Now Take Them Out Devils Presents: The Year In Pop (Part 1)

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By Simon Lazarus Vasta

The days are short, the nights are cold(ish), and midtown has thoroughly covered itself in a anxiety attack-inducing amount of holiday paraphernalia. The Salvation Army dudes that are very specifically not Santa line the thoroughfares, ringing their bells. The stores are packed with exhausted parents buying more than they can afford. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, folks: List Season. It’s a time for critics to come together, hold hands, and scream at the top of their lungs about whose opinions are objectively better. It’s a time for pandering to your base, for emphatic hyperbole, for arbitrarily picking what the seventeenth best album of the year is. More importantly, it’s a time for the media to canonize itself, to tell you what’s culturally important and what isn’t. After all, who would let you know what you like if we weren’t around?

Without further ado, allow me to hand out these honors that are totally real and I didn’t just make up right now:

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The WU LYF Award for Band Most Likely to be Snubbed goes to: Chromatics

When Kill for Love dropped in March, folks were talking about it like it was the sequel to Nicolas Refn’s Drive. But March is a long time ago, and a lot of prettier prospects have shown up to the dance since, and the sleek yet empty charm has worn off. Expect this to be suspiciously absent from a lot of year-end lists.

Honorable Mention: El-P

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The Scott Walker Award for Most Pants-Shittingly Terrifying Album goes to: The Seer, by Swans

After a while, it feels like it’s stalking you. You feel its presence even when you’re not listening to it. This two-hour hodge-podge of no-wave, blues, metal, and bizarrely straight-forward pop sets up shop in your head, enticing you to play it again and again. It haunts you, like Danielewsky’s House of Leaves. And don’t even get me started on that insane, horrifying, perfect album cover.

Honorable Mention: Bish Bosch, by Scott Walker (Disqualified due to its use of stock fart sounds)

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The Chicago Award for Most Complementary Album Covers goes to: Beach House’s Bloom and Frankie Rose’s Interstellar

The Crystal Castles Award for Most Same-y, Mediocre Claptrap goes to: (tie) Beach House’s Bloom and Frankie Rose’s Interstellar

This isn’t to say that these albums sound the same (although they do come from the same reverb-y bedroom place covered in Slowdive and Felt posters), it’s that almost every track on them is virtually identical to the one that came before it. The music isn’t bad, by any means, it’s just boring, forgettable, and highly critically acclaimed. Make of that what you will.

The Ever Since They Put Twin Peaks on Netflix Instant, Everyone’s Been Ripping Me Off Award goes to: Julee Cruise

Well that’s it for now, but be sure to join us here next week for part two to find out about 2012’s best occult folk operas and aesthetic shifts! The fun literally never stops. Follow Simon Lazarus Vasta on Twitter @Hunter_S_Narc

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