Not posing. Not a bid for hipster status. Not trying to refute millennials with Gen X wisdom. Not dissing Beyoncé. Not trying to pick black-and-white cover art. This truly, humbly is what I listened to and loved this year.
  1. "Blackstar," David Bowie — What else did you expect me to choose?
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  2. "Principe Del Norte," Prins Thomas — Warning: austere Norwegian DJ double album.
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  3. "The Narrows," Grant-Lee Phillips — Americana that doesn't get the hype of a Sturgill but deserves it.
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  4. "Skeleton Tree," Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds — This is getting predictable — and depressing. All these albums about mortality!
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  5. "You Want It Darker," Leonard Cohen — See previous entry.
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  6. "Plays the Music of Twin Peaks," Xiu Xiu — Novelty nostalgia covers album for a vintage weirdo TV series? Emphatically, no. Blew. My. Mind.
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  7. "22, A Million," Bon Iver — This was a great Radiohead album! Wait, no — a great Kanye album! Wait, no — just listen to the vocals alone and tell me it's undeserving.
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  8. "Living With Secrets," Bad Sports — Warning: austere punk EP from Denton, Texas.
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  9. "Made in the Manor," Kano — Behind the curve in getting into U.K. grime.
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  10. "Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel," Chris Robinson Brotherhood — This is the spot in the list where you shake your head in abject disappointment and grimace at all that should have appeared here instead of the dreck I chose.
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