Here’s the thing. I’m pretty sure that the way I go about picking an Album of the Year is different from that of most music bloggers — or publications of any kind, for that matter.
For one thing, I just pick from among those I’ve actually reviewed over the course of the year. I don’t even pretend to try to sample and evaluate all the zillions of albums that have hit the market. That would be pretty silly to even attempt, especially when you consider that the GMC covers a lot of different kinds of music.
On top of that, I’ve actually cut back a little on the number of reviews I’m doing these days. (Regular readers might have noticed that, but maybe not.) That means I had a smaller pool of choices available to me than in past years. But I still reviewed several dozen albums, and — rest assured — the album I’ve picked would probably have been my choice even if I’d reviewed a thousand. It’s that good.
My review of Bossa Nova Stories by Eliane Elias was written in January 2009. Even though the album was originally recorded in 2008, it had been reissued in 2009 to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of bossa nova. But none of that matters. What’s important is that it held off challenger after challenger and emerged as my clear choice for Album of the Year.
The talented Brazilian is one of the most acclaimed musical performers around, and if you don’t believe me you can look at some of the accolades on her website (including one from the GMC). Her keyboard skills alone are enough to elevate her above most, but when you add her warm, rich singing voice, it’s a potent and intoxicating mix.