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Critics Look Back At 2012: Auto-Tune, Geezer Rock, And A Dancing Orchestra

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fiona Apple's critically-heralded album 'The Idler Wheel...' is her first record since 2005. Fiona Apple's critically-heralded album 'The Idler Wheel...' is her first record since 2005. (Dan Monick / courtesy of the artist)

This week, Soundcheck looks back at the past year in music with critics from NPR, Billboard and the New York Times revealing their answers to Soundcheck's 2012 Music Survey, a series of questions about the highs and lows of 2012.

Today on the show, New York Times pop music critic Jon Pareles tells us about some of his favorite records of the year, including Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel and Frank Ocean's Channel Orange. Plus, he discusses the vitality of "geezers" in rock, and tells us that his biggest musical disappointment of the year is that "Auto-Tune isn't over." 

Then, Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette shares her favorites from the past year, including a dancing orchestra. Yes, a dancing orchestra

And members of the Soundcheck team chime in on some of their favorite music of 2012.


Anne Midgette and Jon Pareles

"Geezer Vitality" and Auto-Tune Disasters: Jon Pareles' 2012 Music Survey

Jon Pareles' biggest musical surprise this year? "Geezer vitality." The New York Times music critic tells us, "I could have made a top ten list with people over 50. All these people who make albums now every 4, 5, 6, 7 years, came out with amazing albums." From Bob Dylan, to Bonnie Raitt, to Leonard Cohen, it was a big year for the AARP-eligible crowd. 

Check out his entire music survey below, and listen to his conversation with host John Schaefer up top. 


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Underwhelming Tenors and Dancing Orchestras: Anne Midgette's 2012 Music Survey

Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette shares some of her musical favorites from the past year -- including a dancing orchestra (seriously, watch the video). And, she takes aim at some opera crossover artists who aren't living up to their own hype. 

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Producer Picks: Katie Bishop and Mike Katzif's 2012 Music Surveys

Soundcheck producer Katie Bishop and digital producer Mike Katzif reveal some of their answers to Soundcheck's 2012 Music Survey, including two pop-based trends that they spotted. Plus, they share their favorite albums of the year -- Punch Brothers' Who's Feeling Young Now? and Exitmusic's Passage. And, John chimes in with one of his favorites from the year as well. See the rest of their survey responses here.


Gig Alert: Dar Williams

Singer-songwriter Dar Williams plays at Bell House Thursday night. Download the track "This Earth."