Top 33 1/3 Albums of 2012

Posted December 31, 2012 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

From Taylor Swift’s “big red” of a pop album to Frank Ocean’s “orangey” flavored R&B, we crank out the best albums of 2012

By now you already know the talk of the town, especially across the social networking landscape, that the world of critics have unanimously chosen Frank Ocean as this year’s musical superhero. He deserves that kind of attention. As a breakthrough artist, Ocean crashed through the tight barriers of popdom, reinventing R&B in a time when R&B felt like a stalemate. Relatively speaking, Orange’s debut album, channel ORANGE, glories in its practice of trompe l’oeil by mixing the soul music of Prince and Stevie Wonder with Kanye West’s breakthrough alt sound. It baffled rock critics, while hardly getting any respect from urban radio. Call it an oddity, if you like. That’s probably what makes the album all the more enthralling.

Unfortunately, our staff didn’t crown the eclectic singer-songwriter the top honor. It was close, but Ocean didn’t nab the top trophy. So who exactly came in first? Taylor Swift? Kendrick Lamar? Bob Dylan? Mumford & Sons? Bruce Springsteen? Learn who took first place and the remaining 33 albums that made our list of the top albums of 2012 by clicking here. Our 2012 list can be found in our Extra! Extra! section. We also pimped our 2012 online feature with cool Spotify miniplayers, so now you can hear the music for yourself. Links to the artist’s official websites, Facebook pages and purchase stations like and iTunes have also been inserted into the mix.

This year’s contributing writers include Ryan Burruss, Brent Faulkner, J Matthew Cobb and Thomas Little.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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