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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Todd Snider, 'Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables'

47. Todd Snider, 'Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables'

If the title doesn't win you over, the lead track ("In the Beginning") will: a creation myth that fingers religion as a brilliant dodge "to keep the poor from killing the rich." One of the sharpest, funniest storytellers in rock, Snider keeps the indictments coming – see "New York Banker," where an Arkansas schoolteacher is robbed of his pension – and never skimps on musicality, or humor. As he declares in the timely "Big Finish," a sweetly ragged gospel-blues rocker, "It ain't the despair that gets you, it's the hope."

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