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. We note, of course, that it's not even December, yet. People. People! Lists are crashing down upon us unusually early. But here we go…

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”

Stereogum: 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 – Shrines
  30. Torche – Harmonicraft
  31. ScHoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions
  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 – Piramida
  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