4. She and Him - Volume One
Zooey Deschanel has been melting my heart since she played William Miller's older sister in Almost Famous. Even though she sings, hearing the news that she was pursuing a recording career, with M. Ward nonetheless, I braced myself for an indie scene clusterfuck of epic proportions. What I heard once I finally took the plunge and listened, was quite the opposite: Deschanel became the first actress-cum-musician that you don't want to poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Alternating between '60s style girl group stylings ("I Was Made For You," "Sweet Darling") and confessional ballads ("Change is Hard," "Sentimental Heart"), this album delivers emotional sincerity with a knowing wink. I'm still hoping that the title of this collection isn't just a hint at future endeavors. Volume One has a truly timeless feel; it's an album your dad will love (in a good way).
4. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah, Part One (4th World War)I swear to everything sacred Erykah Badu is not human. She is a magical and spectacular goddess who was sent to Dallas, Texas to melt face. Seeing her live is life changing, and seeing her perform this album live was an out of body experience. "Telephone," her gorgeous tribute to her mentor and friend Dilla, brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. I cannot wait for the next Amerykah installment. I just want to hang out with her. You know, cruise around Brooklyn, smoking a j, listening to music that hasn't been invented yet, talking about André 3000. I mean that in the least creepy way possible, really.