Year-End Lists

Notable, browsable lists of the year's best music, movies, books, and TV shows. End-of-year lists are fingerprints; aggregate statistics are smudges. Therefore, no tallies. Follow the link for each list to see essential commentary from its authors, at the source.

NPR: 100 Favorite Songs of 2012

NPR Music: 100 Favorite Songs of 2012 (alphabetical)
Playlist: Rdio

  • Algodon Egipcio – “La Espina Del Cardenche”
  • AlunaGeorge – “You Know You Like It”
  • Ana Tijoux – “Las Cosas Por Su Nombre”
  • Ane Brun – “Do You Remember”
  • Angel Olsen – “The Waiting”
  • Arnaldo Antunes, Edgar Scandurra & Toumani Diabate – “Ce Nao Vai Me Acompanhar”
  • Baauer – “Harlem Shake”
  • Bang On A Can (David Lang) – “For Madeline”
  • Baroness – “Take My Bones Away”
  • Bat For Lashes – “Laura”
  • Behzod Abduraimov – “Danse Macabre”
  • Best Coast – “The Only Place”
  • Bill Fay – “The Never Ending Happening”
  • Bonnie Raitt – “Not Cause I Wanted To”
  • Bruce Springsteen – “We Take Care Of Our Own”
  • Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”
  • Ceclia Bartoli – “Amami, e vederai”
  • Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms”
  • Cloud Nothings – “Stay Useless”
  • Daughn Gibson – “In The Beginning”
  • David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Who”
  • Death Grips – “I’ve Seen Footage”
  • Django Django – “Default” [pictured]
  • Egyptian Project – “Besharis”
  • Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”
  • Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
  • Fatouma Diawara – “Bakonoba”
  • FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
  • French Montana – “Pop That”
  • fun. – “We Are Young”
  • G.O.O.D. Music – “Mercy”
  • Gregory Porter – “Be Good”
  • Grimes – “Genesis”
  • Grizzly Bear – “A Simple Answer”
  • Heems – “Womyn”
  • High On Fire – “Fertile Green”
  • Hospitality – “Eighth Avenue”
  • Hot Chip – “Look At Where We Are”
  • Icona Pop – “I Love It”
  • Jack White – “Sixteen Saltines”
  • Jai Paul – “Jasmine”
  • Jamey Johnson & Alison Krauss – “Make The World Go Away”
  • JEFF the Brotherhood – “Sixpack”
  • Jeremih – “F—- You All The Time”
  • Jeremy Denk – “Ligeti: Automne e Varsovie”
  • Jeri-Jeri with Mbene Diatta Seck – “Mbeuguel Dafa Nekh”
  • Joey Bada$$ – “Waves”
  • John Fullbright – “Gawd Above”
  • John K. Samson – “When I Write My Masters Thesis”
  • John Talabot – “Destiny”
  • Julia Holter – “Marienbad”
  • Justin Martin – “Don’t Go”
  • Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go Round”
  • Kelan Philip Cohran and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – “Spin”
  • Kishi Bashi – “Bright Whites”
  • Kristen Kelly – “Ex-Old Man”
  • Le1f – “Wut”
  • Lianne La Havas – “Is Your Love Big Enough?”
  • Little Big Town – “Pontoon”
  • Loudon Wainwright III – “In C”
  • LV – “Nothing Like Us”
  • M.I.A. – “Bad Girls”
  • Machel Montano – “Go Down”
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Same Love”
  • Mala – “Mulata”
  • Marcel Khalife – “Oh, My Proud Wound”
  • Martha Wainwright – “Everything Wrong”
  • Metz – “Headache”
  • Miguel – “Adorn”
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse – “Walk Like A Giant”
  • Perfume Genius – “Hood”
  • Ralph Peterson – “4 in 1 (Fo’tet)”
  • Rick Ross feat. Andre 3000 – “Sixteen”
  • Robert Raimon Roy – “Robert Raimon Roy”
  • Rufus Wainwright – “Montauk”
  • Ryan Truesdell – “Punjab”
  • Saint Etienne – “Tonight”
  • San Francisco Symphony (Adams) – “Short Ride In A Fast Machine”
  • Schoolboy Q – “Blessed (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”
  • Scissor Sisters – “Let’s Have A Kiki”
  • Sean Rowe – “Horses”
  • Shemekia Copeland – “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo”
  • Shovels & Rope – “Birmingham”
  • Simone White – “Big Dreams And The Headlines”
  • Sinead O’Connor – “The Wolf Is Getting Married”
  • Sinkane – “Jeeper Creeper”
  • Six Organs of Admittance – “Waswasa”
  • Solange – “Losing You”
  • Spiritualized – “Hey Jane”
  • Tame Impala – “Elephant”
  • Tanlines – “All Of Me”
  • The Mynabirds – “Generals”
  • The xx – “Angels”
  • THEESatisfaction – “QueenS”
  • Titus Andronicus – “In A Big City”
  • Todd Terje – “Inspector Norse”
  • Usher – “Climax”
  • Waxahatchee – “Be Good”
  • Wiley – “I’m Skanking” (The 2 Bears Remix)”
  • Y.N. Rich Kids – “Hot Cheetos and Takis”

Sterogum: Top 50 Albums of 2012

Stereogum: Top Albums of 2012

  1. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
  2. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  3. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.D City
  4. Swans – The Seer
  5. Jessie Ware – Devotion
  6. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
  7. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
  8. The Walkmen – Heaven
  9. Chairlift – Something
  10. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
  11. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  12. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
  13. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
  14. Chromatics – Kill for Love
  15. El-P – Cancer For Cure
  16. Grizzly Bear – Shields
  17. The Men – Open Your Heart
  18. Baroness – Yellow & Green
  19. Taylor Swift – Red
  20. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
  21. Screaming Females – Ugly
  22. DIIV – Ocean
  23. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
  24. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
  25. Nude Beach – II
  26. Grimes – Visions
  27. Beach House – Bloom
  28. Cat Power – Sun
  29. Purity Ring – Shine
  30. Torche – Harmonicraft
  31. ScHoolboy Q – Habits and Concentrations
  32. Ty Segall – Twins
  33. How to Dress Well – Total Loss
  34. Future – Pluto
  35. Swearin’ – Swearin’
  36. Chris Cohen – Overgrown Path
  37. Joey Bada$$ – 1999
  38. Mount Eerie – Ocean Roar
  39. Jessica Pratt – Jessica Pratt
  40. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
  41. Sun Kil Moon – Among the Leaves
  42. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
  43. Action Bronson and Party Supplies – Blue Chips
  44. Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man
  45. The Evens – The Odds
  46. Matthew E. White – Big Inner
  47. Rick Ross – Rich Forever
  48. The Shins – Port of Morrow
  49. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
  50. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes

The Wire: Top 50 Releases of 2012

The Wire: Top 50 Releases of 2012 [see also: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017]

  1. Laurel Halo – Quarantine
  2. Sun Araw & M Geddes Gengras meet the Congos – Icon Give Thank
  3. Actress – RIP
  4. Jakob Ullmann – Fremde Zeit Addendum
  5. Jason Lescalleet – Songs About Nothing
  6. CC Hennix & The Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage – Live at the Grimm Museum 1
  7. Bob Dylan – Tempest
  8. Julia Holter – Ekstasis
  9. Carter Tutti Void – Transverse
  10. Ricardo Villalobos – Dependent and Happy
  11. Scott Walker – Bish Bosch
  12. Josephine Foster – Blood Rushing
  13. Fushitsusha – Mabushii Itazura Na Inori
  14. Haino/O’Rourke/Ambarchi – Imikuzushi
  15. Death Grips – The Money Store
  16. Emptyset – Medium
  17. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland – Black is Beautiful
  18. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
  19. V/A – Wandelweiser und so Weiter
  20. Morton Feldman – Crippled Symmetry: At June in Buffalo
  21. Richard Skelton – Verse of Birds
  22. The Bohman Brothers – Back on the Streets
  23. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
  24. Michael Pisaro and Toshiya Tsunoda – Crosshatches
  25. Bass Clef – Reeling Skullways
  26. Aaron Dilloway – Modern Jester
  27. Killer Mike – RAP Music
  28. Shackleton – The Drawbar Organ/Music for the Quiet Hour
  29. Rhodri Davies – Wound Response
  30. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes
  31. Wadada Leo Smith – Ten Freedom Summers
  32. Thomas Koner – Novaya Zemlya
  33. Annea Lockwood – In our Name
  34. Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
  35. Lee Gamble – Diversions 1994-1996
  36. Heatsick – Deviation
  37. Duane Pitre – Feel Free
  38. Raime – Quarter Turns over a Living Line
  39. Swans – The Seer
  40. Mark Ernestus Presents Jeri-Jeri with Mbene Diatta Seck – Mbeuguel Dafa Nekh
  41. Cooly G – Playin’ Me
  42. Traxman – Da Mind of Traxman
  43. DJ Rashad – Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi
  44. Charles Gayle Trio – Streets
  45. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  46. Pye Corner Audio – Sleep Games
  47. Peter Cusack – Sounds from Dangerous Places
  48. Pelt – Effigy
  49. DVA – Pretty Ugly
  50. Brotzmann/Satoh/Moriyama – Yatagarasu

Drowned in Sound: 100 Favourite Albums of 2012

Drowned in Sound: 100 Favourite Albums of 2012

  1. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
  2. [tie] Blondes – Blondes
  3. [tie] Chromatics – Kill for Love
  4. [tie] Swans – The Seer
  5. [tie] Liars – WIXIW
  6. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
  7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
  8. School of Seven Bells – Ghostory
  9. Aesop Rock – Skelethon
  10. Julia Holter – Ekstasis
  11. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  12. Chairlift – Something
  13. Twilight Sad – No One Will Ever Know
  14. Polica – Give You the Ghost
  15. Perfume Genius – Put Your Back In 2 It
  16. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d City
  17. Jessie Ware – Devotion
  18. Killer Mike – RAP Music
  19. LHF – Keepers Of the Light
  20. FOE – Bad Dream Hotline
  21. Twin Shadow – Confess
  22. Motion Sickness of Time Travel – Motion Sickness of Time Travel
  23. Django Django – Django Django
  24. Cat Power – Sun
  25. Deftones – Koi No Yokan
  26. Yppah – Eighty One
  27. Errors – Have Some Faith in Magic
  28. John Talabot – Fin
  29. Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
  30. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
  31. Efterklang – Pirimada
  32. Actress – R.I.P.
  33. Metric – Synthetica
  34. The Lost Rivers – Sin & Lostness
  35. Crystal Castles – iii
  36. Field Music – Plumb
  37. Grimes – Visions
  38. LV – Sebenza
  39. Blood Red Shoes – In Time To Voices
  40. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
  41. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
  42. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
  43. The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
  44. Grizzly Bear – Shields
  45. Muse – The 2nd Law
  46. Scott Walker – Bish Bosch
  47. Yeasayer – Fragrant World
  48. Echo Lake – Wild Peace
  49. How to Dress Well – Total Loss
  50. Bloc Party – Four
  51. Shearwater – Animal Joy
  52. And You Will Know Us By The Trail of The Dead – Lost Songs
  53. Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
  54. Sigur Ros – Valtari
  55. Death Grips – The Money Store
  56. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
  57. Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man
  58. Tindersticks – The Something Rain
  59. Eight and a Half – Eight and a Half
  60. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
  61. The Cribs – In the Belly of the Brazen Bull
  62. Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense
  63. Purity Ring – Shrines
  64. The xx – Coexist
  65. First Aid Kit – The Lions’s Roar
  66. The Shins – Port of Morrow
  67. Orbital – Wonky
  68. Neil Young – Psychedelic Pill
  69. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  70. Stumbleine – Spiderwebbed
  71. Exitmusic – Passage
  72. Diiv – Oshin
  73. El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
  74. Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge
  75. Lower Dens – Nootropics
  76. Halls – Ark
  77. Dirty Three – Toward the Low Sun
  78. Magnetic Fields – Love at the Bottom of the Sea
  79. Nils Frahm – Screws
  80. The Walkmen – Heaven
  81. BATS – The Sleep of Reason
  82. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
  83. Ghosting Season – The Very Last of the Saints
  84. dEUS – Following Sea
  85. Dan Deacon – America
  86. Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament – The Violence
  87. why? – Sod the Seed
  88. Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times and the Tide
  89. Passion Pit – Gossamer
  90. Beach House – Bloom
  91. I Like Trains – The Shallows
  92. Anais Mitchell – Young Man in America
  93. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
  94. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
  95. ∆ (alt-J) – An Awesome Wave
  96. John Cale – Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
  97. CFCF – Exercises
  98. Hot Chip – In Our Heads
  99. Hey Sholay – ((o))
  100. Cursive – I Am Gemini

KCRW’s Jason Bentley: Top 10 Albums of 2012

Jason Bentley of KCRW: Top 10 Albums of 2012

  1. Gary Clark Jr – Blak and Blu
  2. Hot Chip – In Our Heads
  3. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
  4. Jack White – Blunderbuss
  5. The Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio
  6. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
  7. deadmau5 – >album title goes here<
  8. Quantic & Alice Russell – Look Around The Corner
  9. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
  10. Grizzly Bear – Shields

Rolling Stone: Top 50 Albums of 2012

Rolling Stone: Top 50 Albums of 2012

  1. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
  2. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  3. Jack White – Blunderbuss
  4. Bob Dylan – Tempest
  5. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
  6. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
  7. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Here
  8. Green Day – !Uno!
  9. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
  10. Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
  11. Mumford & Sons – Babel
  12. Jimmy Cliff – Rebirth
  13. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
  14. Best Coast – The Only Place
  15. Dr. John – Locked Down
  16. Cat Power – Sun
  17. John Mayer – Born and Raised
  18. Nas – Life is Good
  19. Band of Heroes – Mirage Rock
  20. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
  21. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
  22. Bonnie Raitt – Slipstream
  23. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
  24. G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer
  25. Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos
  26. Django Django – Django Django
  27. Gary Clark Jr. – Blak and Blu
  28. Beach House – Bloom
  29. Dave Matthews Band – Away From the World
  30. Azealia Banks – 1991
  31. Taylor Swift – Red
  32. Hospitality – Hospitality
  33. Grimes – Visions
  34. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
  35. Grizzly Bear – Shields
  36. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe
  37. Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now
  38. Titus Andronicus – Local Business
  39. Passion Pit – Gossamer
  40. Escort – Escort
  41. The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter
  42. Allo Darlin’ – Europe
  43. fun. – Some Nights
  44. Garbage – Not Your Kind of People
  45. Rick Ross – Rich Forever
  46. Muse – The 2nd Law
  47. Todd Snider – Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables
  48. The Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
  49. Amadou and Mariam – Folila
  50. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan