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.

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Amadou and Mariam, 'Folila'

49. Amadou and Mariam, 'Folila'

In a sort of reverse Graceland, these African stars jump-started their pop fusions in the exotic environs of Brooklyn, where Malian guitar hero Amadou Bagayoko and his clarion-voiced wife, Mariam Doumbia, connected with local royalty like Santigold, Nick Zinner and the TV on the Radio clan. The ideas swirl and sparkle, but the trademark blend of West African vocals, groove and electric guitar is the musical sun around which all else revolves. Check Bagayoko and Zinner on "Dougou Badia," which may permanently reshape your notion of a guitar jam.


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