List

Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums Of 2012

By Michael Nelson / December 5, 2012

Hot on the heels of our own list of 2012’s 50 best albums comes the grandaddy of ‘em all, Rolling Stone. And I’m not kidding about the grandaddy thing: Their top five includes a 63-year-old dude and a 71-year-old dude. Which is especially insane because those picks — Bruce at 1, Dylan at 4 — really don’t deserve to be anywhere near the top of anything (they’re mid-pack at best in the respective artists’ catalogs). But hey, to paraphrase Woody Allen, Jann Wenner wants what Jann Wenner wants. More oldsters include Neil Young (67) at 10, Jimmy Cliff (64) at 12, Leonard Cohen (78) at 13, Dr. John (72) at 15, Bonnie Raitt (63) at 22, Donald Fagen (64) at 25, Bobby Womack (68) at 36. (To be clear: I’ve got nothing against any of those artists, albums, or the aged in general; why, just yesterday I just gave a positive review to a new album from a 67-year-old man. Just pointing out a general trend.) There’s some crossover between our list and theirs (and everyone else’s): Frank Ocean, Fiona Apple, Kendrick Lamar, Japandroids, Cloud Nothings, etc. The most surprising inclusions here, for me, are Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer and Green Day’s ¡Uno!, neither of which seem destined to go down in history as classics. Most shocking omission? Just considering the source and their predilictions, I’m kinda stunned to see the Rolling Stones’ three-disc hits compilation, Grr, left off. Hey, it’s got two new songs on it! Check out the list below.

01 Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
02 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
03 Jack White – Blunderbuss
04 Bob Dylan – Tempest
05 Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
06 Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
07 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Here
08 Green Day – !Uno!
09 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 Horses – 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