2012 Records To Die For
At a time in history when the music business seems less interested in making anything of lasting value than in churning out disposable musichits intended to be consumed for a few days via iPod, then left behindthe notion of cherishing the masterpieces, the records to die for, seems a lost art. Yet it's exactly that state of beingas when Lady Gaga's latest outfit commands a bigger spotlight than the recent Pink Floyd reissuesthat makes our annual "Records To Die For" feature that much more essential.
Most audiophiles first amass a pile of music, then go out and get them some high-end gear. They may love their brushed knobs and pretty lights, but ultimately it's about consuming the musicletting that timeless, resonant stuff fill your head and your heart with an endless supply of endlessly varied thoughts and feelings. Somehow, real musicthe melodies you'd die fordoesn't get old or lose its power. A new era gives it new meanings, and amplifies those you'd discovered in the past. It's art you can count ontunes that stand the test of time.
Every year, we ask our contributing editors, both hardware and music, to chose two collections of music they cherish, and to (briefly) tell us why. What follows are their impressions for 2012. Being truthful and unswayed by fashion are hallmarks of this magazine, and things are no different here in "R2D4." So please enjoy these self-evident musical truths. Hopefully, they'll remind you of some of your own. Keep listening!Robert Baird
Note: If a recording listed here has previously been reviewed in Stereophile, whether in "Record Reviews" or in past editions of "Records To Die For," the volume and number of the pertinent issue appear in parentheses at the end of the review. For example, a listing of "(XXXIV-11)" means that a review of the recording appeared in Vol.34 No.1 (November 2011).