Why There Can Only Be One ‘Best Album’

12/19/2012

I’ll be lucky, if throughout my lifetime I establish a list of 100 favorite albums. If I live to be 100, that would be one epic album for each year of my life. I’m not referring to the dime piece songs I encounter via homemade playlists, internet radio, party mixes, etc. I’m speaking of the collective albums, LP’s and EPs that have provided the soundtrack to my life. The ones that I still frequently play in entirety and look back on year after year. The solid albums that make me reflect on a significant moment in time but are simultaneously timeless.

When asked to write a list of my top ten albums of 2012 I was instantly stumped. Looking back on the year, I couldn’t even come up with five albums that I thoroughly enjoyed again and again from start to finish. It made me wonder how it could be that someone could come up with a ‘Top 50 Albums of 2012’ list or even a ‘Top 10 Albums of 2012.’ How do these people find the time to enjoy all these albums?

Each person appreciates (or doesn’t appreciate) music in their own way, and I respect that. But, for me, learning to love an album is like beginning a new relationship. I purchase or download the album with high hopes–much like the optimism I have when I meet someone new. I’ve never been one to take first impressions too seriously. I acknowledge that they exist, but I don’t consider them to be anything significant. My opinions of music and of a person, almost 100% of the time, change from that first encounter. The first few times I listen to an album is when I begin to get to know the songs and trust that the music is good.

But once I find an album that I consider a gem, I fall head over heels. The music becomes a part of me–a playlist bringing out the life in my everyday rituals. It becomes the music I share with my loved ones or music I remember past love with. My favorite albums are my go-to LP’s that brighten my day on the short drives to the grocery store and keep me awake on long road trips. They are the ones I push play to when I’m at home hanging with my close crew of friends. The music that plays during the party, but also gets you through the next day, cleaning the house and hungover.

Do you ever fall in love with an album and play it hundreds, maybe thousands, of times and it never gets old? These are the albums I’m talking about. The albums you hold sacred, above all the rest of the releases that year that had but a few good songs on them. Quality over quantity is always the case. For me, that quality album in 2012 is channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean.