Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas

Along with Mojo, Uncut is the British magazine most concerned with all these old and crusty and blues-influenced. And even compared to Mojo’s kinda-musty year-end list, Uncut has given a ton of love to the senior citizens still out there and making substantive music. Uncut’s year-end list, part of the year-end issue that’s now out, is a veritable wrinkle-fest. Leonard Cohen, the man behind the excellent and list-topping Old Ideas, is probably the single oldest person ever to win album-of-the-year honors from a major music magazine, and “Old Ideas” is also a decent title for the list itself; I can’t think of any other reason for Bob Dylan’s Tempest to land at #2. Certain aspects of this list drive me absolutely nuts, like how it has no time for rap or metal or Fiona Apple. But going down the list, you’ll find plenty of solid recommendations for garage and psych-rock LPs; it’s a valuable resource that way. Check out the list below.

75 Carter Tutti Void – Transverse
74 Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
73 The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Meat + Bone
72 Rufus Wainwright – Out Of The Game
71 Lee Ranaldo – Between The Times And The Tides
70 Simone Felice – Simone Felice
69 Ty Segall – Twins
68 Woods – Bend Beyond
67 Cornershop – Urban Turban: The Singhles Club
66 Goat – World Music
65 Nite Jewel – One Second Of Love
64 Orbital – Wonky
63 Calexico – Algiers
62 Ian Hunter & The Rant Band – When I’m President
61 Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II
60 The Liminanas – Crystal Anis
59 Father John Misty – Fear Fun
58 Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos
57 David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
56 Pond – Beard, Wives, Denim
55 The 2 Bears – Be Strong
54 Yeti Lane – The Echo Show
53 PiL – This Is PiL
52 Cate Le Bon – Cyrk
51 Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
50 Laetitia Sadier – Silencio
49 Damon Albarn – Dr. Dee
48 Howlin Rain – The Russian Wilds
47 Anais Mitchell – Young Man In America
46 Cat Power – Sun
45 Japandroids – Celebration Rock
44 Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras Meet The Congos – Icon Give Thank
43 Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Americana
42 Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
41 Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
40 First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar
39 Dirty Three – Toward The Low Sun
38 Lightships – Electric Cables
37 Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance
36 Sun Kil Moon – Among The Leaves
35 Six Organs of Admittance – Ascent
34 Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In Universe
33 Micachu & The Shapes – Never
32 Richard Hawley – Standing At The Sky’s Edge
31 Hot Chip – In Our Heads
30 Ry Cooder – Election Special
29 The Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Big Moon Ritual
28 Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks
27 Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
26 Graham Coxon – A&E
25 Patti Smith – Banga
24 Allah-Las – Allah-Las
23 Julia Holter – Ekstasis
22 Mark Lanegan Band - Blues Funeral
21 Beachwood Sparks – The Tarnished Gold
20 The xx – Coexist
19 Neneh Cherry And The Thing – The Cherry Thing
18 Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
17 Grimes – Visions
16 Ty Segall – Slaughterhouse
15 Field Music – Plumb
14 Paul Buchanan – Mid Air
13 Dexys Midnight Runners – One Day I’m Going To Soar
12 Go-Kart Mozart – On The Hot Dog Stands
11 Tame Impala – Lonerism
10 Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
09 Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill
08 Grizzly Bear – Shields
07 Ty Segall & White Fence – Hair
06 Bill Fay – Life is People
05 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
04 Dr. John – Locked Down
03 Jack White – Blunderbuss
02 Bob Dylan – Tempest
01 Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas

Comments (91)
  1. Well, it has Dr. Dee on it. That’s pretty cool.

  2. No Beach House, no Fiona, no care.

  3. the top 3 must be sponsored by rolling stone

    • My favorite list Rolling Stone ever did was their “Best Singers of All Time” list and included both Kurt Cobain and Bob Dylan in the top 30. Way to be, Rolling Stone, way to be.

      • For the record Psychodelic Pill was legit, def the Grandpa Rock album of the year.

      • Those selections are ridiculous only if your sole conception of singing is hung up on “technical ability to sing.” I don’t understand why singing gets everybody hung up when this debate comes up. It’s easier to grasp with other things. For instance, Joe Satriani is probably a more technically proficient guitar player than Neil Young, but few people would argue that he’s a greater guitar player.

        People shit on Dylan’s voice. But those vocal performance is a integral part of all those songs, even if they’re not what we tend to think of as great vocal performances. If you don’t believe me, listen to some douchebag at a local watering hole try to cover “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” or “Tangled Up in Blue.” Hell, the studio version of “Tangled” isn’t even Dylan’s best version of it.

        There are a ton of people out there who are more talented singers than Dylan and Cobain. But there are fewer who can make the song resonate, who can make the feel song lived-in. Both of those guys were masters at that. Fuck, listen to Cobain’s version of “In the Pines,” or Dylan’s “Moonshiner.” Those songs had been around for decades by the time those guys did their renditions, and they feel like they were written the day before. For me, that’s what matters.

        • Fair enough, and I think both Dylan and Cobain were very good at what they were trying to do. Dylan’s singing voice isn’t really why you listen to Dylan. But the selections on that list were very much “technical ability to sing,” so throwing those two in just seems lazy and makes them look out of place. Also, I hate Rolling Stone, so while I may agree with what you say, I will not give them the benefit of the doubt.

          I think part of the problem with technical ability vs creativity/innovation is singing is so much more immediate to people, since everyone has a voice and has probably tried (and usually failed) at singing at some point in their life. Far, far less people have tried to play guitar and failed or know the technical aspects of the guitar, and that’s one of the most, if not the most, prevalent instrument in popular music in the last 50 years or so. People can more easily tell when someone is mediocre at singing, whereas you can more easily get away with being mediocre at an instrument because all people will hear is music and most don’t really know what goes in to playing it. Am I saying people can’t tell Jimi Hendrix apart from the dude in Bloc Party? Not at all, but there is a lot more wiggle room when you have a physical instrument that you play, rather than a voice.

          • Above-average technical ability in guitar-playing is nice when it adds something to the song, but I really couldn’t care less how a guitar player creates sounds or whether what s/he is doing conforms to someone’s idea of proper technique. If someone writes great songs, the way that person gets from point A to point B is irrelevant.

          • I don’t mean to be petty, but seriously? you’re downvoting me, because why? I wasn’t being a dick, I was just offering a theory on why people (NOT ME NECESSARILY, but people in general) only tend to focus on technical ability when judging a good singer. You didn’t even really get my point, and regardless, its a difference of opinion, so who the fuck cares anyways.

          • I must say, I am a little concerned about you. You sound like a very conflicted young man who is on the verge of an existential crisis. In addition, I am shocked that you immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was I who downvoted you. You have no proof of that, and I intend to consult my lawyer since this baseless accusation may constitute defamation of character. That said, if one cannot be petty on Stereogum, then my God, where can one be petty?

  4. What makes the exclusion of all things hip hop even weirder is the fact that Flying Lotus is on this list.

  5. Awful list. Uncut has been declining steadily for the last few years.

  6. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  7. I actually like Tempest, great Dylan album apart from his horror film voice.

  8. Ah, the part of the year when Stereogum readers comment on every year-end list as if it was P4K’s. Can we at least recognize that some of these publications may have different readerships before flipping out?

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  10. Why do 90% of the people here insist on scoffing at every year-end list by these various publications? I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty disappointed if one of these lists matched up perfectly with my taste. I mean, what’s the fun in that? It’s kind of interesting to see how the tastes of these other readerships stack up. I think it’s pretty cool seeing a list with Bill fay and solo albums from the Blur boys. I’m not inspired to listen to other things if the list consists of only things like Beach House, Grizzly Bear etc.

    • I’m totally with you. I’ve always been baffled at the intense backlash given to music lists. I actually remember posting a Facebook note back in 2008 with my top albums of the year, and I put a disclaimer at the beginning. Let me see if I still have it.


      Haha. Yes I do. Here’s what I wrote: “This list, of course, is not definitive and will not please everyone. Please keep in mind that my main goal is for people to enjoy the inclusions, not lament the exclusions. It’s mainly for people to: A) celebrate albums on here that they know and love, and B) discover new music that they’ve never heard. Obviously, some aren’t going to agree with many choices, but celebrate the ones that you do agree with. Yeeeah.”

  11. Senior citizens need love too, Craig.

  12. This is the first list I’ve seen with Micachu’s excellent album on it, so people need to chill.

  13. More Swans, less ducks. (Looking at you, Lana Del Rey.)

  14. ok, ty segall. what are you doing here.

    • and 3 times, no less.

    • clarification: not hating on ty segall. just saying that his inclusion in their top 10 is mighty bizarre, as he’s not 60 and he’s not exactly critic bait.

    • I came to the comments just to talk about how all three of his albums made it on this list. At first I was going “Why did they choose Twins? Hair is better than Twins!”

      And then I saw their Top 10. =X

      Honestly, everyone should just combine all three of his records this year and put Ty SegALL in every Top 10. Problem Solved!

      • I was way more into Slaugherhouse than the others. Slaughterhouse is a contender for PLB’s #2 album of the year.

        • i’d go with hair > slaughterhouse > twins, but they’re all pretty damn good. have to say, though, that i thought putrifiers ii trumped ‘em all.

        • If I had to choose I’d definitely choose Slaughterhouse.

          But I can’t deny all the fun and excitement from Hair earlier this year. Still finding great songs on Twins.

          Also: Did you know Putrifiers II is an EP? Says so on the vinyl. I think that makes it even more awesome.

  15. You know it’s an irrelevant publication when 6 out of its top 10 2012 artists have been around for at least 40 years. Though Mojo and Uncut are pretty good magazines, mind. They always have many interesting articles which is a great read for music lovers, it’s juts too bad they are focused primarly on classic rock and similar stuff.

    And stop with that Fiona Apple moaning. She’s not big in the UK as well as Alt-J, for example, will not be in any US EOY list… I’m sure about it. Cultural differences.

    • “You know it’s an irrelevant publication when 6 out of its top 10 2012 artists have been around for at least 40 years.”

      Sorry, but that’s the dumbest thing I’ve read today. Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen made good music this year. Oh, the horror.

  16. Why would you expect every list to have some sort of rap on it? I mean I don’t listen to rap. If I were to make a list, it wouldn’t have any rap albums on it. Adding some artifically in order to be inclusive of all genres just doesn’t make any sense.

    Oh, and this list has PiL on it so that makes it OK in my book

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  18. You know what a real atrocity is? It’s Q… Basically music tabloid (music magazine for general public). Their Top 50 is well shit. It also has decided not to rank their top 50 this year. How edgy. http://gallery.qthemusic.com/gallery/qs50bestalbumsof2012/Default.aspx

    They have Muse, The Killers, The Vaccines, Mumford & Sons and Paul Banks in it! Just horrible.

    In other news: NME Top 50 tracks is even shittier. http://drownedinsound.com/community/boards/music/4421112
    Some generic british lad rock is number one. And I guess Cal Me Maybe and Taylor Swift are token Top 40 choices this year? I will not be surprised to see the former in Pitchfork Top 10.

    and Fact Top 50-41 is up… http://www.factmag.com/2012/12/03/the-50-best-albums-of-2012/

  19. This list, as chosen by your out-of-touch step dad trying to vie for your attention. It practically calls us Sport.

  20. I wonder how many people who follow this acid-induced Brit rag looked at the top 10 of this list and wondered, “Who the fuck is this Frank Ocean cat?”

  21. PiL, lol.

  22. Maybe It’s me…

  23. Fogie list, but I like seeing Grizzly Bear in the top ten and that Bat For Lashes album should not wallow at 74, it’s really good. Again no beach house makes no sense to me :( It’s fine if the publication weren’t into it, but the inclusion of Grimes over Beach House seems like a mild musical injustice. Sure there are plenty that would disagree, but honestly….

  24. I only agree with one thing on here. Lana Del Rey did make a better album than the dud Love This Giant was.

  25. congrats on out dad-rocking Rolling Stone

  26. Damn, Tom. What’s wrong with the blues?

    Blunderbuss was a good album, no matter how much you don’t want it to be. Is it top ten material? Maybe not, but definitely top twenty. Also, of course Uncut has no time for rap. Shit, indie publications had no time for rap either until like six years ago. Would I have rap on my year-end list? Hell yeah, fuckin’ right I would. But you know, some people don’t like rap! And they don’t have to!

  27. this was written by my dad

  28. Wish they listened Bloom by Beach House; a dream pop duo from Baltimore, Maryland, formed in 2004.

  29. Articles complaining that there isn’t enough ageism in popular music are a special kind of perverse. Are Uncut writers supposed to pretend that Leonard Cohen’s album was crap just to appease the cynics at Stereogum? Does Tom Breihan’s insistence on age discrimination only apply to musicians, or does it extend to other creative mediums (writers, directors, etc)? And aren’t half the people on this list are under thirty anyway? That seems to fit with Breihan’s weird Logan’s Run fetish pretty neatly.

    Isn’t it likely that music journalists with disparate tastes will find common ground in guys like Dylan and Cohen, but not in, say, Hot Chip or Flying Lotus? And why is it so improbable that many of this year’s best albums were recorded by people who’ve been recording albums for decades?

    The Uncut list actually appears to have less of an agenda behind it than most other end-of-year albums lists. For whatever reason, most lists tend to focus on either North American indie-rock hype bands or “guilty pleasure” chart pop music. So we end up with boring lists that effectively alternate between Twin Shadow and Taylor Swift. Uncut haven’t done this, thankfully.

  30. It’s got its problems/things I disagree with, sure (my list would certainly have hip-hop, for example), but it’s hardly an outrageous list. There’s a lot of good stuff on it, including stuff that the hip sites would never consider like the Chris Robinson Brotherhood album (though they picked the wrong one). It looks to me like they just like the music they chose better than some of the stuff people are upset about and will show up on Pitchfork’s.

  31. “Grizzly Bear, the new Radiohead?” Lazy Uncut…very lazy.

  32. “Dr. Dee” is on this and not “Mr. M”. Something’s wrong here.

  33. There is Ty Segall, so the list is good enough for me

  34. It’s hilarious they put Grimes at #17 just to spruce up the list a bit.

  35. this list is heavy on psych/garage, which is good on my books. not many fans of this genre on stereogum i suppose

  36. DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS?? Dexy’s fucking Midnight Runners. In the top 20. In the year 2012. So much else is wrong with this list and yet this is the only part that really bothers me.

  37. Dexy’s are actually inexplicably popular with twenty-something British hipsters right now. More so than Neil Young or Bob Dylan. I’m British and I don’t quite understand it, but it’s true.

  38. Wait, did nobody make any hip-hop records this year? I coulda sworn there were a few…

  39. For all the artists who had albums I anticipated this year, very few really hit the mark for me. It was a good year for discovering random new artists that I had heard of but never listened to.

    In particular, this article convinced me to check out the new Solange album, which I wouldn’t have otherwise. Good read:


  40. so this is a list ranking them from oldest to youngest

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