My choice for Record of the Year shouldn’t really come as a surprise. It’s got to be Bruce Springsteen’s Magic. I don’t know that I find it as strong as some others have but when you combine a return to the essentials of rock music with the underlying themes of many of the songs, it comes out a winner.
Overall, I thought this a relatively weak year for music. There are a couple other releases that earned consideration for Record of the Year. They include Sky Blue Sky by Wilco and In Rainbows by Radiohead. I think the former is Wilco’s best to date and the layers of acoustic sound on In Rainbows outweigh the electronica I tend to dislike. Besides, there aren’t many bands other than Radiohead that can use a phrase like “The infrastructure will collapse” in a love song — and make it work.
Still, both suffered the same problem for me. On one listen I would really like what I heard; a time or two later I wasn’t overly impressed. I simply kept bouncing back and forth. Magic, in turn, grew on me with each listen and reinforced Springsteen’s status as both a musician and a songwriter.
Leave everything you need and carry only what you fear.
“Magic,” Bruce Springsteen, Magic