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.

10

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, 'Psychedelic Pill'

Appearing alongside his memoir and the history-lesson covers set Americana, this is as inspiringly strange as anything he's done. It opens with the 27-minute "Driftin' Back," a free-associating timeline that morphs from coffeehouse folk to charred Crazy Horse jam. Feedback and flashbacks, sentimental and not, flow between inspired moments of old-coot humor ("Gonna get me a hip-hop haircut!"), all peaking with the 16-minute "Walk Like a Giant," a doo-wop noise-metal Sixties lament that goes out stomping. Like a giant, indeed.

 

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