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.

17

John Mayer, 'Born and Raised'

"I don't want a world of broken things," Mayer sings on his fifth album. Steeped in California country rock and Seventies sensitivity, Born and Raised has its share of soft, soothing attempts to make us all whole again ("Love Is a Verb"). But the dude with the Benetton soul and the David Duke dick made more news by addressing his own spotty past and busted-up sense of self: "It sucks to be honest and it hurts to be real," he sings over tender, Claptonian guitar on "Shadow Days." It's a shot at redemption that's as on target as anything he's done.

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