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.

4

Bob Dylan, 'Tempest'

Dylan's 35th album is typical of his astonishing late-career rejuvenation: teeming with wit and history, marinated in a couple centuries of folk and pop music, from Celtic waltzes to doo-wop balladry. Tempest is soaked in something else, too: blood. The body count is astronomical, from the epic title track's retelling of the Titanic disaster to the dulcet "Soon After Midnight," where Dylan sings of a rival lover: "I'll drag his corpse through the mud." Fifty years after his debut, he's still rock's greatest bard – and its most fearsome badass.

 

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