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.
Jon Pareles Answers Soundcheck's 2012 Music Survey:
1) Favorite Album -- Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
"Out of [Odd Future] emerges this melancholic, introverted weirdo, crooning about everything that isn't cool in hip hop -- and makes a wonderful record."
2) Favorite Song -- Bonnie Raitt, "Not Cause I Wanted To"
"Bonnie Raitt distinguished herself as a song picker this year. 'Not Cause I Wanted To' is, I think, as good as one of the songs that she's always sung -- which is 'I Can't Make You Love Me.'"
3) Favorite new band / newcomer -- Alabama Shakes
"They get straight to your heart. Brittany Howard is an amazing soul singer, and a really serious, heartfelt songwriter too."
4) Biggest Musical Surprise -- Vitality of geezers: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Rolling Stones...
"Bob Dylan is as tough minded as any rapper. He's as heartfelt as any sensitive indie rocker. He's got his own sound world. And he wrote some really good songs."
5) Biggest Musical Disappointment -- Auto-Tune isn't over
"I keep thinking it's going to be like the mullet of sounds. People are going to look back on this era and say, 'Why did I let that onto my record? Why did I let my hair do that?'"
6) Music Trend of 2012 -- The march beat
"It's everywhere, and I'm not a big fan of marches. The beat is kind of boring, kind of European, kind of not swinging. It's a coercive beat -- it just stomps you and sends you in one direction."
7) Most Memorable Concert -- Radiohead at Bonnaroo
"Bonnaroo has the best sound system that I've ever heard. It's like you're wearing headphones. It was the perfect place to see Radiohead -- they were on fire."
8) Worst music (song or album) -- Maroon 5, "Payphone"
"[Payphone] has every bad trend of 2012. Including Auto-Tune, including a whiny male voice, including a rap interlude that has nothing to do with the rest of the song, including a kind of lame beat -- you can't find a payphone anymore, who is he kidding?"