50 Best Albums of 2012

Frank Ocean reimagined R&B; Dylan drenched us in blood; pop-punk vets, disco orchestras and Scottish oddballs made an election year bearable.

Best Coast, 'The Only Place'
14/50

14. Best Coast, 'The Only Place'

Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino is still besotted with the glorious sulk of Sixties girl-group pop and the awesomeness of California living ("Why would you live anywhere else?" she wonders on the surf-rock title track). But with L.A. producer/pop historian Jon Brion on board, the tales of boredom, touchy friendships and shaky relationships on her second record open up and brighten up – half of them even break the three-minute mark. And with less reverb-y guitar haze to hide behind, her voice comes into its own as one of indie rock's mightiest.

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