List Photo: Mad African!: (Broken Sword)

music The Best Albums of 2012

20 items Embed

List Rules As usual, I don't include live albums, compilations, or reissues

Limiting to just a Top 20 turned out kind of challenging this year, which either means I listened to a lot more music in 2012 or that it was just a far better year than most. Not sure which. Spotify certainly makes the former more likely, and also is the main reason I found myself trending more towards playlists and individual songs this year than listening to albums straight-through, which used to be basically the only way I listened to music. So I think a Top Songs of 2012 might actually be more telling about the way I heard new music this year... but still, a Top Albums list is standard and, as I said, there were more than enough complete album experiences I enjoyed in 2012 to fill out a good list.

In particular, this is an intense Top 5. Fiona Apple returns with probably her best overall collection of songs to date, Tame Impala made the year's most listenable rock album - and probably the one that will hold up the best after another year or two of listens - Dinosaur Jr. continued the greatest rock reunion imaginable, Kendrick Lamar proved definitely that rappers are the only ones who can pull off a concept album any more, and Grizzly Bear continued to mesmerize.

1
The Idler Wheel... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
The Idler Wheel... Fiona Apple

The Top Metal Albums of All Time The Best 3 Piece Bands Of All Time

2
Lonerism is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Lonerism Tame Impala

3
I Bet on Sky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
I Bet On Sky Dinosaur Jr

4
good kid, m.A.A.d city is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
good kid, m.A.A.d city Kendrick Lamar

5
Shields is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Shields Grizzly Bear

6
Celebration Rock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Celebration Rock Japandroids

7
Channel Orange is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Channel Orange Frank Ocean

8
Reign of Terror is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Reign of Terror Sleigh Bells

9
Attack on Memory is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Attack on Memory Cloud Nothings

10
Open Your Heart is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Open Your Heart The Men

11
Visions is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Visions Grimes

12
Old Ideas is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Old Ideas Leonard Cohen

13
Psychedelic Pill is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Psychedelic Pill Neil Young & Crazy Horse

14
Tempest is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Tempest Bob Dylan

15
Let's Go Eat the Factory is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Let's Go Eat the Factory Guided by Voices

16
Mature Themes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Mature Themes Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

17
Fits is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Fits White Denim

18
Confess is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Confess Twin Shadow

19
Fear Fun is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Fear Fun Father John Misty

20
Wrecking Ball is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Albums of 2012
Wrecking Ball Bruce Springsteen