Music critic Ted Gioia has put together his list of the 100 best albums of 2012. Though Gioia is known mainly as a jazz critic, the list contains a wide variety of different styles and genres. As he explains:
I have no axe to grind. My list is filled with music I enjoy, and suspect others will too—especially if they have a reasonably good ear, and an open mind. I like recordings that show some flair and creativity, a sense of style, solid musicianship, and an emotional commitment to the moment of performance. I appreciate it when an artist possesses a sense of musical tradition; on the other hand, I don’t want to see slavish imitation of the past. When music strikes me as too formulaic or contrived or cold, I start to lose interest. Like any critic, I want my readers to think that I am cool and hip and oh-so-up-to-date, but I learned some time ago that many of the best recordings are decidedly uncool and unhip. So if you want to laugh at me for including an American Idol contestant in my top 100, or making some other dorky move, feel free to do so.
Gioia suggests clicking on the albums in his list to buy them… but luckily, I was able to find a lot of these albums on Spotify, where they can be streamed for free. I put together a Spotify playlist of all of them that I could find. Not everything on Gioia’s list is here, but if you’re looking for some new and interesting music, this 807-track, 48-hour-long playlist is probably not a bad place to start.