Spin list

Here’s one of the big ones. Spin remains my favorite music publication of all time, and this year they joined Stereogum under the BUZZMedia umbrella. Spin’s top 50 is appealingly loony and all-over-the-place, and it’s the rare list that makes room for stuff like Taylor Swift alongside Chicago footwork compilations and stoner-metal lurches. You’ll find the entire top 50 and some stellar writing here. For the top five, check below.

05 Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
04 DJ Rashad – Teklife Vol. 1 – Welcome To The Chi
03 Japandroids – Celebration Rock
02 Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City
01 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange

I can guarantee you that nobody, DJ Rashad included, saw DJ Rashad’s #4 status coming. Again, check out the full list here.

Comments (142)
  1. Kind of unhappy that CEREMONY’s Zoo didn’t make the cut, as I do recall SPIN giving it a favorable review and listing it as an “Essential” on their site. It would have been nice to see one of the big boys give them due props.

    • By the way, who do I have to sleep with in order to have my blog acquired by Buzz Media? They’re one Pitchfork away from having a monopoly over the music site business.

    • Wow, even Gorilla vs. Bear is owned by Buzz Media. Isn’t that a conflict of interest since both Chris (Weingarten and Cantalini) hate each other? On one hand, you have a music journalist who actually values saying something about music in more than two sentences, and on the other, you have this hack who has somehow gotten humongous just by posting pictures, videos and mp3s. Coincidentally, both released their best albums list today (G vs. B didn’t even bother writing why he liked any of the albums he chose.) In the end, they answer to the same neck ties and Buzz Media. Go figure.

  2. I cringed a little when the list started off with fun., but other than that…yeah, list!

  3. I like how sporadic this list is, although that top five is just ridiculous. Lamar and Dre’s choosing to end “good kid” with Compton instead of Real really hurt the whole album. Definitely not a #2 decision.

    • It’s like, I know what they WANTED to do with ending the album on “Compton”

      I mean it’s got the Just Blaze beat and the Dr. Dre guest verse. On the surface it looks like it’s going to be one last HOORAH! before the album ends. Lots of good albums end with one final blow-out!

      But the problem is the hook. “Compton, Compton, ain’t no city quite like mine.” I realize in the context of the album, this is one final song acknowledging the birthplace of this story. Also acknowledging Dre & Kendrick’s hometown. The problem is EVERY OTHER HUMAN on this planet that DOESN’T live in Compton.

      You think I’m yelling that hook out loud in my car in the Midwest? You think people in New York are screaming out COMPTON COMPTON! Replace any city and the hook still kind of works: “Atlanta, Atlanta, ain’t no city quite like mine!” I mean even Kanye had the sense on “Good Life” to ramble off a few cities for people to relate to, and then live switch it up to represent where he was playing.

      But really, to see how much “Compton” fails as a closing track, juxtapose it with the hook on “R.A.P. Music” — “This is jazz/ This is funk/ This is soul/ This is gospel/ This is sanctified sex/ This is player pentecostal/ This is church/ Front pew/ Amen/ Pulpit/ What my people need and the opposite of bullshit.”

      It ain’t hard to tell.

      • The hook is soooooooo bad, but I don’t think it’s because not everyone can identify with Compton as their city. It’s just sung really terribly. It’s the worst. It’s like the hook on “No Make-Up” off Section.80, it just makes you cringe.

      • Am I the only person that liked “Compton”?…………I’ll let myself out.

    • I think if you switch Compton with the far superior The Recipe its better, but I agree, Real was really the end of the album and it should have ended there. I understand and agree with Raptor Jesus’s points about what they wanted to do with ending the album with Compton, but for an album that is almost 100% about the narrative, it should have ended with the ending to that narrative, and Real was kinda the perfect ending.

    • I don’t get why it’s such a big deal. Does the song ruin the impact of the rest of the album? Not by a long shot. So: still very deserving of the #2 spot in my eyes.

      • Because the last song on an album is arguably the most important song. The argument being that it could be the first song is most important. When it comes to sequencing, a lot of people think you should put your best song in the last track as that is the last song people are going to remember (especially if it is super good).

        My personal opinion on last tracks is that it is the artists’ responsibility to make sure your album ends gracefully and with respect to the listener. When I listen to a really great album, I don’t want it to end. So when that last track comes around, I’m really praying the artist is going to let me down easy or give me one last reason to go nuts before the album ends. Commonly, you’ll find albums with outros (Frank Ocean’s “End”) or a slower song compared to the rest of the album (Japandroids’ “Continuous Thunder”). Or the artist will blow you out with one climactic finale (Swans’ “The Apostate”) or one last straight sing-a-long banger (Killer Mike’s “R.A.P. Music”). I could go on.

        So my beef with “Compton” as the closing track is that it is so out of whack with the rest of the album. Especially a “short film” album that incorporated album sequencing near flawlessly, if it weren’t for “Compton”. I mean just listening to the album, I think we can agree the album peaks (constantly) the most on “Sing About Me / I’m Dying of Thirst”. Then it has its comedown with “Real” and it FEELS like that’s it. We learned our lessons about life, the story has come to an end, the real winds to a halt.

        Now Slothdrop & I were talking and he said that he thinks it’s the real REWINDING so that “Compton” is actually detached from the storyline. That helped put some perspective on the issue, but it still doesn’t hide the fact that “Compton” falls FLAT. I think the reason why the idea of putting your best song last exists is because it’s so hard to end an album FULL of hits. If you don’t put your best song last, then you are bound to leave a disapointment with the listener.

        So yes, I too can see why it is deserving of a #2 slot. But because they fucked up the last track so bad it will always contain an obvious smudge on the photograph that I can never unsee.

        tl;dr Compton killed my vibe.

    • I disagree. I think Compton fits very well into the arching story line and at a very essential part of the album. If you listen to the skits it will make sense. I agree the song is only 4/5 quality, but considering the context boost I’d say its worth having it in. People who sat it sounds out of place are right, but completely missing the point kendrick wanted to show by including the song

      For example, if it was recipe (which is a better song) was the last song it would take it down a rating or two. For the record I’m between frank ocean and Kendrick for number ine

    • I have two suggestions that have worked well for me: (1) press “stop” before “Compton” comes on; and (2) pretend “Compton” is not on the album (or at least pretend it’s some sort of CD-era “hidden song” that doesn’t really count).

  4. I was just reading plb’s comment about if anybody had Frank & Kendrick at their #1 & #2 — and there this is!

    Love seeing NO LOVE DEEP WEB the high ranking Death Grips album over The Money Store.

    Love seeing Swans & Killer Mike in the Top 10.

    Still lobbying for publications to use the “Ty SegALL” feature I’ve designed. To all Gum Readers: Anytime you see one of Ty Segall’s albums on a list, just pretend it is representing all three. We’ll get through this, together.

  5. Some glaring oversights (e.g., Grimes, Chromatics, Chairlift), but the fact that Daphni, Traxman, Thee Oh Sees, and Animal Collective are all on Spin’s list made me smile. And Rashad at #5.

  6. Normally I’m not one to air my grievances with lists, but let’s talk… Who the hell chooses Twins as the best Ty Segall album this year? REALLY.

  7. Major props for including Red, the best singer-songwriter album of the year. (Cause that’s what Swift is, obvs)

    • Am I the only person not participating in the indie-community Taylor Swift circle jerk?

      • She is this year’s token Top 40 act in those losts. Nevermind… I won’t be surprised if Call Me Maybe
        will end up in Pitchfork’s top 10 either. It certainly will

        • It baffles me that she’s suddenly popular with everybody. My parents love her. My teenage cousins love her. Girls I went to high school with that normally only talk about Jesus and their babies love her. My favorite music blogs love her. Most commenters here on SG love her. And yet, all I hear is uninteresting derivative pop music that manages to simultaneously sound like everything that has ever annoyed me about top-40 in the past 10ish years.

          • Great singer though

          • Again, I don’t see it. I wouldn’t call her a bad singer, just not great.

          • You are not alone <3
            I'll write an emotional acoustic song about how know one understands my distaste for t swift! feat. scruffy

          • Judging by the up-votes I’d say you’re not alone; she’s not AS bad as Ke$ha & the lot, but that doesn’t make her good.

          • Re: this comment and your last one: THANK YOU. I feel that way every single time I hear someone in a music blog talk about how great she is. What is it about her music? “It’s catchy” is not a valid answer, because the State Farm jingle is catchy but fuck if I’m going to call that “good music.” (and now the State Farm jingle is stuck in your head. And I’m sorry, I’m just so sorry.)

          • crabtron  |   Posted on Dec 4th, 2012 -3

            Back when Fearless came out, she was quite popular too. I even remember that album being on one or two individual staff lists (Tom Ewing might have been one) at Pitchfork, though I can’t find those lists now. Maybe people (me) got bored with her sound when Speak Now came out. In any event, Red sees her back in the spotlight and fully in control of her destiny. Well, I for one am ready to embrace this album. With the release of Red, we find Swift back in control of the spotlight. It’s a red spotlight. It’s pointed directly at Swift as she stands on stage, ready to sing, or having already sung. With the release of Red, Taylor Swift finds Swift back in the Red, fully in control, singing. Singing her songs. Red debuts at number 1 for the third week in a row. I’m going to buy this album, if I haven’t already.

          • Michael O’Neill, you TAKE THAT BACK.

            Ke$ha makes Taylor Swift look like Miley Cyrus.

          • (Replying to Crabtron) “I’m going to buy this album, if I haven’t already.”


      • no you aren’t alone.

  8. I’ll say this about Fun. I saw them last week perform at a radio station end-of-year festival. By the nature of living in America with a radio, whether or not I liked it, I knew their songs. You can either resist or just give in for an hour. I gave in and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I wouldn’t mind if I never heard We Are young again but they were huge in 2012 and deserve some praise.

  9. Glad they threw I Bet on Sky in the mix. It’s just as great as the other Dino Jr. comeback albums (which is very. Very great.), but it hasn’t gotten much attention. By virtue of its inclusion here and me writing this post, hopefully that changes. It takes a village, dawg.

  10. Interesting choices for the top 30. Ranks 50 – 31 are mostly ludicrous though.

  11. No Bloom is genuinely shocking tho, but cheers for the overall diversity.

    • There are definitely some artists I feel snubbed Beach House out of a spot here (looking at you, Best Coast).

      However, Kudos on the diversity Spin.

  12. Beach House is getting snubbed in a lot of lists this year. :( Definitely a top 5 for me along with Tame Impala and Grizzly Bear….

    • I love Beach House and Grizzly Bear (not so much Tame Impala) but I have to say, I’m happy to see that they’re not dominating all these lists. I think it’s a reflection of the fact that publications/blogs are reaching more and more away from white bread indie music and more and more towards a diversity of styles, bringing in stuff like avant-electronic (ie DJ Rashad), a wider range of hip-hop, r&b, metal, and good pop (I mean Fiona Apple mostly, when I say that).

      • i think that’s fair enough to say. I just don’t like seeing Grimes or Lana Del Rey (equally white bread) beating out beach house….but that’s just me. I do agree with you, it’s nice to see a diversification of styles and genres. :)

    • tame impala should be above DJ fartnugget and CERTAINLY above miguel and his ellen ass (tho enjoy his theatricality and the album but gotta rep the tamy impy till I D)

  13. So because SPIN and Stereogum are both BUZZMedia I don’t get the handy list without bells and whistles, and have to click through for the pointless slideshow? Bummer.

    Agree with the above that Bloom being left of shocking. That’s the only serious oversight though.

  14. Not sure how you can justify putting Nikki Minaj, Taylor Swift, AND fun. and leave out Beach House, Screaming Females, and The Men.

    Also, Sleigh Bells new album was dreadful. Real talk.

    Yay diversity though.

  15. maybe the first relevant top list of the year

  16. Never thought I’s see the day where Spin carried rap and R&B in their top 5 albums of the year. Ten years ago, it’s be full of The Killers, Smashing Pumpkins and a dose of Radiohead side project to put a claim on the token coolness factor. It’s always been Rolling Stones Mags Antichrist.

    • The first year Spin ran a best-albums list was 1990, and its #1 was Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.

      • Tom “Kicking Facts” Breihan

        • Since 2005, the only rap to crack Spins top 5 was Kayne (three, to be exact – Late Reg, Graduation, and the obvious MBDTF)

          Only 2 others have even been in the top 5 (Ghostface Killah & Lil Wayne) and no classified R&B has come close.

          Now, obviously, there is some great representation of rap and R&B throughout all of their tops lists through the years, but it’s never been as prominent as it is, this year. And I didn’t even mention DJ Rashad @ #4 which is definitely a head scratcher.

          Point is this….2012 has been more interesting year than I think most respect, and it seems that Spin is the first to have recognized this well. Shows you that music is trending, and I bet we all see (once we get over these ridiculous NME, Uncut, etc lists) that astute publications are giving the right props in the right places with recognition going to Jesse Ware, Kendrick, Frank, Miguel, etc. It showed in NY mag, Spin and will in Pitchfork, for sure.

  17. Usually don’t like Spin’s list too much, but this is pretty good. They did leave out Beach House and put that horrible Nicki Minaj record on it though.

  18. I’m happy that GY!BE are high on this, unlike the lot

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  20. still baffled how any list can include that XX album.

    • It’s hardly as great as their debut, but Coexist deserves a spot in any list this year off the strength of it’s first two songs alone, IMO.

      …And outside of Beach House getting snubbed (again, not nearly as good as their last effort, but definitely deserving of placement), I’m totally cool with this list.

  21. Odds that Stereogum’s top 3 = Spin’s top 3 …?

  22. Just bopping through the slideshow here at work when all of a sudden DEATH GRIPS. Godammit you guys. BE WARNED: There be dick in that slideshow.

    • When I downloaded that album, the link for the whole album wasn’t working so I had to download each song individually. I then had 13 dick pics in my downloads folder. I left them in there just cos seeing 13 dick thumbnails every time I open that folder is funny.

    • At least it wasn’t the edited version. I always think it’s a new Jamie XX project when I see that slanted black box.

  23. To include Fun. and Nicki Minaj and not Father John Misty is a bit ridiculous.

  24. Love how Blue Chips is on there. It’s a mixtape, but it was easily one of my favorite releases of the year. In my top 5.

  25. YES! Finally love for Miguel. He is my number two this year.

  26. I’m going to continue to bitch about how bad Perfume Genius is getting snubbed this year in all the year end lists. That was one of the best records of the year in my opinion. I know Pitchfork and hopefully Stereogum give it some love.

    • Agree, I dislike the fact that Frank Ocean gets such major buzz for being bisexual just because it’s rare in the African American community, while Perfume Genius performs songs equally if not more affecting and powerful that deal with the same personal trauma and he barely gets any recognition cause who cares about another gay white gay. Obviously the black community has yet become as accepting to LGBTs so it make’s Frank’s decision to come out much more brave, but I believe in today’s multicultural society it’s easier to associate with the elements that accept you, I don’t think Frank Ocean is spending much time with the people that irrationally and ignorantly hate him. Anyways great album, I hope it get more nods coming up.

      • As a bisexual myself, I am happy to see Frank Ocean represent in all these lists but in purely musical and personal terms I definitely think Perfume Genius’s record was more powerful and meaningful to me than Channel Orange. They were also completely different albums as well. I think one of the key factors on why Perfume Genius is being overlooked is due to the very queer oriented themes in his music.This may impede a large majority of music writers (most are heterosexual males) to be able to identify with the album. On the other hand Channel Orange is more ambiguous in his subject matter, making it easier for a listener to interpret it in different ways. I still believe Perfume Genius’s music can be identifiable to straight people though, but not the majority.

  27. i….i liked this list. wow, this feeling, what is it? i have nothing to complain about,,,,,my life has lost it’s point.

  28. I may be one of the few, but I actually really dig the xx album. It’s quite a step down from their debut, but it’ll probably make my top 15. It’s an understated beauty.

  29. are you happy now, fiona fans? ARE YOU HAPPY??

  30. Also, does anyone like the Ultraísta album? I think it’s awesome.

  31. wish i was warned about that big wang on the death grips album cover.

  32. That DJ Rashad album’s actually pretty great.

  33. Swans, Japandroids, Killer Mike and Future in the top 11 is good. wondering if they forgot about Kill for Love, though.

  34. Their 10-6 is pretty good too.

  35. So Channel Orange is really cleaning out all the awards this year. I dont know if RS will put that as number 1, but I could definitely see P4k and Stereogum choosing it as the top album of 2012.

    Who would have thought someone in OFWGKTA, would put out two brilliant albums in a row, with CO being considered something of a modern day classic and masterpiece?

  36. Does anyone know whether those lists count EP or not? I refuse to believe Burial’s Kindred is simply forgotten that easily.

    • Agreed. FWIW, it is #4 on Gorilla vs. Bear’s list (which is easily the best list I’ve seen).

      • crabtron  |   Posted on Dec 4th, 2012 +3

        Yeah, Gorilla vs. Bear’s list is the most personally satisfying list I’ve seen so far. Not surprised to see Grimes tie with Chromatics for #1, since GvB have always loved Grimes, and I certainly agree that Visions is one of the best of the year. I also love to see Burial and Jessie Ware in the top 5, and Laurel Halo on the list.

        My favorite list of 2012 tracks has to be Michael_’s, especially since it includes Charli XCX’s remix of How to Dress Well’s “Cold Nites.”

  37. DJ Rashad in the top 5? I’m down with this.

  38. I’m starting to think I’m the only person that loved Dr. John and Chairlift this year.

  39. *Off Topic But Uber-Relevant*

    Dave Grohl Vows New Queens of the Stone Age Album Will Be Ridiculous:


  40. Confession time: I think Japandroids’ album is excessively overrated. I wish I didn’t feel this way….but I do. Feels bad bro.

    • Same feeling, only its Channel Orange

      • Ditto on both, but especially Channel Orange, which I went into really willing/expecting to love. Neither album is bad and both definitely have their moments, but I don’t love either by any means.

    • crabtron  |   Posted on Dec 5th, 2012 +2

      I’ve had a hard time getting into Tame Impala myself. I think part of it is that when my reason for listening to something is because it’s appearing on a bunch of lists, I naturally listen with an air of skepticism that wouldn’t necessarily be there if I was just listening out of pure curiosity. It’s like I’m going into the song already imagining that the song will ultimately justify my assumption that that album doesn’t belong on whatever list. But also I just don’t listen to many male-fronted indie bands anymore.

      Not saying that your reason for not getting into Japandroids is the same as my difficulty getting into Tame Impala. But it’s definitely a different experience listening to something with the awareness that it’s supposed to be good, as opposed to listening to it because it has a cool album cover or title, and then having it turn out that you really like the music too.

  41. Did anyone else listen to A Place To Bury Strangers, Liars, or Bear In Heaven this year?? All three turned out solid showings with little to no love.

  42. I don’t agree with a lot of what’s on this list, but I’m glad to finally see one that doesn’t have fucking Grimes on it.

  43. Yeah, horribly inconsistent despite glimpses of actual pop brilliance. I mean, a couple of genuinely great pop songs (Genesis and Oblivion) and nothing much else of note. Solid 6/10 album.

  44. This is an interesting list and I can’t complain too much, but it’s very strange that Beach House is missing

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  46. Well, at the very least, the vast differences between my personal favourites and the favourites on the lists I’ve been reading are telling me there’s lots of music left for me to check out.

  47. Not a bad list, certainly some odd choices, both good and bad. If nothing else I’m glad I checked it out because it introduced me to this killer Goats album that I’d never heard about. Pretty badass.

    I like Spin a lot of the time, but they have written some dogshit reviews in the last couple of years. Still, I pull for them.

  48. Its not the worst of lists, but I thought “Oceania” by Smashing Pumpkins, Grimes “Visions” and “Bloom” by Beach House deserved a spot. Its still amazing how many comments talk about how all these albums on the list ( or any critics list) stands up and is celebrated when in truth, lists generally reflect the moment and alot of this trendy music won’t matter much ages on ( or spin many enduring future listens on your turntable). Its always nice to look for a possible classic each year and occasionally there comes one. Even though I’m not a fan, “Channel Orange” might just be that.

  49. Who is Spin trying to please with this pathetic list? No wonder they’ve been bankrupt for several years.

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