Pitchfork albums list

This morning, Pitchfork finished posting its list of the top 50 albums of the year, and if you’ve been reading the site all year, it doesn’t exactly have any huge, sweeping shocks. One minor surprise is at the very top of the list, with Kendrick Lamar just beating out Frank Ocean. And I’m also a bit surprised to see Japandroids finish outside the top 10. And this may be the first time Animal Collective have ever released an album without landing in Pitchfork’s year-end list. As ever, Pitchfork’s list is a pretty good excuse to check out stuff that may have passed you by during the year. Check out Pitchfork’s top 10 picks below.

10 Grizzly Bear – Shields
09 Death Grips – The Money Store
08 Chromatics – Kill For Love
07 Beach House – Bloom
06 Grimes – Visions
05 Swans – The Seer
04 Tame Impala – Lonerism
03 Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
02 Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
01 Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City

For the full list, along with blurbs and audio clips, head over here.

Comments (250)
  1. TAME MADE IT!!! Very much deserved!!

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    • You must be trollin, right?

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        • I see, I don’t like ASAP Rocky, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar either, but I really loved the other albums on their top 10. Grimes’ Visions is pretty awesome, in my opinion. And Bloom is my favorite album of the year.

        • it wasn’t the fact that you don’t like asap rocky, hell I don’t like asap rocky. It was your stupid tirade where you called hip hop a fad, and insinuating that you are somehow a more intelligent being because you disapprove of the word bitch. Grow up and get a brain.

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

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      • Q: How many copy_paster_cats does it take to screw in a lightbulb.

        A: Two; one to screw in the lightbulb and the other to claim the lightbulb is a shitty choice.

    • world’s most constructive argument goes to: “well…” – copy_paster_cat

    • Bitch don’t steal my vibe

      • Ok now open your mind and listen to me Tyler, you just publicly bombed a Kendrick song title, if you do not acknowledge this you will be history Tyler.

    • Give us YOUR top 10.

    • Really dude…How is your life complete without Chromatics?

    • And please explain how you landed on such arbitrary numbers as 2.3, 6.4, 8.4 and 7.4. Because god knows you don’t have a rating system.

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      • Your opinion is incredibly naive. How can you claim that Pitchfork is confusing? The reviewers are just being honest and every good music critic knows that Good Kid Maad City was a fantastic record. The true critic appreciates and is open-minded to the vast majority of genres – they can enjoy Sonic Youth and Kanye West at the same time. Think through your comment properly before you post it, you pretentious dicklicker!

        • chill dude.

          Im coming from the perspective back when pitchfork was primarily promoting a certain style of indie rock. modest mouse, built to spill, etc. Its changed a lot.

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          • This is the most obnoxious comment I have ever seen. Genre means nothing. Good music is good music. And G.O.O.D. music is also good music.

            I think indie culture embracing all different genres is very refreshing.

          • nah man. that doesn’t make any sense. Genre means something. I don’t see them pushing jazz or modern classical particularly hard. Its more cynical and seemingly necessary for their continued relevance, their sudden interest in rap.

            My issue is more. I like when they push Das Rascist, The Streets, and sure, Kendrick does fit in. Guys that represent some sort of alternative rap, like Grizzly Bear is sort of the current alternative rock.

            But, for instance, they way they are pushing anything Kanye… the dude represents everything bad about mainstream culture. His songs sound like beer commercials. He’s got the emotional depth of a ten year old. Indie music supposed to be weirder and more difficult than this sort of crap.

            Thats more where I’m coming from. I’m not at all saying all rap is bad, but at least be looking for alternative voices. Like give their own spin on rap coverage like they did for rock.

        • Future and Sonic Youth AT THE SAME DAMN TIME!

    • Haha. Oh Man. Hahahahaha.

      I mean, you deem The Idler Wheel “not wholly satisfying” but then state it is your #1 pick in another reader poll.

      I bet you would give music as a whole a 6.8 huh:

      Life is far too short to be so bitter. Just listen to an album for what it is. Who cares who else likes it? Who cares if Tame Impalas fanbase is comprised “entirely of Triple J Gen Y-ers”? Although I would bet that the majority of their fanbase has never even heard of Triple J. Haha.

      Jeez dude. Take a chill pill.

      • In Australia, at the very least, Tame Impala’s fanbase LIVES on Triple J. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

        • I usually stay out of huge shitfights like this, not to mention commenting on anything ever, but that just makes me really upset. You ever been to Australia brah? Well I was born there, live there, I love music, I love Tame Impala, and I never listen to Triple J because it’s comprised largely of shitty “local” music that all sounds the same. If you are Australian, which would surprise me, you’re totally wrong.

          • I’m Australian too, and lyntonn is dead right.

            Tame Impala are great, Triple J has gone to shit. But that doesn’t mean they don’t play good stuff here and there. And also, I bet you would find that the venn diagram of Triple J listeners and Tame fans will overlap quite a bit.

          • They do play good stuff here and there. Switched the radio on yesterday, Triple J was on by chance, and heard “Wolf Like Me”, was pleased.
            I don’t deny that a lot of Triple J listeners like Tame Impala. I guess Triple J is the only really established platform for alternative music in Australia (which sucks btw), so it’s only natural that Tame Impala would get fairly huge exposure on there, since Triple J Unearthed is where they got picked up in the first place anyway. I just don’t appreciate the idea that ‘in Australia Tame Impala’s fanbase LIVES on Triple J.’ It ain’t true.
            And no, there isn’t ‘anything wrong with that’, it’s just that, as you said, Triple J has gone to shit.
            Sorry for the whining

    • I’m gettin so much hate on here and for what? All because I respect the ladies.

      You could walk into my house with your wife and I wouldn’t call her a bitch or nothing. I would greet you wholeheartedly and make you some strong ass tea.
      I give tea a 6.8. It’s my favorite drink.

    • wait, what? a 7.0 for channel orange, which you’ve shit on so many times before?

      (i then realized that copy_paster_cat is a stereogum genius, and has bested rubberjohnny at his own game)

  3. overall, i think their list this year is great. but here’s my required gripe: leaving off Twin Shadow, and, even more so, BARONESS (!!!!!) is a dirtbag move.

    • I thought Twin Shadow would be up there for sure

    • What about Scott Walker?! Definitely in my top five favorite albums of the year. And I know she was listed in the ” Honorable Mention”, but I was really hoping Pitchfork would take a chance and put “Quarantine” in their top twenty, AT LEAST. Oh well. By the way, you all should check out the top fifty albums by TinyMixTapes and the top seventy-five albums by The Quietus.

  4. All I’m going to say is that it’s complete bullshit that Converge’s All We Love We Leave Behind got shut out altogether (aside from Stosuy’s niche metal list, but let’s be honest — the latest album from them was more millennial hardcore than even metalcore.) I appreciate the metal lists, but I hate when putting them on one list disqualifies them from the all-inclusive (Note: I agree with Michael Nelson’s rational to the reverse on ‘Gums metal list, however.)

    Also, by my count, 9 albums in the bottom 50 never reviewed Best New Musics or ratings above 8.1. It’s not unusual for non-BNM albums to make the year-end list, but I thought it was a higher number compared to most years. There were ~50 BNM this year, so several got relegated to the Honorable Mentions or didn’t make the cut at all.

    • Passion Pit’s Gossamer was a low-rated BNM that didn’t make the long list as well, but still I felt was a stronger album than their debut, which I remember ranking fairly highly.

      • I didn’t notice that didn’t make the cut, way better than their debut, I had it in my personal top ten. I was glad to see Hot Chip which if I remember correctly got an 8.0 and no BNM.

    • Whoa, check out how nearly identical Ryan Schreiber’s list is to the collective list. It makes you wonder how much influence he has on its final say:

      01. Frank Ocean: channel ORANGE
      02. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city
      03. Tame Impala: Lonerism
      04. Chromatics: Kill for Love
      05. Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory
      06. Death Grips: The Money Store
      07. Grimes: Visions
      08. Beach House: Bloom
      09. Burial: Kindred EP
      10. Grizzly Bear: Shields

      • I actually posed that question in the ‘fork tracks post, I was hoping to get a response from Tom, although I think he’s been over the process before so maybe he is sick of talking about it. Or maybe if he told me he’d have to kill me.

      • Yeah that’s nuts

      • Yeah the individual lists are really telling. At the very least, it gives you a good indication of whose tastes you should pay more attention to. I like Stosuy (natch), Kim Kelly, Grayson Currin and, holy shit, whose this Hank Shteamer guy? Christian Mistress? Propagandhi? Amazing. Fun? OK, whatever, but still, his list is all sorts of against the grain.
        I tend to be less interested in the individual lists that are Pitchfork by the numbers.

    • The 10 non-BNM year-end list members are:

      1. Crystal Castles (#49, 8.0/10) – I loved (III)
      2. Peaking Lights (#48, 7.9) – okay, but is this really year-end list material?
      3. Rustie (#46, 8.1) – Essential Mix wasn’t even a regular album or EP
      4. Rick Ross (#42, 8.1) – Rich Forever
      5. Hot Chip (#39, 8.0) – But I’m really glad to discover it in an American year-end list, finally!
      6. Future (#37, 7.8) – oh, c’mon…
      7. Sharon van Etten (#36) – Tramp wasn’t even reviewed at all, only her Demos, great record though
      8. Chairlift (#34, 8.0) – Something was awesome!
      9. Action Bronson/Party Supplies (#33, 8.1) – cool record
      10. Cat Power (#29, 7.9) – I liked her new direction a lot as opposed to the Gumajority

  5. Kendrick tryin’ win it, ya bish.

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    • Clearly I’m in the minority here. I’m not trying to diss Tame Impala or the people that like them, hell I don’t even dislike them, I just feel this album is wildly overrated.

      • I genuinely believe it is an amazing album, and should/will be looked back on as one of the best albums this decade

        • hmmmm, I think it’s a little flavor of the moment. Lyrically doesn’t do much, also the end peters out into jam band territory. Still put it in my top 3 of the year, but as far as ‘remembered as best of the decade’ I don’t think so.

    • Nah, I’m with you bro. I think it’s a decent album, but I certainly have not been able to get on board with it to the extent that so many others have. I’m nearing a breaking point with Dave Fridmann as a producer, and this album seems especially reliant on the in the red, blown out, heavy on the panning thing he loves so much. Dude can’t coast by on goodwill from “The Soft Bulletin” forever – this guy almost ruined “The Woods” for christ’s sake.

      • I don’t mind Tame Impala. If I’m really paying attention to their albums they can be really good, but it also can fall into the background with way too much ease. My biggest issue with what they do is that they are doing essentially doing a tenth the job that Dungen does (or did), but with 10 times the acclaim. Ta Det Lugnt didn’t make Pitchfork’s top 10 of 2004, nor did it crack their top 200 of the decade. That’s madness.

        • Totally agree. I enjoy Tame, but the acclaim they are getting just doesn’t seem to make sense.
          I put it down to overzealous tokenism on the part of the press, in an era where electronic music/hiphop/punk reign supreme.

      • How exactly did he come close to ruining The Woods? Also the guy is still spending goodwill from ’91, as far as I’m concerned.

    • I was pretty resistant because I thought “Innerspeaker” was kind of overrated. “Lonerism” sounds cool enough production wise, but the quality of the songwriting is what’s easy to miss. It’s easy to get distracted by those balloon animal synths and left to right panning, but Kevin Parker’s lyrics and tone are really kind of unsettling.

      When I first heard “Elephant” and “Apocalypse Dreams” I thought they were awesome, but now I don’t even consider them that great in the larger context of the record, and that’s telling. It’s one of those albums that grows on you song by song, some taking longer than others.

      I’m gonna pull another “hey check out my review” here (and this is honestly not me just looking for page views) but I’m hoping you’ll read it because I tried to explain why this album felt so emotionally deep to me. You know I got nothing but respect for your brownie, and I would love to try and help the popularity of this record make more sense to you; it really is great.


    • You are not alone.

  7. Nothing too surprising there. Let’s talk about the albums we really liked that did not make any of these year end lists; I’m bored reading the same names. Here are a few of mine:

    PS I Love You – Death Dreams (Pixies meet Japandroids – a slight step down from their debut, but worth it for “First Contact” alone)

    Suckers – Candy Salad (“Figure It Out” is impossible to forget after one listen)

    Islands – A Sleep & A Forgetting (Catchy as usual, just a bit more somber than typical Islands)

    • I did really like that Islands album, although I thought the back half was a bit too somber. A lot of depressing music just isn’t my thing, but the catchier tunes like “Hallways” were some of my favs from the year.

      • Yeah, true. “Hallways” and the bonus track “Swallows” are classic catchy Islands, but a lot of the other songs are so downtrodden that it can wear on you if you are not in the mood.

    • Really don’t understand why Island album went completely unnoticed, one of my top picks this year. I didn’t even saw “This Is Not a Song” in any songs list,which is upsetting because it’s definitely as catchy as ‘Oblivion’ or ‘Climax’ and beautiful.

    • I really thought PS I Love You’s Death Dreams was completely underrated.

      Along with that:
      The Henry Clay People – 25 For the Rest of Our Lives
      Dusted – Total Dust
      Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
      Port St. Willow – Holiday
      Dignan Porch – Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen
      Delicate Steve – Positive Force
      The Babies – Our House on the Hill

    • This year I have been a big fan of

      Poliça — Give You the Ghost
      Lower Dens — Nootropics
      Beat Connection — The Palace Garden

      None of which have been getting to much critical love.

  8. Japandroids could have at least been in the top 10, if not top 5.

  9. Dear Pitchfork,

    You desperately need to put “Put Your Back N 2 It” N 2 it.

    A travesty and a sham.

  10. I just can’t get into Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City, did Pitchfork overrate that album or is it me? I’m a big time rap/hip-hop fan, I call people bitches all the time, and it actually bothers me a little that I don’t like that album, I feel like I should. Do I need to listen to it until I understand it or is it ok to just stick to Action Bronson, Killer Mike, Joey Bada$$, and all the rappers who’s releases from this year I do like?

    • I didnt think it was amazing until i sat down and listened to it a few times in a row. Very much a album you need to listen to the whole way through.

    • Personally, I had to listen to it all the way through with headphones probably four or five times before it really clicked with me.

    • I agree with you, plb. I enjoyed section.80 a ton, but for me Good Kid is my least favourite album I bought this year. The production is dull, when a song desperately calls for a hook, there isn’t one, and I feel like he made a ton of choices that are just unpleasant to listen to. That “ya bish” refrain is awful, and you can’t rap over a Janet track that you stole wholesale and think I’m not going to want to put on “Anytime, Anyplace” instead. To me, this is the sound of a talented rapper imploding in his self-conscious desire to make a classic record. I even still think he could have a classic in him, but I don’t hear it in this snoozer at all.

      • A majority of people think it’s a classic. I’m sure K.Dot isn’t worried

      • Not to discount good kid – I think it’s fine – but I think Pitchfork really likes ambition in their hip hop. good kid is an ambitious hip hop album, not unlike Kanye’s MBDTF. Neither record is perfect – in fact, there are some outright poor moments on each, especially Kanye’s – but they’re album-centric in a genre that tends to skew the opposite direction. They’re revolutionary, even if the actual content doesn’t live up to the hype.

        • I would agree and add that they’re album-centric in every genre, as long as they think the artist pulls it off. Which, as you mentioned, may not always be the case.

        • I think the content in both more than lives up to the hype, especially in Ken’s case. It’s unbelievable how good a lot of the tracks are individually, and how much more they elevate in the big picture of the album. Plus, I can’t stop saying ya bish.

    • I felt the exact same way, plb. But the other day I listened to it and was gettin chills in my spine from the lyrics. Still think his style’s a little lame but a few more spins/round of double-clicks may turn me into a believer. Have to say the “Ya bish” thing in whatever track that is is super catchy and pretty hilarious.

  11. Interesting to look at the staffs individual lists. I feel like those are a lot more interesting and helpful if you want to find some new music to check out, lots of albums of albums I’ve never heard of.

  12. was very glad to see Julia Holter so high up..

    also, did everyone miss out on Melody’s Echo Chamber?
    it’s such a fantastical pop album, it’s a shame it’s been overlooked..

  13. Django Django

    • …are a generic indie band that don’t deserve the time of day?

    • Thing is, with bands like Hot Chip (to a lesser extent), Alt-J or Django Django that they are quite UK-centric and not big enough in the US to feature in EOY lists. If you have time, go download AcclaimedMusic 2012 EOY Albums spreadsheet – that album had rave scores from the UK publications and at the same time not featured in any US EOY list.

  14. I’m glad Andy Stott is the token electronic experimentalist this year, as was OPN last year. Luxury Problems was superb.

  15. Twin Shadow and Wild Nothing not even honourable mention? In the words of Gob Bluth “Come on!”, or conversely “I’ve made a huge mistake”.

  16. If I really cared what p4k thought I wouldn’t like:

    Daft Punk’s “Discovery”, Wilco’s “A Ghost is Born”, Any Stars album since “Set Yourself on Fire”, Miike Snow, Guster, Lord Huron, 9th Wonder, Memory Tapes post “Seek Magic”…

    I think you see where I’m going here. I like discussing these lists, and I think Channel Orange was a better album than Good Kid, but seriously p4k is derided for a reason and it’s the same reason they have so many devotees: they’re uncompromising (as long as Ryan Schreiber says it’s ok).

    • Daft Punk’s “Discovery” is really a case in point. The site’s founder pans it in the most uncharitable way possible when it comes out, but then at the other end of the decade it’s like #3 of the site’s best-of-the-00s list. P4K on “Discovery”: “It’s HORRIBLE! No, uh, wait, I mean it’s THE BEST EVER!” There’s no substitute for independent judgment.

      • You’d almost think one was a review written by one individual while the other was a list created by the entire staff.

        • I’m guessing Ryan had to change his mind about “Discovery” — there’s no way that “Discovery” could have gotten to #3 on any P4k list without the tacit approval of the head guy. I take it there’s some sort of voting process in making these lists, but somewhere in the process things can get massaged or vetoed. In any event, the point is: don’t take lists/reviews too seriously (duh).

          • I myself had a pretty big change of heart about “Discovery” from when I first heard those tracks. The auto-tune used to really grate with me but those are now my favourite songs on the album.

          • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was originally rated in the 7-range. They changed the score years later after everyone else had praised it endlessly and it was undeniably a part of the canon of great indie albums.

          • Downvoting a fact? Yes, that makes perfect sense.

        • snarky mcsnarkerson over here

        • In saying that, are the scores they give albums decided as a group, or by the individual reviewer? Often wondered this..

    • But Discovery was #3 on their best of 2000s list

    • In my observation of social media and reactions from music heads, I kind of felt like Pitchfork’s year-end list power steam was on the decline this year. It used to be that everyone waited on baited breath to see who they put where, but since most other online publications (like Stereogum) have likewise made a multi-tiered event out of it, the concept of the “list” has become kind of like the concept of the festival when Coachella and Bonnaroo were the only two big ones around, and now everyone has one. Bands on my twitter feed don’t seem to wigging out over placing on Pitchfork, because they’ve placed on other highly visible lists as well. Plus, I think the conversation has moved past “Pitchfork is so predictable” to “Pitchfork… Even if they’re right, I don’t care.”

  17. More and more, it seems like “cutting-edge” music sites feel compelled to not pick rock bands to be in their first couple of spots on these lists, and that is ludicrous. When people talk about the need for a rock resurgence in the mainstream, it is not just the record companies that are to blame. Critical opinion (honest or dishonest) does have a trickle-down effect, and when sites that are predominantly rock-oriented betray their true genre of choice just to look cool, they contribute to the problem in the big-picture scheme of things. There is no shortage of great rock bands; there is only a shortage of support for them.

    • Thanks for writing this. I couldn’t agree more.

    • yeah man. right on.

    • I think sites like P4K and stereogum, while originally conceived to focus on “indie music”, have more or less ridded themselves of that pretense and act as general music criticism sites. When everyone picks the same three records for AOTY and the three of them are R&B, rap, and pop albums respectively (Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and Fiona Apple), I don’t think it’s a mass statement of “look how cool we are”, I think it reflects a general consensus that among the realm of things these sites try to cover (indie, rock, pop, hip-hop, electronic, r&b), those albums stood out as the most impressive to the most amount of people. I’m happy that music blogs/publications (for the most part) have moved past the indie rock is best mode of being (despite being a huge fan of indie rock past and present). I mean if you look at this list compared to say, the list P4K put out of the best albums of the 90s, it’s kind of nice to see a diversity that wasn’t there before (I can’t think of a single non-white artist on P4K’s best albums of the 90s list that they did in 2003, and as far as I can recall, every artist in the top 10 is either male or an all-male band with the exception of MBV).

      • They have always been sexist; the only bands with women in them that they ever really made a big deal about were mbv (as you said), Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, and more recently, Marnie Stern. It’s Schreiber’s fault. When they showed the individual staff lists for the Pitchfork People’s List thing, it was obvious. Anyway, I really disagree with you because every person has a favorite kind of music, and indie rock is, by its very nature, marginalized. Therefore, there ought to be some really well done sites devoted to indie rock and nothing else. Why do you think the same bands get repeated on every list now when that was not the case a decade ago? It’s because critics don’t have time to dig for really obscure bands that are amazing because they are so busy trying to prove that they love every genre. Indie rock fans only had a couple of little special corners on the internet, and a lot of each corner is cramped with a bunch of other genres now. It apparently wasn’t enough for every genre to be more popular and get actual radio airplay. The whole reason why any non-critic is interested in indie rock in the first place is because they are sick to death of the same old bands that just aren’t doing it for them. Now the disease has spread to music criticism. I don’t just have to wade through all the artists from different genres in which I’m not interested; I’ve got to wade through all the bands that critics won’t stop writing about because they’ve stopped making the effort to find the next great band. I go to Pitchfork every day, and I scan the names of artists and the short blurbs on the homepage just to find out the names of bands I have not heard. I stopped reading their awful reviews ages ago. Most of the time, I already know the artists if they are indie rock bands. This site, Treblezine, and Tiny Mix Tapes (though a lot of artists they cover don’t really write songs and just bang pots and pans against their heads and record it) are the only ones that have any instincts when it comes to finding out about bands that aren’t mentioned on every website and in every magazine. It’s sad. At one time I could just go to Pitchfork and call it a day.

      • with you, but i hate the hive mind mentality of music critics.

  18. Hate to be cynical, but the anointment of Kendrick to the top spot seems like an explicit move to broaden their reader’s demographic base to incorporate hip hop heads, which began with MBDTF and its 10 and things like Tom’s excellent article about Rap’s Recession. Not saying GKMC didn’t deserve its rankings cause it most certainly did, but when everyone was about 99% confident Channel Orange would nab the top spot i’d say it qualifies as more than a minor upset. The write up of GMKC discussing it’s instant classic status echoes closely the debate going on at places like KanyeToThe, which they actually linked to in their write up of Jasmine. Not saying whether it’s good or bad, although it certainly will lead to increased page views; it’s just strange to see what this little indie site has blossomed into. Also shout out to our boy Corban including Justin Beiber’s Believe at #10, I wonder how he’ll affect Pitchfork’s coverage of more mainstream music. Like will Bieber actually get a review next time, slot in at a solid 7.5 like the similar but more respected Usher?

    • Rap and R&B are more interesting than indie rock right now. That’s why they are getting more coverage on sites like Stereogum and Pitchfork and that’s why Kendrick got the top spot. Also, KTT in this bitch.

      • Heavy metal is probably more interesting than all of the above right now, which why you’ve seen a sharp incline in metal coverage. Unfortunately, people not prone to liking harder music will never like it and then within the hard music fanbase there are so many split opinions, which is why you don’t see a lot of metal on regular year-end lists (although it’s getting better). Take that Baroness album. Non-metal people aren’t going to give it any time because it’s metal, despite the fact that it sounds more like Pinback than it does Slayer. Then there’s a split among metal fans because some of them hate it for the very fact that it would appeal to non-metal people. The band is stuck in a sort of critical no man’s land. Although, to their credit, they did win people over and many open-minded metal fans stayed on board.

        • Completely agree. Haven’t gotten too into Baroness, but Pallbearer’s album is one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever heard, across any genre. The fact that everyone is raving about it but can’t be bothered to put it on any Best Of list besides Best Metal albums bothers me. The new Swans record comes from a vary similar place, and it’s cleaning up on critical lists because “it’s not metal.” Sadly, I think metal still has the neanderthal association stuck to it.

        • Who the hell would downvote me for that comment? Is it for the “Metal is probably more interesting than all the above.” If you don’t agree, then you probably are one of those people who refuse to acknowledge metal.

          • yeah, i was just gonna say, i’m not a metal fan but i threw an upvote your way because i feel like you’re getting downvoted just for bringing the subject of metal up.

        • I’ve been into metal and hardcore lately more than standard indie rock as well. As for Baroness, I wasn’t a huge fan. It was a little too radio rock at times, even for me. (maybe radio rock isn’t the right word, light metal maybe? I don’t know the terms).

    • Pitchfork has been trying to broaden its reader’s demographic base for years now. I remember in 2006 when they gave Justin Timberlake’s ‘My Love’ top track of the year. I think that was also the year they were reviewing Britney Spears albums. Funny thing is if you search her on the site, you won’t find those reviews anymore. Odd.

  19. This list is totally predictable. Which is not a bad thing! Pitchfork lists are not Breaking Bad episodes. So good job Pitchfork for being consistent, and for including Death Grips and Swans in your top 10.

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  21. This list summarized in one word: meh.

    Albeit a solid best of 2012 list, unlike their best songs of the year, there is hardly a single surprise on this list, which is a shame.

    I also think that each album that got away with an “honorable mention” should actually have been on the main list. Especially Holly Herndon’s “Movement”, Lauren Halo’s “Quarantine” and Matthew E. White’s “Big Inner” were stellar.

    Also,This guy:

    • And we bring out the Perfume Genius gifs!

      Completely agree with the honorable mentions statement. Holly Herndon’s debut was fantastic, really wish it could’ve gotten more love. I was hoping for “Fade” being in their top tracks list but we all know how that list went.

  22. I’m happy to see Death Grips and Swans so high, that’s pretty exciting.

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

  24. Miss u bb Corban. His lists:

    01. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel
    02. Jessie Ware: Devotion
    03. Frank Ocean: channel ORANGE
    04. Future: Pluto
    05. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, M.A.A.D. City
    06. Taylor Swift: Red
    07. Chief Keef: Finally Rich
    08. Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream
    09. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’
    10. Justin Bieber: Believe

    01. Fiona Apple: “Valentine”
    02. Chief Keef: “Love Sosa”
    03. Grimes: “Oblivion”
    04. Lil B: “I Own Swag”
    05. Taylor Swift: “22″
    06. Rick Ross: “Stay Schemin’”
    07. Frank Ocean: “Thinkin Bout You”
    08. Justin Bieber: “Die In Your Arms”
    09. Kanye West/Jay-Z/Big Sean: “Clique”
    10. Usher: “Climax”

  25. I haven’t been able to comes to my personal list until after list season…but here it is if anyone cares. Sorry guys I don’t have token Kendrick Lamar, Fiona Apple, Swans or Frank Ocean. This list is more personal than see in me in my underwear.

    Let the down votes begin!

    1. Kin- Iamamiwhoami
    2. TRST- Trust
    3. Put Your Back N 2 It- Perfume Genius
    4. Kill For Love- Chromatics
    5. Bloom- Beach House
    6. Visions- Grimes
    7. Movement- Holly Herndon
    8. Something- Chairlift
    9. Shrines- Purity Ring
    10. Mature Themes- Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
    11. Melody’s Echo Chamber- Melody’s Echo Chamber
    12. Lonerism- Tame Impala
    13. Luxury Problems- Andy Stott
    14. The Haunted Man- Bat For Lashes
    15. Young and Old- Tennis

  26. Pitchfork’s Best New Music but apparently disqualified from their 2012 lists (both Honorable and TOP50:

    Converge (8.6)
    Twin Shadow (8.6, as opposed to 2010′s Forget which made the 2010 list)
    Baroness (8.5)
    Perfume Genius (8.4, unfortunately unsurprisingly)
    Passion Pit (8.4)
    The Shins (8.4)
    Wild Nothing (8.3)
    Nas (8.3)
    Mount Eerie “Clear Moon” (8.3)

    We can learn that a BNM label is no free ticket to ride on any of Pitchfork’s end-list wagons.

    • Still really surprised by the Passion Pit snub. That album got so much love when it came out, wasn’t their first ever cover story on Michael Angelakos?

      • Although my disappointment in Passion Pit’s omission will be nothing compared to how I will feel if I’m not included in the top 50 comments of the year list I’m expecting to be released later today. If I’m not on that I’m gonna let you all know what I really think about you.

      • I saw it on a couple of the writer’s personal lists, clearly it was a bit of a love/hate album in the P4K office.

  27. I don’t how to explain the top 100 track and now the top 50 album snub The Walkmen are getting. That album came out in 2012, right?

    • Given that many solid BNM got snubbed (see above), it’s not that surprising (Heaven has 8.1) but sure they should have include at least title track in the songs list…

      • I find this a lot for myself that the first album to get a snub of sorts from Pitchfork is the first album by a band that really moved me – Heaven is an example of this. Last year it was Nine Types of Light.

        • ever hear their first 2 albums and You & Me? those are really moving, too. but interesting it’s worked out the way for you, although frustrating i’m sure.

          • I was a bit of a fan around the time of Bows and Arrows, but they kind of faded for me – maybe it’s because sometimes if I’m not quickly hooked, I don’t give it much of a chance, which really hurts for a band like the Walkmen (that’s my fault, but still…). Anyway, my wife really got into Heaven, and, being a good husband, I began trying to hear what she was hearing – the themes really began to resonate for me.

          • Anyone else bummed King Tuff didn’t make the list?

  28. “Novacane” was my favorite song of 2011, and as a gay man obsessed with R&B/Hip Hop, I obviously lobby for Frank Ocean. “Channel Orange” is good. Very good. However, it’s not the album of the decade that everyone thinks it is. It’s maybe a mere 9/10 for me. Definitely top 10, but it wasn’t a life changing moving-mountains album everyone treats it as. For that reason, I’m really glad Kendrick was awarded the #1 spot.

    And no Twin Shadow or Father John Misty? Those records gave me so much joy this year… shame they weren’t recognized.

    • Completely feeling you on your opinion of Channel Orange. It’s a great album, but also about a 9/10 for me and a solid #4 on my favourites of the year. I think the stage was just set for him this year, and as long as he didn’t totally fuck up, he was going to rank very highly. As a consensus pick, I think the album is pretty deserving. As a gay man, I’m happy with his success but can’t say he couldn’t have done even better.

  29. ahh what the heck:

    1. walkmen – Heaven
    2. grizzly bear – Shields
    3. chromatics – Kill For Love
    4. st. vincent – Love this Giant
    5. Frankie Rose – Interstellar
    6. U.S.Girls – Gem
    7. Divine Fits – A thing Called Divine Fits
    8. Neil Young – Walk LIke a Giant
    9. Grimes – Visions
    10. Daughn Gibson – All Hell

  30. Predictable but decent list overall, I suppose. Only two of the top 10 (Swans and Kendrick) made my personal top 10, but whatever, I leaned more towards heavy metal/punk and hip-hop this year and away from pleasant indie rock.

    I think Angel Haze is being seriously slept on. Reservation was one of my favorite hip-hop records this year.

  31. Def better than Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man. I couldn’t get into that album.

  32. Ty should have been on there twice. He’s at 18 with Slaughterhouse AND hair. Those are two different beasts.
    They might as well as had put Twins rolled in with it

  33. I saw this every time any list is ever released, but…


    C’mon! It’s like the indie internet is pretending they don’t exist. I saw them live 3 times this year and they’re definitely the best thing ever. Crowds go all-out nutso for them. They sound unlike any other band. They’re true troopers, been doing this forever. And they have prior experience topping lists. Sufjan even named the Runners Four the best album of last decade, FWIW.

    Why don’t people care about Vs. Evil or Breakup Song?????

  34. I didn’t notice the Shins on the list either; if I remember right, it got BNM when it came out.

  35. Ok, now more than ever I’m hoping Grimes wins the Pitchfork poll for most overrated act…

  36. Needs more Goat.

    • This times a million. That’s one of those albums that, when I’m listening to it, I’m like “this is the greatest thing ever, this is all my ears want to hear.”

  37. This will get tons of downvotes, because it contains a link and most will identify it as the selfish self-promotion this probably is. (but then again, this is Stereogum, what if not self-promotion is this comments section even about?)

    Anyway. On my tumblr, I started posting my 20 most-listened to albums of 2012. Had I decided on my favourite albums, the list would have looked a bit different and a bit more pretentious . Now it’s only what I actually LISTENED to the most, which is probably really the best indicator for these kinds of things anyway…

    So far the list has been:

    20. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
    19. Solange – True EP
    18. Josephine Foster – Blood Rushing
    17. Holly Herndon – Movement
    16. Azealia Banks – 1991 EP
    15. Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
    14. Doe Paoro – Slow to Love
    13. Beach House – Bloom
    12. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
    11. Julia Holter – Ekstasis


  38. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen Julia Holter on like any lists…wtf?

    For that matter, Perfume Genius, Frankie Rose, Wild Nothing, Twin Shadow, Trust, Tanlines, the Shins have all kinda gotten shafted from year end lists

  39. This list just proves overall that Pitchfork just can’t allow themselves to put more than 1 metal album on their year end lists.

    I’m happy for Pallbearer, and their album definitely deserves its recognition, but I really think it was a shame that Converge and Baroness got no recognition whatsoever.

    Pretty decent list overall, but I feel like they were definitely trying to throw one too many curveballs with all the non-BNM choices and left out some great albums in the process (what happened to Mount Eerie?)

  40. Happy to see Angel Olsen and Matthew E White on the Honorable Mentions list. Angel lives in my neighborhood and was at my band’s show last week and told some people she really liked us so yeah I felt pretty cool about that.

    • I just saw that article about her in the Reader, I don’t know much about her and didn’t realize she lived in Chicago. We are all neighbors, I’ll look for you at the next Stereogum meet up.

    • The Olsen album is amazing. I played “Lonely Universe” on my radio show without first having heard it, and it made me stop what I was doing and listen for the duration.

  41. It saddens me that Matthew Dear’s album hasn’t really gotten any recognition. I thought it was fantastic.

  42. fuck Japandroids.

  43. It appears that there’s more consensus agreement about a few r&b/hip-hop albums, where opinions on guitar music are all over the place.

    I wonder if Japandroids and Cloud Nothings cancelled each other out of the top ten

  44. I like their list. I still haven’t listened to the Death Grips album, and I’ve never felt the urge to listen to Beach House. I love seeing Chromatics getting so much recognition with their new album. They’ve been criminally obscure before 2012. I would have liked to have seen Oceania, King Animal, or Psychedelic Pill make the top fifty. I thought all three were pretty solid. Besides that, most of my favorites made the list.

  45. I figured I’d just throw my list out there…

    1. Sweet Heart Sweet Light – Spiritualized
    2. Channel Orange – Frank Ocean
    3. Slaughterhouse – Ty Segall Band
    4. Cancer 4 Cure – El-P
    5. good kid, Maad City – Kendrick Lamar
    6. Attack on Memory – Cloud Nothings
    7. The Money Store – Death Grips
    8. The Seer – Swans
    9. Mature Themes – Ariel Pink
    10. Lonerism – Tame Impala

  46. The fact that Twin Shadow and Wild Nothing were both left off the list entirely makes me question the validity of the whole thing.

  47. Wild Nothing got Nothing? That’s Wild.

  48. Damn. I was hoping this would be the year pitchfork broke past the “one honorary metal album in the 40′s” deal and started treating it like all the other music they cover.

  49. Why do they rate albums if the actual graded number doesn’t play into the order of the year-end list? Don’t get me wrong, I really like what they did with it this year (anytime Chairlift gets a mention I get all warm and fuzzy inside), I just don’t see why they include a rating with their reviews if it doesn’t actually mean anything. That’s kind of being an attention whore when you jst want buzz with whatever the number happens to be.

    Anyway, my list:

    1. Chairlift – Something
    2. Fiona Apple – Idler’s Dream
    3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
    4. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory
    5. Swans – The Seer
    6. Beach House – Bloom
    7. Tame Impala – Lonerism
    8. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
    9. Ty Segall – Slaughterhouse
    10. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

  50. Figured id put my list up:

    1. Tame Impala – Lonerism
    2. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, M.A.A.D City
    3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
    4. Grizzly Bear – Shields
    5. Godspeed you, Black Emporer – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
    6. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
    7. Ty Segal Band – Slaughterhouse
    8. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
    9. Death Grips – The Money Store
    10. John Talabot – Fin


    - Django Django – Django Django
    - Beach House – Bloom
    - Burial – Kindred EP
    - Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
    - Death Grips – No Love Deep Web
    - Alt-j – An Awesome Wave

    I also think that alt-j album doesnt deserve some of the hate its getting, i mean the name it pretentious as fuck. But its a solid album and a very refreshing sound in my opinion.

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