As Anwyn said at about this time last year, the idea of any one person listening to enough music to confidently list the “best” records of a year is implausible; music critics do at least have the obligation to try, whereas I don’t (and, looking at stuff like Pitchfork’s end-of-year lists, I felt extraordinarily relieved that I don’t listen to any indie music). So this is more of a list of things I liked last year that I don’t think I’ve written enough about.
First of which is my favorite track of the year, Sky Ferreira’s “One.” It does something kind of marvelous with the futuristic sheen that’s become omnipresent in R&B and pop music, making it break down, that is, represent technological breakdown. The vocals don’t just stick, they corrode, while the bright keyboard line sharpens to approximate shattering glass (reminiscent of an earlier track by producers Bloodshy and Avant, Britney’s “Piece of Me”). I imagine this is what it sounded like inside Goldman Sachs’s high-frequency trading computers on May 6. Everything else Sky Ferreira has done seems to be pretty awful (“One” wasn’t even released in the US, we got this dreadful Pink impersonation instead), but she’s apparently written a song with Klas Åhlund, so there’s some hope she’ll get close to producing more stuff this good.
Robyn may have boxed herself into a similar corner by making what is, as far as I can tell, a perfect record, “Hang With Me”: