Discussion: The Year In Music, 2012

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1 hr 13 min 23 sec
 
Clockwise from upper left: Cat Power, Frank Ocean, Kishi Bashi, Best Coast and Miguel — just a few of our favorite artists of 2012.

hide captionClockwise from upper left: Cat Power, Frank Ocean, Kishi Bashi, Best Coast and Miguel — just a few of our favorite artists of 2012.

Courtesy of the artists

This has been a phenomenal year for music. Veterans Neil Young and Crazy Horse released not one but two ambitious and ingenious albums. New artists such as Kishi Bashi and Alt-J appeared with exciting and unusual records. Plenty of other surprises popped up along the way: Cat Power returned from a six-year hiatus with the best album she's ever made. Ty Segall, already a prolific artist, released three stellar garage-rock records in 2012 (three!), while the first-ever studio album from Macklemore, a rapper with little name recognition outside his native Seattle, made his debut at No. 1 on iTunes and No. 2 on Billboard. Meanwhile, R&B artists Miguel and Frank Ocean both released records that were unconventional but wildly popular.

That's just some of the wonderful, unpredictable and endlessly fascinating music of 2012.

On this edition of All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton chat with NPR Music critic Ann Powers and editor Stephen Thompson about the music that mattered most to them in 2012, including their:

Favorite Discoveries:

Kishi Bashi
The Do
Lianne La Havas
Kacey Musgraves

Biggest Surprises:

Neil Young
The Sea And Cake
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Cloud Nothings

Favorite Albums:

Cat Power's Sun
Alt-J's An Awesome Wave
Frank Ocean's Channel Orange
Japandroids' Celebration Rock

Favorite Songs:

Dirty Projectors: "Offspring Are Blank"
Best Coast: "The Only Place"
Miguel: "Adorn"
Ty Segall: "Thank God For Sinners"

Tell us what you think. Vote now for your favorite albums of 2012.

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for 151A

Kishi Bashi

  • Album: 151A
  • Song: Bright Whites
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Bright Whites"
  • Album: 151A
  • Artist: Kishi Bashi
  • Label: Joyful Noise
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Is Your Love Big Enough?

Lianne La Havas

  • Album: Is Your Love Big Enough?
  • Song: Lost & Found
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Lost & Found"
  • Album: Is Your Love Big Enough?
  • Artist: Lianne La Havas
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Both Ways Open Jaws Extended

The Dø

  • Album: Both Ways Open Jaws Extended
  • Song: The Wicked & the Blind
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "The Wicked & the Blind"
  • Album: Both Ways Open Jaws Extended
  • Artist: The Dø
  • Label: Six Degrees
  • Released: 2011
 
Cover for Merry Go 'Round

Kacey Musgraves

  • Album: Merry Go 'Round
  • Song: "Merry Go 'Round"
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Purchase Featured Music

  • ""Merry Go 'Round""
  • Album: Merry Go 'Round
  • Artist: Kacey Musgraves
  • Label: Mercury Nashville
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Psychedelic Pill

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

  • Album: Psychedelic Pill
  • Song: Walk Like a Giant
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Walk Like a Giant"
  • Album: Psychedelic Pill
  • Artist: Neil Young And Crazy Horse
  • Released: 2012
YouTube
 
Cover for The Heist

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

  • Album:
  • Song: Thrift Shop
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Thrift Shop"
  • Album: The Heist
  • Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Label: ADA
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Attack on Memory

Cloud Nothings

  • Album: Attack on Memory
  • Song: Stay Useless
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Stay Useless"
  • Album: Attack On Memory
  • Artist: Cloud Nothings
  • Label: Carpark Records
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Runner

The Sea and Cake

  • Album: Runner
  • Song: On And On
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "On And On"
  • Album: Runner
  • Artist: The Sea and Cake
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for An Awesome Wave

Alt-J

  • Album:
  • Song: Tessellate
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Tessellate"
  • Album: An Awesome Wave
  • Artist: Alt-J
  • Label: Infectious
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Sun

Cat Power

  • Album: Sun
  • Song: Sun
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Sun"
  • Album: Sun
  • Artist: Cat Power
  • Label: Matador
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Channel Orange

Frank Ocean

  • Album: Channel Orange
  • Song: Lost
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Lost"
  • Album: Channel Orange
  • Artist: Frank Ocean
  • Label: Def Jam
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Celebration Rock

Japandroids

  • Album: Celebration Rock
  • Song: The House That Heaven Built
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "The House That Heaven Built"
  • Album: Celebration Rock
  • Artist: Japandroids
  • Label: Polyvinyl
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Swing Lo Magellan

Dirty Projectors

  • Album: Swing Lo Magellan
  • Song: Offspring Are Blank
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Offspring Are Blank"
  • Album: Swing Lo Magellan
  • Artist: Dirty Projectors
  • Label: Domino
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for The Only Place

Best Coast

  • Album: The Only Place
  • Song: The Only Place
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "The Only Place"
  • Album: The Only Place
  • Artist: Best Coast
  • Label: Mexican Summer
  • Released: 2012
 
cover

Miguel

  • Album: Kaleidoscope Dream
  • Song: Adorn
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Adorn"
  • Album: Kaleidoscope Dream
  • Artist: Miguel
  • Label: RCA
  • Released: 2012
 
Cover for Twins

Ty Segall

  • Album: Twins
  • Song: Thank God For Sinners
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Purchase Featured Music

  • "Thank God For Sinners"
  • Album: Twins
  • Artist: Ty Segall
  • Released: 2012
 

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