Pitchfork Readers' Top 50 Albums of 2012

Pitchfork Readers' Top 50 Albums of 2012

Original Source →

50. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself

Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
March 6, 2012
Critic Score
79
25 reviews

It all amounts to a constructed world that sounds outré at first but winds up being a startlingly astute reflection of our own as you settle into it.

49. Cat Power - Sun

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. 

48. Titus Andronicus - Local Business

Titus Andronicus - Local Business
October 23, 2012
Critic Score
75
19 reviews

Local Business also marks the first time the band seems like it's holding something back-- like there is a Plan B.

47. The Men - Open Your Heart

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.

46. Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
October 9, 2012
Critic Score
83
15 reviews

AWLWLB is an example of building on and mastering the music you loved when you were younger-- something that became more than music, ultimately-- so that it has a chance to grow old with you without becoming any less vital.

45. How to Dress Well - Total Loss

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.

44. The Weeknd - Trilogy

The Weeknd - Trilogy
November 13, 2012
Critic Score
82
17 reviews

This is some of the the best music of the young decade; judging by its already pervasive influence, it's safe to say Trilogy (or at least House of Balloons) will be one of those records that will be viewed as a turning point when we look at the 2010s as a whole.

43. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

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. 

42. John Talabot - ƒIN

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.

41. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp

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.

40. Burial - Kindred

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

39. Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse

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

38. Mac DeMarco - 2

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. 

37. Death Grips - No Love Deep Web

Death Grips - No Love Deep Web
October 1, 2012
Critic Score
76
11 reviews

For now, at least, NO LOVE DEEP WEB is an extraordinary outlier in most every sense, an album with no definitive home or home turf aside from the millions who will likely download it. 

36. Hot Chip - In Our Heads

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. 

35. Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It

Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
February 21, 2012
Critic Score
80
25 reviews

Mike Hadreas' work is not only satisfying on a purely musical level, it also feels of-the-moment and above all necessary

34. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
January 31, 2012
Critic Score
61
33 reviews

Born to Die attempts to serve as Del Rey's own beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy, but there's no spark and nothing at stake.

33. Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man

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.

32. Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light

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.

31. Jessie Ware - Devotion

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.

30. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes

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

29. The Shins - Port of Morrow

The Shins - Port of Morrow
March 20, 2012
Critic Score
69
32 reviews

Port of Morrow, the Shins' fourth studio album in 11 years, is a triumphant return from a project that once risked being reduced to an indie-went-mainstream tagline.

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

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.

27. The Walkmen - Heaven

The Walkmen - Heaven
May 29, 2012
Critic Score
80
28 reviews

Heaven feels infectiously drunk on its own good fortune and kicks out a barstool for you to drink alongside it.

26. Twin Shadow - Confess

Twin Shadow - Confess
July 10, 2012
Critic Score
77
30 reviews

The 10 songs on Confess operate only in power moves, the verses sneering, seducing, doing whatever they can to draw the listener in before every choruses ascends and explodes.

25. Crystal Castles - (III)

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.

24. Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Father John Misty - Fear Fun
May 1, 2012
Critic Score
78
19 reviews

Tillman varies things up on Fear Fun, reveals an adventurous palette, and makes what may be his best album to date.

23. Jack White - Blunderbuss

Jack White - Blunderbuss
April 24, 2012
Critic Score
81
33 reviews

It's got some of his best pure songwriting yet, but no earth-cracking riffs.

22. DIIV - Oshin

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.

21. Wild Nothing - Nocturne

Wild Nothing - Nocturne
August 28, 2012
Critic Score
77
21 reviews

Nocturne is painted with the same colors as Gemini, but the resolution is much higher.

20. Passion Pit - Gossamer

Passion Pit - Gossamer
July 24, 2012
Critic Score
74
29 reviews

On Gossamer, Passion Pit recast themselves as polyglots and pacesetters, tackling the currency of pop music head-on as a competitor rather than admiring it with a few well-placed press quotes.

19. Animal Collective - Centipede Hz

Animal Collective - Centipede Hz
September 4, 2012
Critic Score
75
36 reviews

Centipede Hz, by comparison, feels like someone throwing a burrito on your windshield: The songs hit with a jolt, instantly splaying all their ingredients before you.

18. alt-J - An Awesome Wave

alt-J - An Awesome Wave
May 28, 2012
Critic Score
79
16 reviews

It's both overstuffed and messy, and so overworked that what life there may once have been now exists as a kind of primordial paste.

17. The xx - Coexist

The xx - Coexist
September 11, 2012
Critic Score
78
40 reviews

The most appealing thing about this record is that this band, having created a brilliant and moving sound, returns to it again for another 38 minutes.

16. Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes

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. 

15. Chromatics - Kill for Love

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. 

14. Purity Ring - Shrines

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.

13. Swans - The Seer

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.

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

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
October 16, 2012
Critic Score
84
25 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. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

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.

10. Death Grips - The Money Store

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.

9. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

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.

8. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel

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.

7. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

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.

6. Grimes - Visions

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. Beach House - Bloom

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.

4. Grizzly Bear - Shields

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.

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

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. 

2. Tame Impala - Lonerism

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.

1. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

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.

Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9032-2012-pitchfork-readers-poll/1/
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