. Miley Cyrus - BANGERZ
I was expecting a complete disaster. A number of the tracks made me LOL. Some of them still do. But in spite of the way she’s portrayed in the media, this is a record with a number of very clever songs on it. Obviously having the producer of the year, Mike Will Made It, on board, was part of it - but it should be noted that he had nothing to do with the album’s centerpiece, Wrecking Ball. In less than six months she’s gone from being a sanitized Disney princess to the biggest pop-star in the world, and that’s no mean feat.
1. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Hype! There was a lot of it. When “Get Lucky” was first released, it must have been all I listened to for a whole week. Then the album came out, and many people were disappointed that it wasn’t 12 songs like “Get Lucky”. Well Discovery wasn’t just “One More Time” another eleven times. It’s a remarkably coherent statement for a record that features so many guests, as well as it’s backwards-looking rhythm section. And it sounds *amazing*. It’s got bangers, it’s got dance epics, it’s got pop and it’s also got the quiet bits. It’s not that dissimilar to the structure of Homework and Discovery - and like those albums, will probably hold up better than most things released this year.