Exclaim!

Exclaim!'s Best Albums of 2012:

Top 50 Albums of the Year

Exclaim!'s Best Albums of 2012:
Throughout the month of December, Exclaim! has been rolling out our coverage of the best albums of the year, divided into seven different genre sections: pop and rock, electronic, soul, R&B and world, folk and country, metal, hip-hop and experimental and avant-garde.

With one exception (avant-garde), these lists are built by consensus by the entire pool of Exclaim! contributors, who all submit their "best of the year" lists, organized by genre. They are then ranked via a points system that's been developed at Exclaim! HQ over a number of years; the resulting tally is how we determine our best albums of the year.

The music of 2012 didn't make these genre designations easy; some have argued, both in Exclaim! editorial meetings and in our comments pages, that genre is dead, an arbitrary distinction that has increasingly little relevance to music fans. And while that's certainly true for the genre-blurry likes of Robert Glasper Experiment, Purity Ring, Swans, BadBadNotGood and many more, there are also albums like Kendrick Lamar, Converge, Frank Ocean, METZ or Flying Lotus that sit comfortably in the firmament of their genre, without any doubt.

There are other reasons for our genre designations too, not least of which is that by this division, we're able to highlight at lot more music: over 100 albums across the seven genres, an unwieldy and nearly incomprehensible number to glean insight from in a giant one-list pile-up of awesome. It gives music fans an aisle in which to shop — could you imagine if Home Depot threw the screwdrivers, the flooring, the plumbing and the appliances into random spots all over the store? Genres help people find what they're looking for if that's their preference; shoppers more interested in browsing are welcome to do so.

But just out of curiosity, what if we did abandon our genre designations and simply go with a genre-less "best albums of 2012" list? The results are below, culled from the same points system that determined the rankings in our genre lists. Here are the 50 best albums of 2012 according to Exclaim!:

1. Kendrick Lamar
good kid, m.A.A.d. city
(Top Dawg Entertainment)

2. Frank Ocean
Channel Orange
(Def Jam)

3. Killer Mike
R.A.P. Music
(Williams St.)

4. Flying Lotus
Until The Quiet Comes
(Warp)

5. Grimes
Visions
(Arbutus)

6. Tame Impala
Lonerism
(Modular)

7. Converge
All We Love We Leave Behind
(Deathwish Inc)

8. Cloud Nothings
Attack On Memory
(Carpark)

9. Japandroids
Celebration Rock
(Polyvinyl)

10. Fiona Apple
The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw & Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
(Epic)

11. Dirty Projectors
Swing Lo Magellan
(Domino)

12. Miguel
Kaleidoscope Dream
(RCA)

13. Andy Stott
Luxury Problems
(Modern Love)

14. El-P
Cancer 4 Cure
(Fat Possum)

15. METZ
(Sub Pop)

16. Action Bronson
Blue Chips
(Complex)

17. Godspeed You! Black Emperor
'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
(Constellation)

18. Jessie Ware
Devotion
(Universal)

19. Beach House
Bloom
(Sub Pop)

20. Pig Destroyer
Book Burner
(Relapse)

21. Chromatics
Kill for Love
(Italians Do It Better)

22. Joey Bada$$
1999
(Cinematic)

23. The Men
Open Your Heart
(Sacred Bones)

24. Roc Marciano
Reloaded
(Decon)

25. Robert Glasper Experiment
Black Radio
(Blue Note)

26. Daphni
Jiaolong
(Merge)

27. Swans
The Seer
(Young God)

28. David Byrne & St. Vincent
Love This Giant
(4AD)

29. BadBadNotGood
BBNG 2
(Independent)

30. Santigold
Master of My Make-Believe
(Downtown)

31. Georgia Anne Muldrow
Seeds
(SomeOthaShip)

32. Corb Lund
Cabin Fever
(New West)

33. Laurel Halo
Quarantine
(Hyperdub)

34. Actress
R.I.P.
(Honest Jon's)

35. The Roots
undun
(Def Jam)

36. How To Dress Well
Total Loss
(Acéphale)

37. Schoolboy Q
Habits & Contradictions
(Top Dawg Entertainment)

38. Dragged Into Sunlight
Widowmaker
(Prosthetic)

39. Grizzly Bear
Shields
(Warp)

40. White Lung
Sorry
(Deranged)

41. Purity Ring
Shrines
(Last Gang)

42. Nas
Life Is Good
(Def Jam)

43. Neurosis
Honor Found in Decay
(Neurot)

44. Alabama Shakes
Boys & Girls
(ATO)

45. Liars
WIXIW
(Mute)

46. Gaza
No Absolutes in Human Suffering
(Black Market Activities)

47. Pallbearer
Sorrow and Extinction
(Profound Lore)

48. Azealia Banks
1991
(Interscope)

49. Ty Segall Band
Slaughterhouse
(In The Red)

50. Neneh Cherry & The Thing
The Cherry Thing
(Smalltown Supersound)


For our complete Best of 2012 coverage, click here.

Get It

Comments

Coming back soon! If our developer were more machine than man they'd already be here. Useless meatsack.