Paste's 50 Best Albums Of 2012

May the year-end listomania commence! Earlier today we say MOJO’s Top 20 — a list that represented a broader range of styles than last week’s year-end list from metal outlet Decibel — and now indie mag Paste just let their 50 best albums of 2012. And unlike MOJO’s list, Fiona made it! Scope the whole thing below.

50 Grimes – Visions
49 Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain
48 Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
47 Baroness – Yellow and Green
46 Damien Jurado – Maraqopa
45 Punch Brothers – Who’s Feeling Young Now?
44 Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
43 Stars – The North
42 Bettye LaVette – Thankful N’ Thoughtful
41 Of Monsters And Men – My Head is an Animal
40 Todd Snider – Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables
39 Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
38 Dr. John – Locked Down
37 Shovels & Rope – O Be Joyful
36 Cat Power – Sun
35 King Tuff – King Tuff
34 Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
33 Howler – America Give Up
32 Woods – Bend Beyond
31 The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter
30 David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
29 Killer Mike – R.A.P Music
28 Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
27 John K. Samson – Provincial
26 Bob Dylan – Tempest
25 Grizzly Bear – Shields
24 Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
23 Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
22 Hospitality – Hospitality
21 The Lumineers – The Lumineers
20 The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
19 Rufus Wainwright – Out Of The Game
18 Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
17 Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
16 Tame Impala – Lonerism
15 Jack White – Blunderbuss
14 The Walkmen – Heaven
13 The Shins – Port Of Morrow
12 El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
11 The Men – Open Your Heart
10 First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
09 Beach House – Bloom
08 Japandroids – Celebration Rock
07 Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
06 Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
05 Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
04 Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel …
03 Titus Andronicus – Local Business
02 Father John Misty – Fear Fun
01 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

Read the breakdowns at Paste.

Comments (171)
  1. I disagree with lots of things here!

  2. Kendrick Lamar is so far back. Channel Orange #1, really? Japandroids and Beach House in the top 10… Of Monsters and Men making the list at all?

    In before people say “it’s just their opinion!” I know that assmunchers. lol

  3. I can’t help but believe that everyone who thinks Local Business is anything more than mediocre are deluding themselves. If TA’s previous album hadn’t been as good as it was, Local Business would been seen as the incredibly uneven and scattershot collection of ditties and occasional insights that it is, rather than fodder for album of the year lists.

  4. Where’s LDR?

  5. The Shins still exist?

  6. > PROPAGANDHI – Failed States <

  7. LOL Paste get it together.

  8. Happy to see Father John Misty so high up. Bummed to see Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear and Cloud Nothings so low.

  9. Looks a decent list to me apart from Kendrick and Grizzly Bear being so low.

  10. Really hope someone recognises Deerhoof’s effort this year.

  11. super bummed that grizzly bear, et al, are so low on this list! disappointing! #igetmyselfworthfromyearendlists

  12. Passion Pit and Tallest Man on Earth made some good music sounds! But actually for the most part this list is pretty neat, to me.

  13. Like Fiona, I think Grimes is another one who will appear on too few lists despite her being a complete meme all year.

  14. Nice to see Hospitality getting a mention… decent list all in all

  15. So great to see Father John Misty so high up – I don’t think that album got the credit it deserves. In fact, I saw that and said “welp, guess I don’t need to read the rest of this list.” And I didn’t.

  16. Hooray for putting Love This Giant on there, that was nice of them.

    • “nice of them” aptly sums up why it will end up on plenty of year-end lists.

      • Oh hush, it was a decent record, if a little underwhelming. I felt like a record coming from the heads of two auditory mad scientists would be this magnificent, grotesque exercise. But instead, we got high school band class. The best part about the collaboration though was Annie Clark using the brass band to perform her own catalog — seeing The Party and Marrow done live with the new arrangement was my favorite moment of any show this year.

  17. Surely How to Dress Well’s “Total Loss” deserves to be in the top 50

  18. weird trickery going on here. Last I checked Paste, Ben Kweller’s Go Fly A Kite made a 9.0 and was set to be in this list by those standards… now it’s a 8.5 and not even in the top 50…. uh.

  19. Happy to see First Aid Kit at 10. Great album. Also, I can see Mr. Ocean getting more than one first place nods.

  20. Although I’m in favor of all lists in general, this is list really is pretty good. Also making me reevaluate some albums that I didn’t spend enough time on (First Aid Kit, Father John Misty).

  21. ALSO, NO METZ?


    fuck it

  22. Oh wow, hip-hop that isn’t Childish Gambino. That’s a step forward for Paste as far as I’m concerned.

  23. No Twilight Sad!? That’s easily my number 1.

  24. I think just out of respect for their history, everyone should relisten to Bloc Party’s album. How they failed to get any traction from Four is stunning. Is it their best work? Maybe not. But they’re too talented to be as forgotten as I fear they will be this End of Year season.

    And between their LP and EP, Schol of Seven Bells had a very good year. If they released the best tracks from those two releases into one collection, they’d be receiving a lot more recognition. They deserve it too.

  25. I have a feeling Perfume Genius and Iamamiwhoami will get snubbed this year, sadly.

  26. seeing alabama shakes in the top ten makes this list suspect. and NOT seeing lonerism in the top ten makes this list negligible.

    • Careful Jim, might get Alabama Shanked talkin’ like that round here pahts.

      • Sike, I’m pretty sure nobody’s really feelin em around here. To this I ask, why not?

        • well, to me it’s decent. but they are the epitome of live show not translating well onto record. their live show is what got them on the map. but to put it in the top ten when grizzly bear, tame impala, kendrick lamar, wild nothing, godspeed! you black emperor aren’t is no bueno. but of course, this is all subjective.

          • Having never actually listened to the full album, I have been throughout work today. I agree with you that it’s not as compelling as their live stuff. Overall a good album though so far, def really promising. Paste’s just givin it to em on their first effort, gotta make em work for it. I remember liking Wild Nothing checkin out a track, should give the album a listen. Find G!YBE very overrated but maybe post/instrumental rock just isn’t really for me.

          • Wild Nothing is sick but they/he sounds exactly like Deerhunter.

  27. Happy to see Lord Huron, even if it is at #48. It’s a good album.

  28. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  29. It’s a pretty alright list of the best 50 albums, but the order makes no sense.

  30. Frank Ocean’s album is pretty good but not great I don’t think. There are some great tracks there and then some real mediocre filler.

  31. You forgot Menomena.

  32. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  33. Am I the only one who likes RAP Music better than Cancer 4 Cure?
    And I know it’s a mixtape, but Blue Chips was one of the best releases of the year.

    • I think I’m the only one who liked both Dr. Lector and Rare Chandeliers better than Blue Chips, maybe I need to revisit.

    • I was just glad to see Killer Mike get the much deserved nod, though he should have at least landed in the top 20. I would also put Kendrick in the top 10 but at least this list was better than Mojos.

      As for the mixtape conversion, Joey Bada$$’s 1999 stands as one the most solid releases of the year.

    • No. I think R.A.P. Music is better than Cancer 4 Cure.

      Maybe to some people, more featured rappers is a plus for a hip-hop album.

      Personally, listening to Killer Mike go off over El-P’s beats has been the most magical hip-hop moment of 2012. A match made in adult swim heaven.

      I think El-P’s strongest beats are on C4C but what Killer Mike does with them on R.A.P. Music is far more important.

    • Yeah, I was more into Killer Mike’s album than El-P’s. I think Mike brought more to the MC table than El-P did (But not by much, as both albums were pretty damn fantastic)

  34. It’s too early for these lists. They could at least wait until December, damn.

  35. End of the Year lists are the opiate of the masses.

  36. The numbering of this list is wonky, plus there are a few glaring omissions: Swans, Converge, Metz. Kendrick Lamar and Killer Mike should definitely be higher on the list, but all in all it’s a solid list. You can’t go wrong with Channel Orange as your number 1 pick in my opinion.

  37. Daughn Gibson’s album should be in the top ten. It’s not even on this Paste list.

  38. Aside from the lack of Lotus Plaza and Melody’s Echo Chamber, it’s a perfectly cromulent list. I probably would have had Tame Impala higher, though.

    • Yeah, Lotus Plaza! I’ve honestly never been that big into Deerhunter, but I loved the Atlas Sound album last year and the Lotus Plaza album is one of my favorites this year.

    • i’m upvoting you strictly for the use of the word “cromulent”. i didn’t even read the rest of your post after that word, honestly.

    • probably because it sounds kinda like tame impala 2.0, but i feel like melody’s echo chamber was criminally overlooked this year.

  39. terrible list

  40. Handful of observations…

    Their #1 is Channel Orange but Kaliedescope Dream is nowhere to be found?
    Nice to see Father John Misty so far up. 7.3 MY ASS Pitchfork
    The list looks skewed toward veterans… why isn’t the amazing Dr John record further up then?
    Alabama Shakes put out a decent album but way too spotty to be in the top 10.
    Sharon Van Etten and First Aid Kit flew under my radar this year. I’ll be checking those out.
    The David Byrne/St Vincent record felt too pretentious for me to enjoy. Down to the album cover.

  41. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Imagine Dragons? That album sucks – I almost reported myself to the police for illegally downloading it.

    • I see many people are hating you for the Imagine Dragons addition (what did you expect?) but I’m glad someone mentioned the Vaccines. Coming of Age was really solid. I’m thinking a reason they didn’t include it is because they found a younger Vaccines, named Howler, and frankly America Give Up is an amazing album, but I’m partial to their sound so that might not be a shared opinion.

      • I understand that music is subjective and this particular site seems to attract the pretentious music snobs that only listen the obscure and underground. Ive always been a eclectic when it comes to music, and even though Imagine Dragons was an overly heard band in all forms of medium this year, I honestly enjoyed their material, not one skippable song. I even listened to their EPs from 2010 and 2011. Its good stuff and unlike anything Ive heard in recent years. And if this band is now considered “mainstream” and played on the radio, then yeah, I will support it cause its endearing to hear quality music hit the mainstream again. It’s better than hearing transparently generic rock music or homogenized pop songs.

        As for Soft Pack and Vaccines, Im really surprised how these bands have flown under the radar, even from their previous albums. Super catchy songs with a stripped down, retro 60s garage rock vibe. Overplayed genre? Yes, but certain bands are able to give it an original spin and instead of sounding like Strokes clones.

        Caravan Palace introduced me to this new genre called ElectroSwing and its a breathe of fresh air when it comes to the electronic scene. And to be honest, I actually prefer it over dubstep cause a fusion of 30s swing music and dance beats is more enjoyable than listening to robots farting.

        • I understand your point- its all about perception and how the band is marketed. It’s always seemed like a strange double standard of the indie community/bloggerazzi to openly embrace mainstream R&B/hip hop records while immediately dismissing mainstream rock. It’s funny- I don’t ever have to defend my love of “Flockaveli” as much as “The Black Parade”.

          There’s not a lot of other songs that brought that full-blast fist pumping joy of Walk the Moon’s “Anna Sun” and “Tightrope” this year, and it’s a shame that there’s a good segment of people that won’t give the songs a first listen.

      • Howler = a younger version of The Vaccines??? But didn’t The Vaccines released their debut album last year?

  42. so happy to see shovels and rope on the list. great overlooked album.

  43. I was gonna complain about the list, but then I noticed you all did that for me. Thanks! :)

  44. paste is more my speed when it comes to year end lists. so nice to see father john misty at #2.

  45. Cloud Npthings is absurdly low.

    Godspeed you! Could be higher as well

  46. Channel Orange at number 1: fine. Only listened to the album once and it didn’t blow my mind and thought there was some real filler but I haven’t given it too much of a chance so whatever.

    good kid, m.A.A.d. city not in the top 3? Fuck that. From the last 5 years, people will remember two hip hop albums most: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and this album. Fuck that fuck that fuck that.

    Also, it is a crime that Flying Lotus did not even make this list. A crime, I tell you.

    • I just imagined you verbalizing “fuck that” like Kendrick does in ADHD. How could you imagine otherwise?

    • I’m not sure where you’re from… But hip hop nerds don’t even really like My Dark Twisted Fantasy or Kendrick Lamar that much… I think you mean remembered by people who don’t really listen to hip hop that much. MDTF wasn’t even Kanye’s second best album, maybe not even his third. The Carter 3, Fishscale, Take Care, Hell Hath No Fury, below the heavens, and Gas Mask were all much better.

      • Nah – I think MBDTF is one of those rare albums that was unanimously praised by the mainstream, without upsetting the nerds one bit, cos yeah – it’s just damn fucking good.
        I love K.Dot, but I don’t think GKMC is gonna hold up as well. It’s very very good, but I find myself going back to Section.80 more often. The lows on 80 are much much worse, but the highs are much more fun.

      • I am more of a hip hop production nerd; if you look at my profile you will find a lengthy (and in retrospect ill advised) rant about a stupid indie band using a sample Dilla used on Donuts. And MBDTF is not my favorite Kanye album (that would be College Dropout by a large margin). Partially because an annoying friend played it ad nauseum for 3 months after it came out, but I honestly think the album is a bit overproduced. You could probably take out a minute or two from a lot of the songs and not lose much. I specifically said “people will remember” for that reason.

        As for GKMC, I think it will hold up in time. It’s too soon to tell, but I think it will hold up if for no other reason than I think Kendrick will have a very successful career and people will point to this album as the point where he really first came into his own. Section.80 is great, but there’s still some awkward moments/legitimately bad songs on there (can’t ever manage to get through The Spiteful Chant).

        I would say The Carter 3 is far closer to “remembered by people who don’t really listen to hip hop that much” than either of the two albums I mentioned. Nobody I know who is hardcore into hip hop really cares much about that album, and I haven’t heard anyone mention that album much of anywhere in the last few years.

        Also, for the record, Hell Hath No Fury came out in 2006, and is great, but not in the last 5 years.

        Childish Gambino. That’s hip hop for people who don’t listen to hip hop.

      • You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. FOH.

  47. I’m just butthurt because of baroness is on a best of list

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