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.

25

Donald Fagen, 'Sunken Condos'

With Steely Dan, and on his solo albums, Fagen makes beautiful music about loathsome men. "Slinky Thing," "The New Breed" and "Miss Marlene" add to his succession of songs, going back to "Hey Nineteen," that explore the plight of baby boomers dating barely legal girls. The music is deceitfully lush, a snazzy cascade of rock, R&B and swing, with production as costly as a Santa Monica beach house. Fagen embodies these doomed schlubs with his slouchy, sideways singing, the essence of New York wisenheimer attitude.

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