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Ocean dominates NYT critics' lists

PERFECTLY FRANK: The N.Y. Times published the Top 10s of its four in-house music critics this morning, and the #1 album of senior critic Jon Pareles is Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. “The moody introspection of a soul-ballad man fuses with the metaphor-making skills of a rapper in the sparse, aching songs that fill Frank Ocean’s official debut album,” Pareles offers. “Even with some resemblances to Prince and R. Kelly, he’s an unusual character for R&B: estranged but observant, admitting an attraction to a man, finding emptiness where others find material or emotional comfort. And in their sound as well as their lyrics, his songs create hollow spaces that they can only sometimes fill. As the tracks make eerie, restless dissolves between instruments and electronics, the songs melt down and recast themselves, again and again.” Here’s Pareles’ Top 10:  

1. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange (Def Jam/IDJ)
2.
Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel… (Epic)
3.
Bob Dylan, Tempest (Columbia)
4.
Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d. city (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope)
5. Grizzly Bear, Shields (Warp)
6. Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls (ATO)
7. Norah Jones, Little Broken Hearts (Blue Note)
8. Metz, Metz (Sub Pop)
9. Bettye LaVette, Thankful N’ Thoughtful (Anti-)
10. DJ Rashad, Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi (Lit City Trax) 

Topping his singles list is Bonnie Raitt’s “Not Cause I Wanted To.” As for Pareles' fellow critics, Nate Chinen’s #1 album is saxophonist Tim Berne’s Snakeoil (ECM), with Ocean #4; Ben Ratliff’s topper is Cuban pianist David VirellesContinuum (Pi), with Ocean #5; and Jon Caramanica’s fave LP is Emeli Sandé’s Our Version of Events (Capitol), with Ocean again #4. Notice a trend here? (12/12a)     

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