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Year’s Best: Okayplayer’s Top 12 LPs Of 2012

Year’s Best: Okayplayer’s Top 12 LPs Of 2012

Okayplayer top 12 albums of 2012

Cody ChesnuTT - Landing On A Hundred (cover art)

2. Cody ChesnuTT – Landing On A Hundred
One of the most exciting artists of the new millenium returns from the wilderness to deliver a stunner of a sophomore LP, roughly 9 years behind schedule. This spot was supposed to be owned by D’Angelo and yet Landing On A Hundred, Cody ChesnuTT‘s totally unlooked-for follow up to 2002’s Headphone Masterpiece is perhaps even more impactful for coming out of leftfield. The surprise is not just its existence, but its sound as well. The joyful mood of Landing–introduced by the very first track, the gospel-infused “Till I Met Thee” (below)–is a departure from the sublime sleaziness which characterized signature tunes like “The Seed” and “B**ch, I’m Broke.” For some older fans this new voice will be too sincere, the classic soul arrangements and production too safe when compared with the raunchy reinventing-rock edge of his previous efforts (though it is still present in places). In fact, the album versions of some songs pale in comparison with their rawer live sessions (neither the LP version of “Everybody’s Brother” nor an earlier incarnation from the 2010 EP Black Skin No Value come close to the spare organ and voice session ChesnuTT released in conjunction with the album). But as Black Orpheus already knew, you can’t sing about loss and redemption and mean it unless you have been to the underworld and back. The best writing on Landing On A Hundred reflects the fact that ChesnuTT has experienced both sides of life and when one of the great talents of a generation is willing to strap on his helmet and report with emotional honesty from the frontlines of such experience, the heat generated is undeniable. When the songwriting and production click with those soaring highs of emotion, as on “That’s Still Mama” and–most especially–“Chips Down In No Landfill” the songs that result are not merely song of the year contenders. They are Beatles-level badass. There are many moments on Landing On A Hundred when the listener may wish ChesnuTT had pushed further or been more willing to experiment with palette of 70s-era soul. But when it comes down to it, he is one of the only artists making music in 2012 who possesses the voice and vision to even achieve disappointments–and glorious successes–on this level. Sometime we overstate the ability of music to change our lives; we can’t say if or how many souls will be saved for all eternity by Landing On A Hundred. But it carries more than its fair share of songs that can save your soul for a day–a rare achievement in an era of songs that barely succeed in distract you for their 3-minute run time.

>>>Purchase Landing On A Hundred on iTunes

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