PopMatters' 75 Best Albums of 2012

PopMatters' 75 Best Albums of 2012

Original Source

75. My Jerusalem - Preachers

My Jerusalem - Preachers
October 9, 2012
Critic Score
75
2 reviews
User Score
NR

74. Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe

Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe
May 1, 2012
Electropop
Critic Score
70
24 reviews
User Score
73
39 reviews

I would place this album among the strongest work coming out in both the realms of indie and pop music these days

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73. The Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now

The Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now
June 12, 2012
Folk
Critic Score
72
17 reviews
User Score
78
63 reviews

There’s No Leaving Now makes use of much the same map work laid out by Matsson on 2010’s fantastic breakout The Wild Hunt.

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72. The Congos / Sun Araw / M. Geddes Gengras - Icon Give Thank

The Congos / Sun Araw / M. Geddes Gengras - Icon Give Thank
May 8, 2012
Critic Score
76
5 reviews
User Score
76
5 reviews

71. Purity Ring - Shrines

Purity Ring - Shrines
July 24, 2012
Synthpop
Critic Score
78
29 reviews
User Score
79
219 reviews

Shrines holds skyward a handful of some of the finest offerings Planet Pop can muster in 2012, yet as an “album experience” it ultimately fails to merit a new religion.

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70. Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?

Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
August 7, 2012
Soul
Critic Score
69
7 reviews
User Score
78
18 reviews

69. Allo Darlin' - Europe

Allo Darlin' - Europe
April 17, 2012
Indie Pop
Critic Score
79
14 reviews
User Score
77
23 reviews

Allo Darlin’ and Europe indeed do have what it takes to be a band and album that mean so much to the particular people to whom they mean so much to.

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68. GOAT - World Music

GOAT - World Music
August 20, 2012
Psychedelic Rock
Critic Score
81
8 reviews
User Score
79
43 reviews

67. Rush - Clockwork Angels

Rush - Clockwork Angels
June 12, 2012
Progressive Rock
Critic Score
78
10 reviews
User Score
61
14 reviews

If you focus solely on the music, you won’t find much that distinguishes Clockwork Angels from Rush’s greatest feats.

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66. Passion Pit - Gossamer

Passion Pit - Gossamer
July 24, 2012
Synthpop
Critic Score
75
26 reviews
User Score
78
122 reviews

As objectively as possible, then, let it be said that between Gossamer and its much-beloved predecessor, Manners, Gossamer is the better record.

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65. Krallice - Years Past Matter

Krallice - Years Past Matter
August 25, 2012
Black Metal
Critic Score
71
3 reviews
User Score
80
6 reviews

64. Ty Segall - Twins

Ty Segall - Twins
October 9, 2012
Garage Rock
Critic Score
78
17 reviews
User Score
78
53 reviews

This is a superb, must-have album that places Ty Segall firmly at the centre of the garage scene and continues his extraordinary evolution as a multi-faceted, multi-talented musician.

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63. Islands - A Sleep & A Forgetting

Islands - A Sleep & A Forgetting
February 14, 2012
Indie Pop
Critic Score
72
9 reviews
User Score
69
12 reviews

That infectious, childlike zeal was so integral to the first part of their career that A Sleep is jarringly unfamiliar at first.

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62. Debo Band - Debo Band

Debo Band - Debo Band
July 10, 2012
Critic Score
81
3 reviews
User Score
NR

61. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
May 28, 2012
Experimental
Critic Score
72
13 reviews
User Score
79
289 reviews

It risks feeling frustrated and frustrating, but Alt-J’s bizarre pop is ultimately rooted solidly in pathos, in a sort of blighted redemption.

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60. The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten
July 24, 2012
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
68
21 reviews
User Score
75
21 reviews

It’s revealing that the album’s best moments are those in which the Gaslight Anthem incorporate their influences rather than emulate them.

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59. Redd Kross - Researching the Blues

Redd Kross - Researching the Blues
August 7, 2012
Power Pop
Critic Score
74
11 reviews
User Score
66
3 reviews

Researching the Blues shows a band making some minor adjustments to their sound, without losing the impact that their music conjures up.

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58. Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror

Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror
February 21, 2012
Noise Pop
Critic Score
74
24 reviews
User Score
70
75 reviews

While Reign of Terror may not yield results that are as instantly and consistently compelling as Treats did, the latest album has the potential to grow on you

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57. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan
July 10, 2012
Art Pop
Critic Score
82
29 reviews
User Score
82
195 reviews

By cleaning up and clearing up everything that’s going on in his head, Longstreth is getting better and better at expressing the music in his heart through the songs in his mind.

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56. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
March 5, 2012
Rock
Critic Score
76
23 reviews
User Score
72
46 reviews

Message aside and from a purely musical standpoint, the new album is Springsteen’s most enjoyable and freshest-sounding in ages.

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55. Wadada Leo Smith - Ten Freedom Summers

Wadada Leo Smith - Ten Freedom Summers
May 22, 2012
Critic Score
93
4 reviews
User Score
86
3 reviews
In four and a half hours, Wadada Leo Smith writes one of America's defining events in sound, and the story is all of ours.
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54. BBU - bell hooks

BBU - bell hooks
July 21, 2012
Hip Hop
Critic Score
76
3 reviews
User Score
NR

53. John Talabot - ƒIN

John Talabot - ƒIN
February 14, 2012
Deep House
Critic Score
85
15 reviews
User Score
81
95 reviews

52. How to Dress Well - Total Loss

How to Dress Well - Total Loss
September 18, 2012
Experimental
Critic Score
79
20 reviews
User Score
79
77 reviews

51. Todd Snider - Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

Todd Snider - Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables
March 6, 2012
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
User Score
80
2 reviews

 Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is not really a “mess” in the pejorative sense, but it certainly is messy.

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50. Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks

Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks
March 27, 2012
Rock
Critic Score
71
15 reviews
User Score
71
6 reviews

Weller has made an extremely worthy case for remaining the master of his craft.

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49. Iris DeMent - Sing The Delta

Iris DeMent - Sing The Delta
October 2, 2012
Country
Critic Score
79
8 reviews
User Score
NR

48. Lambchop - Mr. M

Lambchop - Mr. M
February 21, 2012
Alt-Country
Critic Score
78
22 reviews
User Score
77
30 reviews

There is a lot of sadness on the album. At their core these are songs of isolation, desperation and the distance between people.

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47. Ryan Bingham - Tomorrowland

Ryan Bingham - Tomorrowland
September 18, 2012
Alt-Country
Critic Score
68
4 reviews
User Score
81
2 reviews

There’s just a great flow that makes Tomorrowland feel like one of those albums you’ll listen to in the car on countless road trips.

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46. Julia Holter - Ekstasis

Julia Holter - Ekstasis
March 6, 2012
Art Pop
Critic Score
81
17 reviews
User Score
80
84 reviews

The reward that her music offers is substantial, as Ekstasis is one of the most unusual and unprecedented indie pop albums to come along in quite awhile.

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45. Bob Mould - Silver Age

Bob Mould - Silver Age
September 4, 2012
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
76
15 reviews
User Score
69
14 reviews

This is the kind of record that Bob Mould could have made in his sleep.

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44. Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
September 11, 2012
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
74
12 reviews
User Score
74
14 reviews

A truly special album, one that will reach out and grab you by the lapels and shake the life out of, or into, you.

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43. Metz - Metz

Metz - Metz
October 9, 2012
Noise Rock
Critic Score
82
15 reviews
User Score
79
83 reviews

Undeniably one of my favorite albums of the year, METZ shines brightly, like a Molotov cocktail at the moment of impact.

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42. Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes

Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes
October 2, 2012
Electronic
Critic Score
84
26 reviews
User Score
81
195 reviews

The more you listen to Until the Quiet Comes, the more you get the sense that you’re only scratching the surface of how much is really going on with it.

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41. Quantic & Alice Russell - Look Around the Corner

Quantic & Alice Russell - Look Around the Corner
April 3, 2012
Critic Score
70
2 reviews
User Score
NR

40. The Men - Open Your Heart

The Men - Open Your Heart
March 6, 2012
Noise Rock
Critic Score
84
19 reviews
User Score
80
83 reviews

At the end of the day, the Men aren’t quite all they’re cracked up to be, but even a bitter cynic like me has to admit, this album is worth a listen.

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39. Of Monsters and Men - My Head Is an Animal

Of Monsters and Men - My Head Is an Animal
April 3, 2012
Indie Pop
Critic Score
73
11 reviews
User Score
74
59 reviews

38. 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
60 reviews

Although you wouldn’t expect anything less from artists of this high a caliber, it still comes as a pleasant surprise how cohesive, complete, and thought through Love This Giant is for a one-off all-star collab.

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37. Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
October 2, 2012
R&B
Critic Score
84
12 reviews
User Score
80
111 reviews

It may not blindly take the artistic risks of Channel Orange, but it’s a more consistently enjoyable album than Frank Ocean’s magnum opus.

Full Review →

36. Nas - Life is Good

Nas - Life is Good
July 17, 2012
Hip Hop
Critic Score
80
21 reviews
User Score
78
67 reviews

35. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

El-P - Cancer 4 Cure
May 22, 2012
Hip Hop
Critic Score
83
25 reviews
User Score
82
106 reviews

34. The Touré-Raichel Collective - The Tel Aviv Session

The Touré-Raichel Collective - The Tel Aviv Session
March 26, 2012
Critic Score
70
3 reviews
User Score
NR

33. Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man

Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
October 15, 2012
Indie Pop
Critic Score
78
29 reviews
User Score
80
129 reviews

The Haunted Man is all about Khan letting her guard down, which you can hear in the yearning pitch of her voice and the bleeding-heart themes of her songs.

Full Review →

32. Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society

Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society
March 20, 2012
Vocal Jazz
Critic Score
66
5 reviews
User Score
71
7 reviews

31. Hot Chip - In Our Heads

Hot Chip - In Our Heads
June 11, 2012
Electropop
Critic Score
73
27 reviews
User Score
78
105 reviews

In Our Heads is proof that Hot Chip are succeeding on their consistently impressive musical journey, and as far as I can see there’s still much to be learned from these songwriters.

Full Review →

30. Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio

Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio
February 28, 2012
Critic Score
75
4 reviews
User Score
81
10 reviews

29. Death Grips - The Money Store

Death Grips - The Money Store
April 24, 2012
Hip Hop
Critic Score
83
18 reviews
User Score
86
365 reviews

28. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems

Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
October 29, 2012
Dub Techno
Critic Score
84
13 reviews
User Score
82
100 reviews

The inherent darkness of Stott’s carious and degraded mixes, souped up in reverberating drone and pointillized by granular detail, is here juxtaposed against the often sweet, sometimes harrowing voice of his one-time mentor.

Full Review →

27. Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Father John Misty - Fear Fun
May 1, 2012
Indie Folk
Critic Score
77
15 reviews
User Score
80
108 reviews

Ultimately, it’ll be hard to find a more awe-inspiring album this year than Fear Fun. This is a record that deserves a spot in just about any contemporary music collection.

Full Review →

26. Dr. John - Locked Down

Dr. John - Locked Down
April 3, 2012
Blues
Critic Score
81
16 reviews
User Score
74
23 reviews

Ultimately it is nice to hear a living legend treated like the still-vibrant artist that he is.

Full Review →
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Original Source: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/tools/full/166270

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