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.

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Bonnie Raitt, 'Slipstream'

22. Bonnie Raitt, 'Slipstream'

As young stars like Adele and Katy Perry cover her songs, Raitt continues what she’s been doing, more or less, for 40-plus years: Pick a bunch of smart, tender tunes by great writers (Slipstream includes a pair by Bob Dylan), add one or two of her own, and sing them in a soulful ache, dotted by her casual slideguitar punctuations. Adele praised Raitt’s “stunning voice,” and if you want to hear proof, pay attention to the ballads “You Can’t Fail Me Now” and “Not ’Cause I Wanted To,” where heartache falls as softly as snow.

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