Best Music Of 2012: The Complete List

NPR | Dec. 5, 2012 6:15 a.m.

Use the list below to browse all of NPR’s Best Music Of 2012 recommendations. Each critic’s list is presented separately. Click on the article names to read our comments about the music. Be old-school: print it out and take it with you to a local music store. Be new-school: use it to make a playlist with your favorite streaming service. Happy listening!

Find NPR Music’s list of the 100 Favorite Songs Of 2012 here.

Find individual top-ten lists from public radio stations here.

NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums recommended by NPR Music Staff



  • Ab-Soul, Control System



  • Alabama Shakes, Boys And Girls



  • Alisa Weilerstein, Cello Concertos (Elgar & Carter)



  • Alt-J, An Awesome Wave



  • Andy Stott, Luxury Problems



  • Astro, Astro



  • Berlin Philharmonic, St. Matthew Passion



  • Meek Mill, Dreamchasers 2



  • Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man In The Universe



  • Bomba Estereo, Elegancia Tropical



  • Brooklyn Rider, Seven Steps



  • Cafe Tacvba, El Objeto Antes Llmado Disco



  • Carla Morrison, Dejenme Llorar



  • Cat Power, Sun



  • Cody ChesnuTT, Landing On A Hundred



  • Dan Deacon, America



  • Death Grips, No Love Deep Web



  • Debo Band, Debo Band



  • Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan



  • Dwight Yoakam, 3 Pears



  • Exitmusic, Passage



  • Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel



  • Flying Lotus, Until The Quiet Comes



  • Frank Ocean, channel Orange



  • fun., Some Nights



  • Homeboy Sandman, First Of A Living Breed



  • Iris DeMent, Sing The Delta



  • Janka Nabay, En Yay Sah



  • Japandroids, Celebration Rock



  • Karriem Riggins, Alone Together



  • Kendrick Lamar, good kid, M.A.A.D. city



  • Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music



  • Leila Josefowicz, Violin Concerto (Salonen)



  • Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas



  • Matt Ulery, By A Little Light



  • Miguel, Kaleidoscope Dream



  • Neneh Cherry and The Thing, The Cherry Thing



  • Now, Now, Threads



  • Pallbearer, Sorrow And Extinction



  • Patrick Watson, Adventures In Your Own Backyard



  • Pink, The Truth About Love



  • Regina Spektor, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats



  • San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas, Harmonielehre/Short Ride in a Fast Machine (Adams)



  • Sharon Van Etten, Tramp



  • Swans, The Seer



  • The 2 Bears, Be Strong



  • The Very Best, MTMTMK



  • Ty Segall, Twins



  • Vijay Iyer Trio, Accelerando



  • Wadada Leo Smith, Ten Freedom Summers


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