Here are the 10 best albums of 2012


Japandroids (Credit: Japandroids)

For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the fractured state of pop music, it would seem consensus is still alive and well, if not on record label balance sheets. We continue to consume Adele like the air we breathe and we all agree that Taylor Swift is never, I repeat, never, ever, ever getting back together with "insert name here."

It's a wonderful life.
As always, there continues to be interesting music made, with enough varied pleasures and ways to listen that you could have had an amazing listening year and never touched the radio.

Fueled by a flurry of likes, retweets, and tiny hearts, there is more content being created than can reasonably be consumed, so with no claim to comprehensiveness, here are 10 albums that we thoroughly enjoyed in 2012:

1. 'Celebration Rock'
It turns out the formula for the elixir of youth is two Canadians, one guitar, one drum kit, and an abundance of mortal rock spirit.

2. 'Tramp'
Sharon Van Etten

A snapshot of a young woman on the move, Van Etten's "Tramp" had the feel of a major work, using moments both quiet and loud to capture a balance between anger and vulnerability.

3. 'Kill My Blues'
Corin Tucker Band

The latest from the Sleater-Kinney veteran unfailingly earned repeat listens with its intensity and relentless sense of fun.

4. 'R.A.P. Music'
Killer Mike

This album may have been released on Adult Swim's record label, but Atlanta's Killer Mike is no joke. His politically charged verses and producer El-P's booming beats on "R.A.P. Music" ran rings around single-based pop-rap.


Dan Snaith, of Caribou, dropped a deliciously simple dance record, full of subterranean synthesizer lines that squiggle and pulse like neon light.

6. 'Channel Orange'
Frank Ocean

Few artists drew as much attention in 2012 as this soulful R&B game-changer, whose achingly personal art was a perfectly designed crowbar to deconstruct expectations.

7. 'Until The Quiet Comes'
Flying Lotus

Los Angeles producer Steven Ellison set off on a psychedelic exploration that flows and twists through blunted-out clouds of cosmic soul and modernist rhythms.

8. 'Antibalas'

Afrobeat and its legendary founder Fela Kuti are still enjoying a pop culture boost from the success of the Broadway musical "Fela!," but his legacy of jazz, soul and native rhythms lives on in this Brooklyn-based band.

9. 'Clear Moon/ Ocean Roar'
Mount Eerie

When everyone else was looking in, Phil Elverum looked around, and did his best across two albums to capture the messy magic and looming dangers of nature and life itself.

10. 'Europe'
Allo Darlin'

The low-key indie pop charmer from this Elizabeth Morris-fronted band feels like a favorite on the first listen, with a gentle wistfulness that flows through songs about home, heartbreak and simply living.


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