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The stars of 2012, online and on air (from left): Nate Ruess of fun., Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen and Psy.

Read The Year In Pop Charts: Return Of The Monoculture

December 25, 2012 – Two things make for great years in pop: variety and shared pleasure. 2012 had both.

2 Chainz performing in London in November.

Watch 2 Chainz: A Pop Star For All Of Us

December 25, 2012 – He laces his bouncy, terse rhymes with a charisma reminiscent of another musician — Ringo Starr.

Killer Mike performing at Moogfest in October.

Watch The Best Rap Of 2012: A Conversation

December 25, 2012 – Microphone Check hosts Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley remember the year in hip-hop.

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.

Read No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

December 25, 2012 – Few people remember E.T.A. Hoffmann, but many are aware of his famous creation: The Nutcracker.

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The Chipmunks, left to right: Simon, Theodore, Alvin.

Watch Another Year, Another 'Christmas With The Chipmunks'

December 24, 2012 – Some of the most frequently reissued holiday music of all time comes from three animated rodents.

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A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.

Read Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

December 25, 2012 – The flow of classical Christmas albums has slowed, triggering a longing for past recordings.

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Bundle up like Ghostface (right) and Styles P and you'll be fine. Their group Wu Block played New York City on Wednesday.

Read The Week In Music: What To Stay In From The Cold And Read Now

December 23, 2012 – A video, a year-end essay and one piece of local reporting that say more than their headlines imply.

Ernie K-Doe and his fans at the Warehouse in New Orleans in 1974.

Read The Rise, Fall And Redemption Of New Orleans' 'R&B Emperor'

December 23, 2012 – Ernie K-Doe pierced the national consciousness in 1961 with the song "Mother-in-Law."

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Seeing Purple Rain as kids instilled a lifelong love for Prince in friends Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Liberum, who co-lead the cover band Princess.

Read This Is What It Sounds Like When Two Women Cover Prince

December 22, 2012 – SNL alumna Maya Rudolph and musician Gretchen Liberum co-lead the cover band Princess.

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NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums of 2012.

Listen NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2012

December 22, 2012 – The albums that sum up our year span genres and borders while making life better all around.

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M.I.A. rocks out in 2012.

Read NPR Music's 100 Favorite Songs Of 2012

December 22, 2012 – This is what 2012 sounded like: the songs that made us laugh and the ones that cried with us.

The Best Music Books of 2012.

Read Staff Picks: Our Favorite Music Books Of 2012

December 22, 2012 – On subjects familiar and obscure, our favorite music books brought songs to new life.

Dancer Fogo de Deus, who is part of the Os Kuduristas project of traveling kuduro artists.

Watch 'Kuduro,' The Dance That Keeps Angola Going

December 22, 2012 – Exuberant, fast-paced electronic dance music from southwest Africa is traveling around the world.

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Marin Alsop conducted the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in a beachfront concert Sunday for 20,000 people in Santos, Brazil.

Read Marin Alsop: A Utopian Musical Dream From South America

December 22, 2012 – The conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony is inspired by Brazil's commitment to classical music.

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Ne-Yo's newest album is called R.E.D.

Watch Ne-Yo On A Career Made Stronger By Missteps

December 23, 2012 – The singer says his transition from songwriter to performer was clumsy, but instructive.

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