2012 has been quite an eventful year for most, musicians included. We over here at Buona Vista Music have had the pleasure (and in certain cases, displeasure) of hearing a good number of albums and tracks over the course of this year. So without further ado, here are some of the year's highlights.
Taylor Swift - Red
... only joking. The actual best album:
Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma.
Okay, it may have been the 'safe' choice but, hey, sometimes safe is good right? In an age where music - regardless of genre or type - is trending towards glitzy post-production and wanton use of effects, Pneuma presents itself as a refreshing throwback; it's hard yet catchy, edgy yet easy. I didn't actually post a review of the album here (Satthia, however, did - and you should check it out) but had I done so, Pneuma would have been an easy five-star earner.
Taylor Swift - Red
Easy choice. One Direction and Justin Bieber tried their darnedest to snag this award from the songstress but ultimately failed to do so. Obviously there have been worse albums in the strictest sense (production, songwriting etc.) but Red takes the cake because of simple proportion - given the amount of time, effort, money and manpower invested into its making (to mention nothing of its public reception and sales figures), it should surely have been miles better than it was. What, you ask, was it? A collection of poor lyrics, uninspired music and just about every effect in ProTools and more is what it was.
Most Disappointing Album:
Kamelot - Silverthorn
An album qualifies for the 'disappointing' label if its end result falls short of what was to be expected of it; for this reason and this reason alone hopefuls like Bieber do not have a prayer of making this category, because hey, who in their right mind expects any good music from the guy? Anyhow, Kamelot's Silverthorn has to be one of the biggest letdowns of the year. I spent the weeks before its stipulated release date trawling the internet in search of clips, sneak previews or any indication of what was to come; finally came the day I could listen to the entire album and boy was I let down. The album in one word: stale. Kamelot, you guys can do better - and we know it!
Best Live Performance:
PSMS @ TAB
I've been to a few gigs this year and they were by and large awesome (I avoid attending performances that either feature performers that I don't fancy or have the potential to suck). Tommy Emmanuel's gig was scintillating and Kvelertak (with Truth Be Known opening) was a load of fun, but PSMS is the gig I will most remember twenty years from now because of the musicians' rare combination of skill, presence and chemistry. However, had Tommy's 2012 gig been the first time I saw him, the choice would have been that much tougher.
Worst Live Performance:
Some Busker @ the bridge linking Clarke Quay and Boat Quay
This dude happily destroyed some of my favourite songs one by one. I swear that he was singing a dirge until I stood a mere metre away from him and made out the words 'Love meeeee, tenderrrrr...'. Not cool.