This isn’t a representation of “the best” music, just my favorites. Hell if I know what “the best” is, but I’m sure it’s not everything I like. Not that it matters. Considering how much music I haven’t listened to (roughly 99% of what everyone else loves), this list is probably very meager and pointless to read.

And now that you’re so terribly interesting, here’s a list of albums I really liked this year, roughly in the order that I got them, accompanied by nonsensical descriptions that probably only make sense to me (or not even):

“M. Ward”:http://www.mwardmusic.com/ – “Transistor Radio”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007KIFIM/
I’m not sure why I’m drawn to this, but I knew I liked it from the first listen. Comforting. Soothing. Like swaddling a baby. For some reason, I feel like a lot of the songs would fit well while strolling around Frontierland at night. …oh god, I’ve brought Disneyland into this: whyyyy? Uh. It’s. Um. American. Sounding. I’m going to stop now before I say something stupider.

“Amusement Parks on Fire”:http://amusementparksonfire.com – “S/T”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009I7NY4/
Listening to this album gives me the weirdest feeling of middle school nostalgia. Can’t. Put. My finger. On it. On a less pointless note, this album is fuzzy and muddled with beautiful sounds. Kind of like a good casserole…no wait, more like trifle. [end food thought]

“Youth Group”:http://www.youthgroup.com.au/ – “Skeleton Jar”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0008FPITK/
I listened to the song “Skeleton Jar” about a gazillion times. I still like it. All the songs sound fresh, like those towelettes you sometimes get in Japanese restaurants before the meal. I don’t usually listen to lyrics but “Baby Body” freaked the hell out of me one day when I was riding a NJ transit bus to NYC while thinking about how goddamn slow the bus was crawling, among other relevant things, like how much I sucked. And on that note, the whole album is good and comforting…like pudding. [I said…end food thought.]

“Carpark North”:http://www.carparknorth.dk/ – All Things to All People
File this under “music that will probably never be popular in America for no good reason”. Anthemic electronic infused rock (I said “infused”?). Their music videos are great too.

“Emiliana Torrini”:http://www.emilianatorrini.com/ – “Fisherman’s Woman”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007YMUHK/
If you’re looking for something like “Love in the Time of Science”, you won’t find it here. Emiliana’s voice, which to me hovers somewhere between childlike and…not, shines through on the album’s delicate, sparsely instrumented songs. Reminds me of: autumn, wood, clear skies, etc.

“BC Camplight”:http://bccamplight.com/ – “Hide, Run Away”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009VI4US/
You’re either instantly hooked or you’re not. If you’re not, your soul must be sad. To un-sadden, you can listen to BC Camplight…wait, that might not work. The songs are fun and might be about depressing things but I can’t tell because they sound happy. Brian’s voice clears your head and makes you feel minty fresh. It’s a lovely thing.

“Mazarin”:http://www.mazarinband.com/ – We’re Already There
This album makes me happy. Feels like spring. Lying on the grass. Frisbees. And maybe with some penguins waddling around. “Louise” makes for a good lullaby, but I love every song. _Evvverrrry soooooong._ I felt like that could use some emphasis.

“Sigur Ros”:http://sigur-ros.co.uk/ – “Takk”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AJJNPY
Sigur Ros. Their consistency of supreme-ness is frightening. SIGUR ROS CONSISTS OF ROBOTS WHO MAKE REALLY GOOD MUSIC. Yeah. Icelandic robots. Someone’s gonna hate me for this, but I’m not even sure if this album belongs on this list just because I didn’t listen to it _that_ much. Sigur Ros suffers from the “I really like the first album and while the other ones are good and possibly better, I will never like them as much as the first album” syndrome (I’ll admit, it needs a shorter name).

“Furniture”:http://earsofa.com/ – Twilight Chases the Sun
I’m completely unfamiliar with music from Malaysia, so I wonder if I’m missing out on a crapload of beautiful music or if I just got lucky with Furniture. This album was one of those “instant love” deals. It’s a good deal. I don’t know why they’re not signed. (PS: They have a “blog”:http://earsofa.blogspot.com/.)

“Franz Ferdinand”:http://www.franzferdinand.co.uk/ – “You Could Have It So Much Better”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B0WODA
I almost can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t like FF. Then I saw them live and decided they were awesome. Although I like the first album a bit more, I really like this one. This is the music for my nonexistent party.

“CocoRosie”:http://www.tgrec.com/bands/band.php?id=8 – “Noah’s Ark”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000AGL1PC
They sound like chipmunks, but that works somehow. The random animal and car noises work too. I loved them from the first time I was exposed to their live performance, although I have no idea why. Maybe their music triggers a tiny, specific part of my brain that otherwise lays dormant.

“Cut Copy”:http://www.cutcopy.net/ – “Bright Like Neon Love”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001Z3U10
I haven’t actually gotten this CD, but I can listen to it straight through over and over again with no problem. It qualifies as the danciest thing I like. Inside my head, something is dancing. Another dormant part. (There are lots of those, ooh…yes.)

“Of Montreal”:http://www.ofmontreal.net/ – “The Sunlandic Twins”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007X9TUW/
I haven’t actually listened to this album veyr much, but it’s way too cute. I am intrigued by…the cuteness. It’s enough to induce diabetes. It’s probably not surprising that I first got into them because of the music video for “Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games”. If you haven’t seen it, “you should”:http://video.download.com/3800-11167_53-1096.html.

“Broadcast”:http://www.broadcast.uk.net/ – “Tender Buttons”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A3OX1O
I wasn’t into this when I first heard it. And then I somehow became obsessed with the dance-worthy-ness of the simple drum machine thumping away. The only downside is when they overtake Trish Keenan’s voice, which was a bit of a problem during their live show. Or maybe I’m deaf.

“Rogue Wave”:http://roguewavemusic.com/ – “Descended Like Vultures”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BBOFKO
I happened to listen to Rogue Wave only when I found out Mazarin was touring with them. Luckily, Rogue Wave is really good. I guess I would’ve heard their music sooner or later, but my life without “10:1” would…suck. Suck more than it already does, I mean. I do have one issue: during “Are You On My Side” (WHICH I LOVE), the “do do do” part reminds me of Gir singing the doom song. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s probably for the best.

“Feist”:http://www.listentofeist.com/ – Let It Die
I haven’t listened to this in a while but that’s because a British friend gave this to me last year. Does it still count for this year? Mrrh. He thought I would like it. I did.

“Levy”:http://designedmemory.com/levy/ – Rotten Love
I said this was one of my favorites last year…but it got a wider release this year so I’ll mention it again.

“Mew”:http://www.mewsite.com/ – And the Glass Handed Kites
I don’t have this album yet, but I’m putting it here for now. Yes, trust my nonexistent judgement. It makes no sense that they’re not more popular in the US.

In no order, here are the CDs I liked, but not enough to put on this list:

Beck – Guero
Royksopp – The Understanding
Decemberists – Picaresque
Doves – Some Cities
Kent РDu & Jag D̦den
Magnet – The Tourniquet [I could write a whole entry about this. To sum things up, I’m the biggest Magnet fan I know, to a point, but despite listening to this album over and over and over again, I still haven’t gotten very into it. I like his first album the most and unfortunately, nothing else will ever compare. His sound changes a little bit with each album, not enough to sway previous fans, but enough to be…somewhat different. Er. Yes. Obviously. If his music keeps getting happier-sounding, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’d rather he make an album like the first one or do something completely different.]

The end. If something isn’t on this list that should be, I probably haven’t listened to it. The lack of electronic music bothers me, but I didn’t listen to much of it this year. Coming out soon: B. FLEISCHMANN! And other good things.