Best of 2012 music lists start to arrive

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes

With the arrival of December comes the onslaught of end-of-year lists. Whether it’s albums, songs, movies, TV shows, stories, athletes, moments or sports plays, people love to rank things. I can’t claim to be above it — I’ll be dishing out my favorite albums and songs (and maybe other things) before the turn of the calendar.

Kicking off the list-making season (at least as far as my radar is concerned) was Paste, delivering both their 50 best albums and 50 best songs lists last week. Is their 42nd album really better than their 28th? Who knows. The whole thing is really just kind of a goofy way of sharing things that were really good this year anyway, so don’t get too tied up in the rankings.

Today, NPR Music delivered their (more appropriately titled) 50 favorite albums of 2012. Unlike most lists, theirs doesn’t seem to have been numbered, so it’s more of a pile of records that they dug in the last 12 months. It’s an honorable approach for sure.

Naturally, Paste and NPR have a lot of overlap. Alabama Shakes, Dirty Projectors, Fiona Apple and Frank Ocean, to name a few, will probably be featured on the majority of year-end lists. (And for those not looking to click and read, Ocean’s “Channel Orange” was Paste’s No. 1.)

Again, the best use for these things is to check out the music you haven’t heard. It’s a great starting point for exploration and discovery. Happy perusing!

Here’s the Paste list. And here’s the NPR Music list.

–Shane Nyman, or on Twitter @shanenyman

About Shane Nyman

Shane Nyman is a copy editor and writes on pop culture and entertainment for Post-Crescent Media in Appleton, Wis.
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