Recording information: The Royal Albert Hall, London, UK (09/22/2011).
A 22-track summary of recordings nominated for the 2013 Grammy awards, this was released a couple weeks prior to the ceremony and doubles as a decent sampling of 2012's popular music. Two of the inclusions -- the Black Keys' "Lonely Boy" and Fun.'s "We Are Young" -- are connected to nominations in five categories, while several others are up for multiple awards. Each nominee in the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist categories (aka "the big four") is represented, making this a handy entry point and an accurate snapshot. Unfortunately, Frank Ocean's ten-minute "Pyramids" is edited here to four minutes for the sake of space; it's odd that "Thinkin' Bout You," a Top 40 hit of typical single length, wasn't included instead. ~ Andy Kellman