PopMatters Picks:

The Best Music of 2012

By PopMatters Staff

27 December 2012

The Best Hopes to Break Out in 2013

The year ahead looks to be an exciting one with the emergence of wealth of great new music waiting in the wings. Will Jessie Ware and Django Django be the toasts of 2013? Will 2013 be yet another banner year for forward-looking hip-hop and R&B? And let's not forget all the great new bands expected to break big in 2013.

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The Artists Pick the Best of 2012, Part 3

PopMatters is giving the artists a chance to play critic, asking them to let us in on the albums, songs, musical moments, and whatever else struck their fancy in 2012.

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The Artists Pick the Best of 2012, Part 2

PopMatters is giving the artists a chance to play critic, asking them to let us in on the albums, songs, musical moments, and whatever else struck their fancy in 2012.

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The Artists Pick the Best of 2012, Part 1

PopMatters is giving the artists a chance to play critic, asking them to let us in on the albums, songs, musical moments, and whatever else struck their fancy in 2012.

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The Best Bluegrass of 2012

Any genre as historic as bluegrass will experience undulations in style and popularity, but we’re certainly at an unprecedented peak of interest, if not in traditional bluegrass music, at least in bluegrass-oriented sounds.

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The 20 Best Re-Issues of 2012

This year's best reissues were forgotten favorites and unquestioned classics, some packed to the gills with obscure goodies and others with little more than what 'em great to begin with.

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20 Dec 2012 // 10:00 PM

The Best Americana of 2012

Americana meant different things to different people this year, with revitalized legends and young traditionalists offering new visions of American music.

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20 Dec 2012 // 10:00 PM

The Best R&B of 2012

R&B was as vibrant and diverse a genre as any in 2012, a year that saw the rise of breakout acts and the returns of old-school vets.

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The Best Music Books of 2012

This year's best books about music include thought-provoking reads on how music works, in-depth histories of the underground, and soul-searching autobiographies from legendary (and not-so-legendary) performers.

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Caution: Now Entering a Headphone Zone - The Year in Atmospheric Music

However you define atmospheric music, the albums on this list make a powerfully impressionistic impression. Just don’t expect to find warmth or love in them.

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Ragnarök: 2012 Gloomy Awards

Every year a slew of great albums from the louder spheres are missed off end of year lists. Ragnarök's inaugural Gloomy Awards seeks to redress that imbalance.

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18 Dec 2012 // 10:00 PM

The Best World Music of 2012

The end-of-the-year list! We think. We consider. We consider Ethiopians. We consider a lot of the world as well.

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The Top 10 Pleasant Surprise Albums of 2012

The antithesis of the most disappointing albums of the year, these records that had no business impressing us as much as they did.

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The Most Disappointing Albums of 2012

Another year, another round of disappointments. While previous years may have been more obvious in their selections, this year’s list is fairly fortuitous, blending a variety of genres and artists.

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The Best New Artists of 2012

The best new artists of 2012 have remade R&B for the new century, pushed eclectic art-rock in new directions, and kept indie rock and hip-hop strong.

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The Best Pop Singles of 2012

In 2012, people -- not just kids -- loved pop.

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The Best Noise-Rock of 2012

To paraphrase Frank Zappa, rock isn’t dead. It just smells funny.

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The Artists of the Year: 2012 Edition

The 2012 artists of the year range from urgent political punk and hip-hop challenging the establishment -- whether political or economic -- to the rise of a new generation of pop divas and forward-looking indie and R&B.

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The Top 10 Overlooked Albums of 2012

With the long arm of the internet putting any and all music at our fingertips, it should make for a glut of bands getting their due attention. But what really happens is so many great acts get hidden in plain view.

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The Best Jazz of 2012

Jazz today remains the music that stays alive through a remarkable alchemy. On this list, traditions that go back to the jazz roots co-exist with modern pop tunes, and the avant-garde edges of the music blend in fluid ease with tonal beauty.

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Indie Love for Taylor Swift’s Hipster-Baiting ‘Red’

The indie community has long embraced the poppiest of popstars. So it’s hard to figure out why it took until 2012 for it to embrace Taylor Swift.

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11 Dec 2012 // 10:20 PM

The Best Hip-Hop of 2012

From riotous humor to sociopolitical commentary, hip-hop in 2012 gave us quality and variety.

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10 Dec 2012 // 10:20 PM

The Best Electronic Music of 2012

2012 was another year of innovation and diversity in electronic music, but with the same artist as last year at the top of the heap after all was said and done.

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The 75 Best Albums of 2012

From forward looking hip-hop and R&B to deep explorations of traditional roots music... from psychedelic pop masterpieces to ruminations on the economy, family, aging and disfunction... from genre-busting electronic music and jazz to rockin' indie... 2012 was a great year for new music.

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PopMatters Picks: The Best Songs of 2012 (streaming playlists)

We present handy Rdio and Spotify playlists of most of the tunes from our top 75 songs of the year for your listening pleasure.

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7 Dec 2012 // 3:00 AM

The Best Country Music of 2012

In 2012, you could be forgiven for being dismissive of the country music genre entirely -- to a point. For as long as country exists as a genre, there will be songwriters who are devoted to embodying their own vision of what “country” means, which sometimes means pushing the genre around.

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6 Dec 2012 // 10:14 PM

The Best Metal of 2012

There's no doubt 2012 has been another great year for metal, with releases from veteran road dogs and fresh young bands alike providing endless roaring highs and churning, filth-ridden lows.

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The Best Indie-Pop of 2012

Writing about the best indie-pop seems inherently an individualized, personal experience -- but that is fitting for a type of music that on one level seems more person-oriented than mass-movement-oriented.

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The Best Pop-Punk of 2012

If last year was a reminder that “pop-punk’s not dead”, then 2012 was a celebration of the vitality and diversity of the genre.

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4 Dec 2012 // 10:20 PM

The Best Progressive Rock (and Metal) of 2012

The albums you see below are a testament to the chameleonic nature of prog: Coldplay-esque stadium ballads, sludge metal, sample-heavy concept records, and classic-style prog all stand side by side.

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The Best Canadian Albums of 2012

From extraordinary singer-songwriters to blistering punk, experimental electronica to shimmery pop, this list demonstrates something of the breadth of talent, and the range of possibilities being explored in Canadian music today.

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The Best Indie Rock of 2012

Here's a confession: It was hard to define what the term "indie rock" meant in 2012. But this list takes a shot by reemphasizing the "independent" in "indie rock".

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The 75 Best Songs of 2012

From the triumphant dream pop of Grimes and the boundary-pushing R&B of Frank Ocean to the tough, frantic British hip-hop of Plan B and the chart-topping country pop of Taylor Swift, PopMatters counts down 2012's 75 best songs.

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Introduction: The Year in Music, 2012

As our wide-ranging coverage of the year in music shows and the music itself proves, what the best and most compelling musical expressions of 2012 have in common is that they are the products of hard work and labors of love.

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//Mixed media
//Blogs

Counterbalance: The Avalanches' 'Since I Left You'

// Sound Affects

"Get a drink, have a good time now. Welcome to paradise, and read all about the 305th most acclaimed album of all time. An Australian plunderphonics pioneer is this week’s Counterbalance.

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