SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2012
The Only Place delivers riveting drama in a rousing pop package
With such a gratifying front end, it's easy to dismiss Roman Reloaded's subsequent pop tracks as a paying of the piper
The contrast between Purity Ring's two halves is special and compelling, but Shrines goes over best when Roddick's reverent sound and James' lustful fury synchronize and break you off properly, womb-stem-style.
On Reloaded, he's written perhaps the most vivid rap album of the year — and possibly of his lifetime.
The loopy paradox of >>, and what makes it so addictive, is the forward momentum that sounds both like spacing out and working hard.
It's a comfortable shoe of a record, a distillation of everything he's done during the past decade, without the cultivated obstinacy.
What makes this music special is what Smith does with all that stylized sparseness, transforming it into something alive and dynamic instead of merely sleepy. Millions of late-night love-letter authors will be grateful.
For all the alienation implied by the album's continually warping and waving center of gravity, there are colors here brighter than a child's watercolor rainbow.
Master of My Make-Believe turns friction into fire, its flippantly skewed pop anthems doubling as obviously personal documents of Santi White's unwillingness to let anyone get over on her.
It's a completely exhausting listen, one that might prove easier to admire than enjoy. But at the very least, it's never anything less than fascinating.
channel ORANGE feels like one long, moonlit, air-conditioned ride. Songs ease from one to the next, flowing together with ambient pieces of distant movie dialogue and the sound of electronics turning on and off.
MORE 2012 YEAR END LISTS:
MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM SPIN: