2013 Records To Die For
It has been another year of great torment and turmoil in the world of recorded music. The loudness wars grow ever . . . well, louder. The confusion and profusion of formats continue to roil buyers of tracks and albums. And streaming services like Pandora and Spotify continue to bleed off purchasers of downloads and physical media. Yet at the same time, the LP, once derided as dead and gone, is back with a vengeance. In short, everyone has had to find their own waythe mix of online and physical that works for them. Fortunately, all this diversity and change have not kept fans from listening, or stopped the truly devoted from still needing their music. And happily, the old adage about audiophilism is still true: If you're willing to invest in quality gear, you probably own considerably more than five records.
Every year, we ask each of our distinguished crew of music and equipment contributing editors to give us two albums (yes, we're still using that term) that he feels are special, and to tell us exactly why. The only restrictions are that they must be available, if only on eBay (speaking of sea changes in musicdom), and that they can't be records that that writer has chosen before. Despite the near-constant upheaval in terms of formats, not to mention the problem of artists getting paid and the still potent menace of piracy, lasting music still wins out, and we hope to have highlighted some of it here. Welcome to the 2013 edition of Stereophile's "Records To Die For"!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 "(XXXV-6)" means that a review of the recording appeared in Vol.35 No.6 (June 2012).