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.

24

G.O.O.D. Music, 'Cruel Summer'

The dozen taut, tough songs on this hit compilation from the G.O.O.D. Music collective offer an unprecedented pleasure: a chilled-out Kanye West, making music just for fun. There's a backyard-barbecue vibe here, with West and friends like 2 Chainz, Ghostface Killah and Jay-Z trading boasts over sprightly beats. As usual, it's Kanye's show; he rhymes about Kim Kardashian and George Tenet, and even delves into biblical scholarship: "Did Moses not part the water with the cane?/Did strippers not make an ark when I made it rain?"

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