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

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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