In 2012, R&B crooned underwater, metal went not-metal, and hip-hop fell into a K-hole, and these were just a few of the ways to make a big bang this year. Here’s SPIN’s favorite 50 albums — from the biggest-selling pop sensation (and pizza ad) of the year to anonymous Afro-psych from the wintry expanses of rural Sweden; from ground-breaking hip-hop IMAX cinema to garage-punk gnashing still being recorded by Steve Albini. Most critics’ taste levels ain’t at our waist level. Ain’t nobody fucking with our clique.
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