NME Year-End

Brit-rock weekly NME, that most hype-driven of print magazines, has just given the world its list of the 50 best albums of 2012, and, as with all lists, there are good and bad and weird things about it. Good: Tame Impala at #1! I understand that lots of people like that album! It is still an interesting choice! Also, nice showings for personal favorites like Frank Ocean, Cat Power, and Jessie Ware. Bad: If the only rap albums on your list are Cruel Summer and Ratking and Kendrick Lamar, and the former two are ranked higher than the Kendrick, you should just ignore rap altogether; we know it’s what you’d rather be doing anyway. Weird, though expected: So, so heavy on Brit-rock guitar bands that nobody outside the UK, or possibly the NME office, cares a white about. Anyone want to tell me what a Jake Bugg is? No, nevermind, stop, I don’t care. Check the full list out below. Warning! Contains controversy!

50 Purity Ring – Shrines
49 Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
48 The 2 Bears – Be Strong
47 John Talabot – fIN
46 Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe
45 Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
44 Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, mAAd City
43 Ratking – Wiki93
42 Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks
41 Ty Segall – Twins
40 Polica – Give You The Ghost
39 Liars – WIXIW
38 TEED – Trouble
37 Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour
36 The Vaccines - Come Of Age
35 Metz – Metz
34 Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
33 Hot Chip – In Our Heads
32 Graham Coxon – A+E
31 G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer
30 Breton – Other People’s Problems
29 Mac DeMarco – 2
28 Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
27 Jessie Ware – Devotion
26 Spector – Enjoy It While It Lasts
25 Ariel Pink – Mature Themes
24 Merchandise – Children Of Desire
23 Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge
22 Beach House – Bloom
21 Cat Power – Sun
20 Howler – America Give Up
19 Toy – Toy
18 Tribes – Baby
17 Grizzly Bear – Shields
16 Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
15 Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
14 The xx – Coexist
13 DIIV – Oshin
12 David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
11 Django Django – Django Django
10 Jack White – Blunderbuss
09 Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
08 The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull
07 Pond – Beard Wives Denim
06 The Maccabees – Given To The Wild
05 Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
04 Crystal Castles – (iii)
03 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
02 Grimes – Visions
01 Tame Impala – Lonerism
(via Brooklyn Vegan)

I know taste is subjective and all, but I still lose my shit every time Fiona Apple doesn’t appear on one of these lists.

Comments (212)
  1. I have complaints about this list, because it isn’t tailored perfectly to my tastes.

    • This joke is so old, is it funny again yet?

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  2. Not that I ever cared about NME’s opinion, but not having Fiona Apple anywhere on the list just voids it even more.
    They really seem to have it out for her this year though, anyone else remember when they published a picture of Alanis Morissette next to an article about her?

  3. Seeing Tame Impala on the top is great. Not as bad as i expected from NME. I expected to need a sick bag.

  4. Lol, NME, lol.

  5. They forgot about Father John Misty and Fiona Apple. That’s it, I’m never going to England.

    • crabtron  |   Posted on Nov 28th, 2012 +3

      But that’s where Charli XCX and Burial and Jessie Ware and Bat for Lashes are! Maybe if they set up a quarantine around the NME office, you could exist there without worrying about living under the specter of NME and Mojo and Q magazines. Does anyone know if there are any music mags in England that match the awesomeness of the electronic scene there? I can’t think of any off the top of my dome, other than Mixmag, which i consider to be a good magazine because they once had a Katy B interview in there. Even Paste and Spin are reliable by comparison to NME, and Under the Radar and The Big Takeover are vastly better.

      This has been “The History of British vs. American Music Magazines.” I’m crabtron. You’re reading Stereogum. Stay tuned. I’ll leave the light on for you. Good night and good luck. I’m Robert Osborne. You’re watching Turner Classic Movies. I’m crabtron. I’m losing my mind.

    • Please don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that NME represents England in any way, shape or form.

  6. Chairlift.

  7. Yes for John Talabot! “fIN” is a great album and one that I think has been a bit lost since it came out right at the beginning of the year.


  9. No Japandroids? And that XX record is boring as F*ck…

  10. Grimes? GRIMES??

  11. Not too bad considering it’s NME, it was always going to have some shite on it, particularly the dreaded Alt-J

  12. This list is mediocre.

  13. woozefa  |   Posted on Nov 27th, 2012 +2

    well shit.

  14. I love End-Of-Year-Lists Season because it’s like having loads of friends with different musical tastes reccomend albums to me. And because there are so many lists made, the statistically most mentioned albums contribute to a clear ‘most popular of Year XXXX’ list which I can then use to make happy of my ears.

  15. so far, this list is better than the other two. and i applaud them for keeping it to albums that only came out in 2012.

  16. I like Grimes but she isn’t close to being an act I can support with all my love and passion, even though I can see her growing into one. So at #2… especially when they forgot Fiona Apple…

    Not to mention Crystal Castles at 4, the very presence of the Vaccines, and the overall silliness of the top 10… come on, y’all.

  17. I feel like D-Tits & I could “Cheers” a beer down to Tame Impeez at the numero uno slot.

  18. How the hell, even objectively…is Cruel Summer a better album than good kid, m.A.A.d. city?

  19. Hipster dufus list!

  20. Wow, I thought for sure they’d find some excuse to work in Noel Gallagher or Ian Brown. They even remembered the Metz and Pond albums. I think the people complaining don’t remember how the NME’s lists usually look.

  21. There’s still a whole month of releases left…

    • Yeah, I’m not finalizing everything until I hear Big Boi (which hasn’t leaked?) and Scott Walker (which has, I think, but I haven’t been able to give a good attentive listen to yet.) But so it goes. Mojo did include El Camino on their 2012 list even though it was released in 2011 last year, so…

      • As much as I tell my self “Wait for My Bloody Valentine”, I just can’t if he doesn’t give us a date like…this week. Otherwise the album will just have to settle for not being on my list.

        Or if it’s really late in the year, I could sneak it onto next year’s list.

        • I really don’t think he’s going to announce anything. I predict it will just appear on their website, and people will start freaking out about it and that’s how word will spread. The word has been that it will come out in mid-December, but I think it will happen Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The guy who runs mybloodyvalentine.net has said that he will be handing over the reigns to Kevin soon, and that site will become the other official mbv site.

  22. For NME this list is pretty goddamn dec

  23. This is the same website that did this:

    And why is Grimes at number 2? I mean, I like Grimes as much as the next person that lives in Vancouver, but, I mean, I’m running outta commas here…

  24. Thanks for not posting the number one album this time as the thumbnail!

  25. NME strikes again. That top five is complete bullshit, but at least the rest has METZ and Ty Segall, which Paste and MOJO neglected to list.

  26. Also, why is everyone so down on Alt-J? Just wondering if there’s anything beyond them being “overhyped.”

  27. what is Alt-J and why do i not even want to listen to it solely on account of the name

    • Their band name is ∆. So they also go by alt-J, but I would attack them for 4 paragraphs in P Fork saying they should be called option-J and then I would give them a 10 when it gets reissued in a decade and say that their eschewing Character Palette for old school keyboard commands was unappreciated non-ironic irony. Then I would tweet about how dumb the sh*storm was that I solely created with my chundermuffinry!

    • It would be unwise to ignore Alt-J based solely on their band name. Actually, it would be unwise to carry this mentality around regarding anything music related. Good reviews/bad reviews, this band’s album was by far the most enigmatic of 2012 and should not at all be refused a listen.

      • True, i mean Will.I.Am freakin almost added a hashtag to his namehttp://stereogum.com/882791/will-i-am-adds-hashtag-to-album-name/news/

      • fair enough, i’ll check it out. i’m down with the wordless symbol thing, i was just avoiding it for the same reason that i’d never listen to anyone who goes by “hipster-G.” or “#hipster-G,” for that matter.

  28. I take solace in knowing it could have been so much worse.

  29. Tame Impala needs to be higher.

  30. I want to perhaps explain why Fiona Apple not being on this list isn’t that big of a deal. We all recognize her brilliance. That Fiona Apple released an album that was entirely exceptional shouldn’t be surprising. In the same way no one would lose their shit over Lebron James scoring 30, having 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a game, I’m a little surprised the world is still in awe that Fiona Apple accomplished with The Idler Wheel that which she has only ever accomplished, which is to make great music. Now, if Norris Cole scored 30/10/8, it’d be worth talking about. And he deserves praise. But that’s because it’s unexpected. His numbers are the same as Lebron’s, but different athlete’s have different standards. When Lebron dropped 50 in Boston in a playoff elimination game, that’s worth recognizing. I think these lists should celebrate more underappreciated artists who contributed to a great musical year, not craft a purely objective standard of quantifiable “best” work. Because it becomes a bit predictable.

    When Fiona’s discography is laid out, is the Idler Wheel her most transcendent work? Probably not. I comfortably would say it’ll be the album I’ll come back to the least. Not saying it isn’t great. It is. But Fiona scored 30 points with it, not 50. She did what we all expected from her, which is be amazing. Do we need to discuss it? Not really.

    • that’s one hell of an analysis, but i still can’t see how lebron would be snubbed from, say, all-star consideration on account of being consistently excellent.

      • I’ll use one last sports analogy before I shut up. Some people have a problem with Major League Baseball including a player from every team at the All Star Game. I don’t. It might give some attention to random players having good seasons instead of having all Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies selections. As a fan, I know their rosters. They have great players that always make the All Star Team. That’s fine but that’s boring. Unless Texierra or Pujols is having a monster years on their great standard, they don’t really need recognition. Yes, their numbers are always good. Its just that they’re not worth talking about. I want to see Mike Trout or Josh Reddick or Adam Jones. Does that mean the All Star Team is going to have all of the best performers from that season? Not always. But it’s worth giving new players exposure for the benefit of the game. I didn’t need NME to tell me Fiona Apple was great. I knew that already. Was she great on her standard of greatness? I don’t think so. So she doesn’t need NME’s ink. These lists can be a great tool to expose fans to other artists who are worth listening to. Which I think is more important than getting a list “right” or “wrong”.

        • ok, that one works.

        • I think that’s a great point about exposing fans to artists who are worth listening to. However, the way you view Fiona Apple, in how she’s in the business of making great music, is similar to a lot of people’s view on Radiohead. We don’t need NME or any publication to validate Radiohead as a great band, but they’re always on an AOTY list when they put out a record. The King of Limbs was #20 on NME’s list last year. Now I see the inherent flaw in my argument, because obviously Fiona and Radiohead are not the same, and therefore their fan bases aren’t the same, but I’m just offering a comparison.

    • I lived long enough to see an NBA analogy used for Fiona Apple.

  31. I don’t understand, The Maccabees’ “Given to the Wild” was released in 2012 ? “Pelican” was part of my 2011 playlist on spotify http://open.spotify.com/user/roulmapoule/playlist/2cZEhe5XQlV4kXV5tGbq9V

  32. Also, I like Grimes, but damn.

  33. I’m one of the biggest Cribs guys around. One of my fondest memories is hanging out with two of the Jarmans before a local show — incredibly good guys. I named one of my kids after one of them.

    But 8th? For the year? I don’t think even Mans Needs did that well! Confirms my suspicions that it was a pretty weak year for music.

  34. Top 10′s garbage for the most part. Impressed they put Tame Impala at the top.

  35. Finally, some mention of Spiritualized.

  36. How did they not find a way to put the Strokes on here? Its NME.

  37. Western Australia represent!

  38. This is very obviously just my opinion and I never get too caught up w/ year end lists, I like what I like. But overall, were there really 16 albums better than Shields?? Lonerism, however, just may be one of them…

  39. I just checked out this Jake Bugg character on youtube…I really wish I hadn’t done that.

  40. David Byrne & St. Vincent, Why u #12

    I love them both but Love this Giant was a huge disappointment

  41. The worst part about this list season is the creeping realization that I didn’t love as much music as I did last year. That being said, I wonder how long it’ll take for Yeasayer to show up on one of these lists. Fragrant World was horribly underrated.

  42. Christ, am I the only one who loved the Animal Collective album? I feel like people are leaving it off their lists because they’ve practically been TOLD they should ignore it. I think it’s a way, way better album than Grimes… or most of these, actually.

    • I was extremely disappointed by the AnCo album when everyone else was just totally freaking out about it here, when it was put up for streaming. But I tried my best to put aside my snap judgment and continued listening to it many times to see if it grew on me. It really didn’t. I wasn’t “told” I should ignore it–I paid attention very closely, and eventually just stopped because there was so very little of it that I enjoyed listening to. Then I read the *big* review and it really just confirmed the conclusion I had already reached.

      It just really has very few memorable melodies to latch on to. I was also incredibly disappointed in the lack of variation in texture/atmosphere … most of the songs just sorta sound like a muddled mess of ideas that never really cohere. I was expecting much, much better from them, considering how consistently excellent all of their releases had been from “Here Comes the Indian”-on.

      • That, I think, has been the issue with most people’s take on the album – everyone EXPECTED much, much more. The bar had been raised so high after 9 years of stellar songwriting. So when they release an album that doesn’t raise the stakes – which is the case here – it’s considered a massive disappointment. The expectations were just too high and the album couldn’t possibly live up. The *big* review was just one example of this.

        But, when that’s all put aside, what we have is a complicated album with some truly great Animal Collective moments. It’s not a brilliant album but it’s no flop either. There’s been a real shortage of brilliant music released this year and I think this one hold’s its own among the everything else released this year.

        • I’d have to agree to disagree. I don’t really think there are any great moments here–good ones (“Applesauce”, “Today’s Supernatural”) but not great. I also don’t think I’m judging it more harshly because of expectations. For example, I knew “Tomboy” was very unlikely to meet the high bar set by “Person Pitch,” and I don’t think it quite did, but I think it’s a pretty great album regardless.Ditto for “America” coming after “Bromst” and “Swing Lo Magellan as the follow-up to “Bitte Orca.”

    • No i have 1-Beach House 2- Tame Impala 3- TRUST 4-Animal Collective 5- TANLINES. This is the most fucked list i have ever seen.

  43. If I don’t see a list with Swans in the top 10 soon, I am probably going to lose my shit.

  44. I will pay allegiance to any year-end list that has the wherewithal to include The Quakers and/or Aesop Rock. Excluding The Source as the source.

  45. Let me start by saying “Churrasco Taco with onions, cilantro, and green sauce”….YUMMERS! Best tacos in town made with fresh ingredients right in front of you, for you! The chefs are friendly to all their customers and love what they do. You also can’t beat the price! This is a “little hole in the wall”, literally, that should not be missed by anyone!!! Totally recommend!!!

  46. What’s number one? I didn’t look. Is it Muse?

  47. I think Mac Demarco is just great.

  48. Grimes just isn’t that good. I love Lonerism but I’m not sure it’s a #1. No dirty projectors is a shame and the XX album is shit. Liars, Ariel Pink, Grizzly Bear and Beach House should be higher. COMPLAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. also why is MIA on the cover if she’s not in the top 50 and didn’t release an album this year?

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