A few weeks ago, we started publishing a weekly capsule called “Reviews in brief,” rounding up a summary of the week’s reviews in one-sentence form, along with completely arbitrary ratings, just for fun. We do this, not as a substitute for our reviews, but as a supplement. If any of our readers missed something, and wanted an easy way to catch up before reading each review, verbatim, we could offer a shorter introduction, and even a teaser as to whether or not we liked the damn things. But the year’s half-over now (more than half, actually) and now seemed like a good time to put together one-sentence summaries of our favorite albums of the year. We assembled 36 of them. Sure, it’s a lot, but it’s been a pretty impressive year so far. So even if it’s just 14 albums shy of our year-end tally, bear in mind that this is just a milemarker, and that the next five months could just as easily match or even best what we’ve seen so far.
Erykah Badu – New Amerykah, Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (Universal Motown)
A little less freaky, a little less fiery, but still the stunning songstress as always.
Rating: 8 out of 10 afrocosms.
Band of Horses – Infinite Arms (Columbia)
A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of win.
Rating: 8 out of 10 geographical mix-ups.
Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
Dream-gazer, slow-pop wonderment, now with real drums!
Rating: 9 out of 10 reparations from Katy Perry.
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse (Jagjaguwar)
A dense rock epic that hits like a tidal wave.
Rating: 8 out of 10 oceanic metaphors.
Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
Outkast emcee shows just how fat Daddy’s sax is. Pimp.
Rating: 9 out of 10 fur coats.
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record (Arts & Crafts)
Ever-expanding indie rock collective invites some more in for a breezy, art-rock party.
Rating: 8 out of 10 unshaven frontmen.
Caribou – Swim (Merge)
Snaith pumps a disco pulse into his electronic wilderness.
Rating: 8 out of 10 aquatic antlers.
Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here (Editions Mego)
Hypnotic late night dreamworlds and sci-fi synthscapes.
Rating: 8 out of 10 rhetorical questions.
Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Warp)
LA turntablist goes cosmic on some zodiac shit, trips out Sun Ra style.
Rating: 9 out of 10 satelllliiiiiiites.
Foals – Total Life Forever (Transgressive-Sub Pop)
UK indie rockers ramp up the grooves and mature gracefully.
Rating: 8 out of 10 fresh salt licks.