NME's 50 Best Albums of 2012

NME's 50 Best Albums of 2012

Original Source

1. Tame Impala - Lonerism

Tame Impala - Lonerism
October 9, 2012
Psychedelic Rock
Critic Score
86
21 reviews
User Score
87
394 reviews

Sounds phase in and out, drums thunder, guitars chime with warm, valve amp bite, voices are multi-tracked into luscious harmonies, snatched sentences of speech burble in the background, loops repeat and vocals echo distantly, like they’re drifting in from a radio in another room.

2. Grimes - Visions

Grimes - Visions
February 21, 2012
Synthpop
Critic Score
79
24 reviews
User Score
82
248 reviews

It’s like skipping through a thousand excellent tracks on your iPod shuffle and isolating 13 perfect moments.

3. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
July 17, 2012
R&B
Critic Score
91
25 reviews
User Score
85
342 reviews

4. Crystal Castles - (III)

Crystal Castles - (III)
November 12, 2012
Electronic
Critic Score
73
22 reviews
User Score
77
89 reviews

In toning down the shock and awe, they’ve revealed the beating heart at the centre of their work.

5. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
May 28, 2012
Experimental
Critic Score
70
11 reviews
User Score
80
211 reviews

6. The Maccabees - Given to the Wild

The Maccabees - Given to the Wild
January 6, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
69
9 reviews
User Score
75
27 reviews

7. Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim

Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim
March 6, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
71
7 reviews
User Score
77
22 reviews

It is also miles better than ‘Innerspeaker’, and quite possibly the best album released so far this year.

8. The Cribs - In the Belly of the Brazen Bull

The Cribs - In the Belly of the Brazen Bull
May 7, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
70
14 reviews
User Score
74
9 reviews

It still defiantly goes against the grain, but also explodes with immediate, attention-grabbing riffs.

9. Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg
October 15, 2012
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
81
6 reviews
User Score
76
41 reviews

10. Jack White - Blunderbuss

Jack White - Blunderbuss
April 24, 2012
Rock
Critic Score
79
21 reviews
User Score
77
90 reviews

While ‘Blunderbuss’ isn’t that definitive, unarguable document we’ve been seeking, it still feels like his most candid and personal record yet. 

11. Django Django - Django Django

Django Django - Django Django
January 30, 2012
Psychedelic
Critic Score
78
13 reviews
User Score
78
94 reviews

12. David Byrne & St. Vincent - Love This Giant

David Byrne & St. Vincent - Love This Giant
September 11, 2012
Art Pop
Critic Score
74
23 reviews
User Score
75
40 reviews

The arrangements are exquisite from top to bottom, and producer Congleton – who worked with Clark on ‘Strange Mercy’ – helps make it easy for us all to love this giant of a record.

13. DIIV - Oshin

DIIV - Oshin
June 26, 2012
Shoegaze
Critic Score
79
15 reviews
User Score
81
121 reviews

14. The xx - Coexist

The xx - Coexist
September 11, 2012
Indie Pop
Critic Score
77
25 reviews
User Score
75
142 reviews

It hides more than ‘xx’ did, sneaking its miserable joys behind bare spaces, surprise time signatures and subtle dramas.

15. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
February 7, 2012
Folk
Critic Score
80
21 reviews
User Score
82
80 reviews

It has been a joy to see Van Etten growing in confidence as an artist – and this isn’t just her finest album, but one of early 2012’s best.

16. Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber

Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber
September 25, 2012
Dream Pop
Critic Score
77
12 reviews
User Score
78
36 reviews

Here are two people who already see the best in each other, and with ‘Melody’s Echo Chamber’ they’ve tried to make everyone else see it too. It shows.

17. Grizzly Bear - Shields

Grizzly Bear - Shields
September 18, 2012
Indie Folk
Critic Score
83
23 reviews
User Score
84
283 reviews

For all the strange twists and turns, the rich layers and dark beauty to be found, nothing here grabs you and sets up home in your heart like ‘Veckatimest’ did. 

18. Tribes - Baby

Tribes - Baby
January 16, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
66
5 reviews
User Score
68
9 reviews

19. Toy - Toy

Toy - Toy
September 10, 2012
Shoegaze
Critic Score
76
13 reviews
User Score
77
26 reviews

It’s weird and wonderful and you’ll want to listen again as soon as it’s over.

20. Howler - America Give Up

Howler - America Give Up
January 17, 2012
Garage Rock
Critic Score
68
12 reviews
User Score
77
5 reviews

21. Cat Power - Sun

Cat Power - Sun
September 4, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
77
24 reviews
User Score
76
63 reviews

22. Beach House - Bloom

Beach House - Bloom
May 15, 2012
Dream Pop
Critic Score
80
22 reviews
User Score
85
312 reviews

There’s also pleasure in hearing a band do what they do so peerlessly well: croon sweet, sweet lullabies to console us in our fleshy prisons. 

23. Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge

Richard Hawley - Standing at the Sky's Edge
May 7, 2012
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
69
11 reviews
User Score
75
5 reviews

24. Merchandise - Children of Desire

Merchandise - Children of Desire
February 10, 2012
Post-Punk
Critic Score
78
3 reviews
User Score
80
9 reviews

25. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes
August 21, 2012
Psychedelic Pop
Critic Score
73
21 reviews
User Score
78
68 reviews

It’s a hardcore record from a top-shelf kind of a guy, but the work of a unique mind. 

26. Spector - Enjoy It While It Lasts

Spector - Enjoy It While It Lasts
August 13, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
57
8 reviews
User Score
67
8 reviews

‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ is a more than enjoyable collection of old-school indie gems.

27. Jessie Ware - Devotion

Jessie Ware - Devotion
August 20, 2012
Soul
Critic Score
83
23 reviews
User Score
81
92 reviews

Like all the great British pop records of the past five years, ‘Devotion’ combines the present and the past to make a record that sounds both contemporary and timeless.

28. Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light
April 17, 2012
Space Rock
Critic Score
80
21 reviews
User Score
81
109 reviews

This record is, as you’d expect, by turns breathtaking, entrancing, deafening and challenging, and Spiritualized are still the Vatican of bands.

29. Mac DeMarco - 2

Mac DeMarco - 2
October 16, 2012
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
78
13 reviews
User Score
83
122 reviews

What '2' makes clear, quickly, is that DeMarco is a skilful songwriter.

30. Breton - Other People's Problems

Breton - Other People's Problems
April 3, 2012
Dubstep
Critic Score
61
7 reviews
User Score
74
9 reviews

31. G.O.O.D. Music - Cruel Summer

G.O.O.D. Music - Cruel Summer
September 18, 2012
Hip Hop
Critic Score
66
19 reviews
User Score
73
29 reviews

After the twin peaks of ‘Watch The Throne’ and ‘My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy’’s rap-pop grandeur, ‘Cruel Summer’ feels slight in comparison. 

32. Graham Coxon - A+E

Graham Coxon - A+E
April 2, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
77
9 reviews
User Score
75
6 reviews

Coxon has made one of the best albums of his career – a pop record with dangerously anti-social tendencies. 

33. Hot Chip - In Our Heads

Hot Chip - In Our Heads
June 11, 2012
Electropop
Critic Score
73
23 reviews
User Score
79
81 reviews

34. Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man

Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
October 15, 2012
Indie Pop
Critic Score
78
24 reviews
User Score
81
93 reviews

For large swathes, it's like being plunged into a fairytale soundtracked by skin-prickling electro and populated by downtrodden sods hunting for breadcrumbs of comfort.

35. Metz - Metz

Metz - Metz
October 9, 2012
Noise Rock
Critic Score
81
14 reviews
User Score
80
60 reviews

36. The Vaccines - Come of Age

The Vaccines - Come of Age
September 4, 2012
Indie Rock
Critic Score
63
12 reviews
User Score
64
31 reviews

‘…Come Of Age’, then, is not perfect, but it’s a damn fine specimen of a band on the way to something great.

37. Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour

Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour
January 17, 2012
Critic Score
65
6 reviews
User Score
70
6 reviews

38. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Trouble

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Trouble
June 12, 2012
Electronic
Critic Score
77
9 reviews
User Score
78
15 reviews

39. Liars - WIXIW

Liars - WIXIW
June 5, 2012
Experimental Rock
Critic Score
83
24 reviews
User Score
79
63 reviews

40. Poliça - Give You The Ghost

Poliça - Give You The Ghost
February 14, 2012
Indie Pop
Critic Score
79
16 reviews
User Score
73
23 reviews

A shyly introspective listen that, much like The xx’s first album, sits awkwardly with the industry furore surrounding it.

41. Ty Segall - Twins

Ty Segall - Twins
October 9, 2012
Garage Rock
Critic Score
79
16 reviews
User Score
78
39 reviews

It has the reckless spirit of a record that hasn’t been over-analysed, but with an intense flurry of ideas from someone in the absolute prime of their creativity.

42. Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks

Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks
March 27, 2012
Rock
Critic Score
70
12 reviews
User Score
71
5 reviews

‘Sonik Kicks’ is the sound of Paul Weller growing old the only way he could – not particularly gracefully, but with no small amount of style. 

43. Ratking - Wiki93

Ratking - Wiki93
November 5, 2012
Critic Score
64
2 reviews
User Score
73
2 reviews

44. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city
October 22, 2012
Hip Hop
Critic Score
87
19 reviews
User Score
89
354 reviews

It might lack the raw appeal of Kendrick’s 2011 mixtape ‘Section.80’, but it’s also a big-budget reminder that the 25-year-old hasn’t forgotten his roots. 

45. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
January 31, 2012
Chamber Pop
Critic Score
59
23 reviews
User Score
71
142 reviews

Although it’s not quite the perfect pop record ‘Video Games’ might have led us to wish for, ‘Born To Die’ still marks the arrival of a fresh – and refreshingly self-aware – sensibility in pop.

46. Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man in the Universe

Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man in the Universe
June 12, 2012
Soul
Critic Score
74
16 reviews
User Score
72
12 reviews

47. John Talabot - ƒIN

John Talabot - ƒIN
February 14, 2012
Deep House
Critic Score
84
13 reviews
User Score
81
79 reviews

48. The 2 Bears - Be Strong

The 2 Bears - Be Strong
January 30, 2012
Electronic
Critic Score
74
11 reviews
User Score
73
10 reviews

‘Be Strong’ is one of the smartest and funniest dance records you’ve heard in a long while.

49. Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes

Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes
October 2, 2012
Electronic
Critic Score
83
21 reviews
User Score
81
135 reviews

Ultimately, this album is the sound of the future.

50. Purity Ring - Shrines

Purity Ring - Shrines
July 24, 2012
Synthpop
Critic Score
79
24 reviews
User Score
80
159 reviews

‘Shrines’ is a euphoric treat in its own right, made all the more thrilling by its heady potential. 

Original Source: http://www.nme.com/blogs/the-big-picture/50-best-albums-of-2012

MORE 2012 YEAR END LISTS:


MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM NME:


Check out our 2012 Year End Summary.