Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City

Usually, when we run other publications’ year-end best-album lists on this site, those lists are the products of long intra-staff email threads and target-audience triangulation. Hell, our own list will be the product of five people’s own personal lists, everything weighted and moved around so it best represents the group rather than the individual. But New York magazine has exactly one music critic on staff: The great Nitsuh Abebe, who wrote the magazine’s much-discussed Grizzly Bear cover story a couple of months back. So the magazine’s top-10 albums list is entirely Nitsuh’s own, and even though it overlaps very little with my own, I have to say: It’s smart and considered and a great read. Like every critic, Nitsuh has his own soft spots — his twee-pop and R&B are my knucklehead-rap and basement hardcore — but his writing is sharp, and his reasoning makes sense. And since it’s just one guy making the list, it doesn’t make much sense to argue over what did or didn’t make the list. Check out the top 10 below.

10 Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
09 Elle Varner – Perfectly Imperfect
08 Evans The Death – Evans The Death
07 Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
06 Mount Eerie – Clear Moon and Ocean Roar
05 Jessie Ware – Devotion
04 Death Grips – The Money Store
03 Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
02 Chairlift – Something
01 Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City

You should definitely head over to Vulture and read the stuff Nitsuh wrote about his picks.

Comments (25)
  1. this list is incredible and properly encapsulates a wide spectrum of 2012 releases. props.

  2. Nitsuh’s terrific. Glad to see a heavy-hitting critic who isn’t afraid to say that Miguel’s album trumped the consensus favorite in Frank’s. Would really like to read a Nitsuh essay comparing/contrasting the two records.

  3. Finally, some well-deserved year-end recognition for those two awesome Mount Eerie albums.

    • Agreed. I like this list just by virtue of their inclusion. They’re both killer albums that deserve to be on more top ten lists than just this and the one I wrote on a piece of notebook paper and threw away because I thought it was stupid that I did that.

  4. Really good for such a short list. Obviously his 10 album list differs somewhat from mine (shocker) but it’s great to see Chairlift’s album getting some love.

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  6. Jessie Ware is something else, man. Amazing talent. I hope she continues to thrive.

  7. This is the list guys. A few of my favorites aren’t here, but it’s OK because this is the only list this year so far that isn’t total bullshit.

  8. Ahh yes, finally a year-end list fit for the young professionals of Park Slope’s finest tastes!

  9. Who is Elle Varner? And my ranking of major US magazines for your interest!
    1. New Yorker
    2, Vanity Fair
    3. New York
    4. Time

    Weell, that;’s it. I used to read their Daily Intel blog but can’t be arsed now as they don’t have mobile version (it’s 2012 FFS) it’s just got pretty annoying yeah. As for the actual list, this is pretty random choice. They probably didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. They just needed to fill up music section of their Best of 2012 leading story or whatever so what.

  10. This list is so personal that I almost feel like I’ve violated this dudes privacy by reading it. Kudos to him for going left of center, but there are, quite simply, a few on here that should not be ahead of more impacting albums.

    • “More impacting albums”? If it’s as personal a list as you say it is, then it should be the albums that impacted Nitsuh, not music/culture in general.

  11. Great to see Mount Eerie in the top 10 on a list of a pretty popular magazine.

  12. Channel Orange and Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City were maybe the two most critically acclaimed albums of the year, but I don’t think I’ve seen them both in the same top 5 or maybe even top ten. Does anyone have them 1-2 for the year or do most people(like myself) favor one much more than the other?

    • I prefer Channel Orange by a long shot. I hate those skits on GKMC, think the last song is extremely mediocre, and just found the back end of it to drag with repeated listens.

    • I’m definitely favoring channel ORANGE, but a lot of it is timing. I know a lot of people give late year releases “the benefit of the doubt” because they haven’t had ample listening time.

      I mean Frank Ocean is high on my list because months after its release I still find myself going back to that album. I’m still sinking into Kendrick’s (got it in the car) and liking it more and more, but just recently I took it out and put back in Killer Mike’s album.

      So I feel some people/places (NME with Crystal Castles at #4) just assume they’re going to still REALLY like a late release months down the road. An album that gets released late in the year has to take over my life in order to breech my Top 10 (I’m looking at you Godspeed).

    • They actually are my 1 and 2. I just keep coming back to those two, listening to them over and over, and enjoying them in different ways every time. I think both are really strong, but I have Channel Orange slightly above good kid, m.A.A.d.city

  13. Spin has Channel Orange and Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City at 1-2

  14. I fuckin love K.Dot, but GKMC is actually kinda… boring. I find the production way less interesting than Section.80 (Even if the bad songs on 80 are much much worse).
    Compton is a bad song that would be great, if the hook wasn’t so horrible.

  15. Glad to see Money Store made it – no album has grown on me like that one. They play with noise so goddamn well. At first, I just tolerated the din, for the awesome melodies, but eventually you start to like the noise just as much.

  16. I love this list. Kaleidoscope Dream is exactly where it should be. Also the first list I’ve seen that mentions Elle Varner. I don’t think her album is worthy of the top 10, but nice to see her mentioned. Did I miss something on Chairlift’s album? Only 2 or 3 songs really stuck with me from the album after at least a dozen listens.

    Also- Sky Ferrerrerrerrerreia’s “Everything is Embarassing” as the pick for single of the year. I love the song. I just don’t know if I love it because the music video almost turned me straight or because it’s simply that good.

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