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.

46

Muse, 'The 2nd Law'

In an era of diminished expectations, Muse make stadium-crushing songs that mix the legacies of Queen, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead while making almost every other current band seem tiny. The proudly pretentious British trio add bits of Skrillex-style dubstep to their sixth album, on which Matthew Bellamy howls about a modern-day dystopia of unsustainable societal growth and difficult girlfriends. And on "Madness" and the London Olympics theme, "Survival," Muse even manage to compact the epic into a tight pop form.

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