Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2012

Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2012

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50. Lambchop - Mr. M

February 21, 2012
Critic Score
77
24 reviews

Mr. M sounds aware of itself as an argument-- an argument for the kind of patience the music on it demands.

49. Crystal Castles - (III)

November 12, 2012
Critic Score
73
31 reviews

The success of (III) is how it brings you close enough to the evil that men do to be shocked, repulsed, and affected by it.

48. Peaking Lights - Lucifer

June 19, 2012
Critic Score
76
19 reviews

Lucifer is just their third album, and yet it's unmistakably drenched in their specific brand of patience and calm. 

47. Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction

February 21, 2012
Critic Score
81
6 reviews

We get five songs in just under 50 minutes, each mountain of slow, majestic chords bleeding into one glorious cathedral of riffs and soaring vocals.

46. Rustie - Essential Mix

Rustie - Essential Mix
April 7, 2012
Critic Score
81
1 review

Though it seems like all his fingers are on 10 different buttons at once, Rustie's Essential Mix is several cuts above because of how expertly paced and curated it is. 

45. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

May 22, 2012
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

The textures and tones are distinctly different from past releases, but it's unimaginable that it could be made by anyone else. 

44. METZ - METZ

October 9, 2012
Critic Score
80
19 reviews

While it ably captures the band's ferocity, Metz is less a recreation of the band's live shows than a surveillance-video document of it, one that's been edited and manipulated to maximize dynamic impact.

43. Mac DeMarco - 2

October 16, 2012
Critic Score
75
17 reviews

He's still not entirely upfront, but he has a knack for building songs where the realness of his subject matter lies just below the surface. 

42. Rick Ross - Rich Forever

January 6, 2012
Critic Score
73
10 reviews

41. Dum Dum Girls - End of Daze

September 25, 2012
Critic Score
75
13 reviews

Much more than a stop-gap between LPs, it's succinct but irrefutable proof that this band's dynamite has a long fuse.

40. DIIV - Oshin

June 26, 2012
Critic Score
78
21 reviews

The experience of Oshin is aqueous and amorphous in a way that makes using the term "rock" feel uncomfortable.

39. Hot Chip - In Our Heads

June 11, 2012
Critic Score
74
30 reviews

It's a meditation on positivity, a hedonistic joyride that isn't afraid to get deep, and a reminder that any band-- any album, any song-- can be your life, even for just a moment. 

38. Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance

April 2, 2012
Critic Score
77
14 reviews

In fully realizing its comparatively modest ambitions, it's one of the strongest indie rock records of the year so far.

37. Future - Pluto

April 17, 2012
Critic Score
66
9 reviews

36. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

February 7, 2012
Critic Score
79
27 reviews

Matters of mistrust, isolation, and uncomfortable togetherness dominate Tramp, rolling through every track like a sick, creeping fog.

35. TNGHT - TNGHT

July 24, 2012
Critic Score
80
14 reviews

Their self-titled debut EP for Warp and LuckyMe spans 16 minutes of some of the year's most brazen, positively huge hip-hop sounds.

34. Chairlift - Something

January 24, 2012
Critic Score
76
22 reviews

A major creative leap, but on a superficial level, it's not that different from their debut.

33. Actress - R.I.P.

April 24, 2012
Critic Score
81
17 reviews

The innovation on R.I.P. is to put as much effort into making things clean as making them dirty, and the result is a sense of contrast

32. Action Bronson / Party Supplies - Blue Chips

March 12, 2012
Critic Score
81
5 reviews

31. Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light

April 17, 2012
Critic Score
78
32 reviews

It's not a drastic transformation as much as an acute refinement.

30. The Men - Open Your Heart

March 6, 2012
Critic Score
82
22 reviews

Open Your Heart is both tremendously physical and friendly, knocking you on your ass one second, then immediately helping you back up to put a beer in your hand.

29. Cat Power - Sun

September 4, 2012
Critic Score
79
35 reviews

Sun doesn't reach the heights ... of Moon Pix, but more than anything else she's made, it feels like a companion piece to that record, a conversation with an older and wiser voice. 

28. How to Dress Well - Total Loss

September 18, 2012
Critic Score
78
21 reviews

Total Loss uses the common tools of pop expression-- four-minute songs, autobiography, choruses, confession-- to create a work of poignant and devastating art.

27. John Talabot - ƒIN

February 14, 2012
Critic Score
85
16 reviews

Talabot builds upon his distinctive sound-- bursting with color, nostalgic but never retro, easy-going yet slightly unhinged-- without repeating himself.

26. Julia Holter - Ekstasis

March 6, 2012
Critic Score
80
20 reviews

Ekstasis is not the sort of oceanic wash you lose yourself in; instead, Holter's music has a way of snapping tiny moments and small sonic gestures into focus.

25. Schoolboy Q - Habits & Contradictions

January 14, 2012
Critic Score
77
13 reviews

He's probably not going to be a break-out star, but it's hard to imagine that there will be many more original or satisfying rap long-players this year.

24. Purity Ring - Shrines

July 24, 2012
Critic Score
77
33 reviews

Shrines is not about range, instead offering subtly different versions of a single, near-perfect idea.

23. Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

October 2, 2012
Critic Score
81
13 reviews

Emerging unscathed from middling mainstream performance, Kaleidoscope Dream sounds, at its utmost, natural and easy, an artist set free to do what he wants and proving himself every bit the unique voice his debut seemed to deny.

22. Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes

October 2, 2012
Critic Score
83
27 reviews

While this might be Flying Lotus' most accessible record, it's less about being pleasant and more about deep focus. 

21. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes

August 21, 2012
Critic Score
70
31 reviews

Mature Themes is as vital as anything he's ever recorded

20. Jessie Ware - Devotion

August 20, 2012
Critic Score
81
30 reviews

Devotion ... marries her natural gift with throbbing instrumentation that breathes life into every single turn of phrase or sensitive vocal embellishment.

19. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

January 24, 2012
Critic Score
78
27 reviews

Attack on Memory is too visceral to feel like escapism, too vital to feel like cheap revival.

18. Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse

June 26, 2012
Critic Score
80
18 reviews

It's one thing to be heavy, and it's another thing to be hooky, but Slaughterhouse is the rare garage-rock album to do both so well simultaneously

18. Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair

April 24, 2012
Critic Score
78
15 reviews

In every song, there's a jump, an oomph, a missing-reel moment, in which a sudden left turn devours a song whole or a stray thread bumps everything off the designed course.

17. Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man

October 15, 2012
Critic Score
78
33 reviews

Spacious, boldly orchestrated, and emotionally rich, Khan's latest is another step forward for the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, and one of the year's most beguiling albums.

16. Burial - Kindred

February 12, 2012
Critic Score
85
17 reviews

Never before has his music possessed this much majesty, this much command, this much power

15. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

July 10, 2012
Critic Score
81
34 reviews

Swing Lo Magellan is a confident step into the spotlight that neither depends upon public expectations nor shies away from them.

14. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems

October 29, 2012
Critic Score
83
14 reviews

Luxury Problems is more internally focused, an evocative and immersive soundtrack for a sustained look within. It's the headphones album of the year from a producer with a long history who has come into his own.

13. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

May 15, 2012
Critic Score
84
22 reviews

Limiting himself to one producer, legends-only guest spots, and a real sense that he'd better make this one count, Killer Mike rises to the occasion.

12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

October 16, 2012
Critic Score
84
26 reviews

An album of music that is both new and old from a band that we thought we might never hear from again, one we should appreciate while we can.

11. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

June 5, 2012
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

The first thing you take from Celebration Rock is just how much they've improved in terms of capturing pure sound, everything hitting louder and clearer than before.

10. Grizzly Bear - Shields

September 18, 2012
Critic Score
81
31 reviews

Though full of baroque, detail-rich production and latticework melodies, Shields also offers an emotionally resonant core.

9. Death Grips - The Money Store

April 21, 2012
Critic Score
83
21 reviews

Sometimes this hands-off approach backfires, but Death Grips have actual designs to be left to, and The Money Store is a million-mph blur of ideas.

8. Chromatics - Kill for Love

March 26, 2012
Critic Score
81
23 reviews

It's not just a collection of hits; it's an album, one that gives the project's familiar nocturnal foreboding a new sense of grandeur. 

7. Beach House - Bloom

May 15, 2012
Critic Score
76
33 reviews

"Bloom" is also what these 10 songs do, each one starting with the sizzle of a lit fuse and at some fine moment exploding like a firework in slow motion.

6. Grimes - Visions

February 21, 2012
Critic Score
79
34 reviews

Visions finds Boucher mining not just the clean brightness of Aphex Twin-like atmospherics but also the immediacy of straight-up mall-pop

5. Swans - The Seer

August 28, 2012
Critic Score
86
29 reviews

It manages to expand on their sound while simultaneously summarizing everything they've ever recorded before.

4. Tame Impala - Lonerism

October 9, 2012
Critic Score
87
28 reviews

You feel small while listening to Lonerism, but in a way that makes you appreciate how man, machine, and Mother Nature can harmonize.

3. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel

June 19, 2012
Critic Score
87
28 reviews

The Idler Wheel's spareness does lend it an insular loneliness, one that's divorced from the outside world while also being intimately in-tune with its basic realities.

2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

July 17, 2012
Critic Score
91
33 reviews

The 24-year-old has quickly proven himself to be among the most gifted singer-songwriters of his generation; he's got the type of voice, wit, charm, smarts, and ineffable humanity that's always hoped for, but never promised.

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

October 22, 2012
Critic Score
89
26 reviews

The miracle of this album is how it ties straightforward rap thrills-- dazzling lyrical virtuosity, slick quotables, pulverizing beats, star turns from guest rappers-- directly to its narrative. 

Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9017-the-top-50-albums-of-2012/
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