Best-of lists are, as we know, surprising and subjective and designed to infuriate. Why her? Why not him? How could you leave off (insert name of obscure band here).
The truth is, no one will ever be happy. That's why we've turned over duties to the artists themselves. Then, you can start tweet wars with them instead of us. A handful of Houston performers offer their favorite sounds of the year:
Payton Rae  (country singer)
"Believe," Justin Bieber: The album has a very cool variety of songs that can appeal to young and adult "Beliebers."
"Blown Away," Carrie Underwood: This album has an edge, a dark side, and I think that really brings out the best in her. Her delivery of every single song is spot-on.
"Tailgates & Tanlines," Luke Bryan: This is the first Luke Bryan album I have purchased, and the songs on it are so well-sculpted and well-written. It really shows his down-home country roots.
"Good Girl," Carrie Underwood: It has a lot of edge and even a little bit of a rock sound to it. She pulls it off amazingly, and, of course, made it a smash hit.
"Over You," Miranda Lambert: The first time I heard this song on the radio, I instantly fell in love. You can feel and imagine the emotion throughout the entire song.
"Wanted," Hunter Hayes: There are so many amazing and well-written love songs in country music, but "Wanted" really did it for me.
New York City Queens  (Pop/rock band)
John Stephens, vocals: Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange" was by far my favorite album from 2012. It flows through a number of genres and concepts but still retains a fluid feel. "Forrest Gump" is my favorite song of the year.
Daniela Hernandez, guitar/bass: Album: "Bloom," Beach House. Song: Tame Impala's "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards," because the bass line is so phat.
Kitty Beebe, guitar/bass: Tame Impala's "Lonerism" is my favorite album of the year. "Elephant" is my favorite song on the album. Vintage vibes.
Tom Guth, guitar: Grizzly Bear's "Shields," because the instrumentation and overall tonality makes me very nostalgic. "Half Gate" is my pick for best song for the same reason.
Fat Tony  (rapper)
A dozen favorite albums
"Channel Orange," Frank Ocean
"Gen," B L A C K I E
"Task Force," Lil B
"End of Earth," Antwon
"Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City," Kendrick Lamar
"Mature Themes," Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
"Trap God," Gucci Mane
"Blue Dream & Lean," Juicy J
"No1 2 Look Up 2," Big Baby Gandhi
"51," Kool A.D.
"Lonerism," Tame Impala
The Manichean  (Pop/rock band)
1. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Music from the Motion Picture), Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin: I bought this album on my phone immediately after the movie finished because I couldn't wait to listen to it. A gorgeous score of strings, xylophone and glockenspiel (among) other childlike instruments that I doubt I'll ever tire of.
2. "Ghostory," School of Seven Bells: Ethereal, synthed-out blissfulness. The kind of album with the ability to turn driving for 45 minutes into an enjoyable experience.
3. "The Crow Mother," Wickerbird: Lush, quieted, minimalist folk, utterly drenched in reverb and melancholy. The perfect album to sit against a tall forest tree and be slowly buried alive in snow.
1. "Koi No Yokan," Deftones: As a longtime Deftones fanatic, I believe they have truly hit their stride as weathered artists who continue to innovate and refuse to take the easy route with their music.
2. "Coexist," the xx: I love The xx. I can listen to them the way I listen to trance music, which is just all the time, no matter what.
3. "A Sea Es," A Sea Es: I haven't been able to put down the eponymous debut album by Houston poppers A Sea Es. It's like a great book. I will certainly continue to indulge in whatever they release in the future.
Kaitlyn K  (pop singer)
One Direction: They became one of my favorite boy bands with their first album "Up All Night." Who could pick a favorite song?
Phillip Phillips: His single "Home" really got me interested. And his new album, "The World From the Side of the Moon," has (other great songs), including "Gone, Gone, Gone."
"Rock of Ages": I am a really old soul, and classic rock is always on my playlists. I love all the classic hits by Journey, Foreigner, Def Leppard and Poison. The movie "Rock of Ages" really sparked my interest again in the '80s.
Quinn Bishop (Owner, Cactus Music )
Top 11, in no particular order:
"Life Is People," Bill Fay
"Nootropics," Lower Dens
"Falling off the Sky," the DBs
"The Stars," Nada Surf
"Lion's Roar," First Aid Kit
"Tempest," Bob Dylan
"Nothing Here Seems Strange," Buxton
"Stone Rolling," Raphael Saadiq
"Researching the Blues," Redd Kross
"O Be Joyful," Shovels and Rope
"Fear Fun," Father John Misty