The Dean’s List 2012

Every year at this time, Robert Christgau looks back on the past twelve months in pop music to compile the Dean’s List, his own authoritative and personal ranking of the best listening of the prior year.  Don’t miss his companion essay to this year’s list,  “May the Consensus Have Consequences.”

1. Neil Young With Crazy Horse: Americana (Reprise)
2. Dabke: Sounds of the Syrian Houran (Sham Palace)
3. Loudon Wainwright III: Older Than My Old Man Now (2nd Story Sound)
4. Pink: The Truth About Love (RCA)
5. Todd Snider: Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables (Aimless/Thirty Tigers)
6. Skrillex: Bangarang (Owsla/Big Beat/Atlantic)
7. Himanshu: Nehru Jackets (free Greedhead download)
8. The Mountain Goats: Transcendental Youth (Merge)
9. The Rough Guide to Highlife (World Music Network)
10. Bruce Springsteen: Wrecking Ball (Columbia)
11. Azealia Banks: 1991 (Interscope)
12. Listen . . . Oka! (Oka Productions)
13. Lee Ranaldo: Between the Times and the Tides (Matador)
14. The xx: Coexist (Young Turks)
15. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (Epic)
16. Orchestra Baobab: La Belle Époque: Volume 2 1973-1976 (Syllart)
17. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city (Top
18. Karantamba: Ndigal (Teranga Beat)
19. The Human Hearts: Another (Shrimper)
20. Homeboy Sandman: First of a Living Breed (Stones Throw)
21. Spoek Mathambo: Father Creeper (Sub Pop)
22. Greenberger Greenberg Cebar: Tell Me That Before (Pel Pel)
23. Taylor Swift: Red (Big Machine)
24. Saigon: The Greatest Story Never Told: Chapter Two: Bread and Circuses (Suburban Noize)
25. Serengeti: C.A.R. (Anticon)
26. Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream (RCA)
27. Homeboy Sandman: The Good Sun (High Water Music ’10)
28. Omar Souleyman: Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts (Sublime Frequencies ’11)
29. Plug: Back on Time (Ninja Tune)
30. Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby: A Working Museum (Southern Domestic)
31. Heems: Wild Water Kingdom (free Greedhead download)
32. Elle Varner: Perfectly Imperfect (RCA)
33. Standard Fare: Out of Sight, Out of Town (Melodic ’11)
34. The dB’s: Falling Off the Sky (Bar/None)
35. A Place to Bury Strangers: Worship (Dead Oceans)
36. Death Grips: No Love Deep Web (free Third Worlds download)
37. The Rough Guide to the Music of Ethiopia (World Music Network)
38. Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas (Columbia)
39. Japandroids: Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
40. Frank Ocean: Channel Orange (Def Jam)
41. Beach House: Bloom (Sub Pop)
42. Etta James: The Dreamer (Verve Forecast ’11)
43. Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos (Reprise)
44. Best Coast: The Only Place (Mexican Summer)
45. Death Grips: The Money Store (Epic)
46. Ab-Soul: Control System (Top Dawg download)
47. Iris DeMent: Sing the Delta (Redeye)
48. Songs for Desert Refugees (Glitterhouse)
49. Saint Etienne: Words and Music by Saint Etienne (Heavenly/Universal)
50. Tommy Womack: Now What! (Cedar Creek)
51. Public Enemy: Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp (Enemy)
52. Big Baby Gandhi: No1 2 Look Up 2 (free Greedhead download)
53. Pet Shop Boys: Elysium (Astralwerks)
54. Staff Benda Bilili: Bouger Le Monde (Crammed Discs)
55. Corin Tucker Band: Kill My Blues (Kill Rock Stars)
56. Carolyn Mark: The Queen of Vancouver Island (Mint)
57. s / s / s: Beak & Claw (Anticon)
58. Thomas Anderson: The Moon in Transit (Four-Track Demos, 1996-2009) (Out There)
59. Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory (Carpark)
60. Jamey Johnson: Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran (Mercury)
61. The Rough Guide to the Music of Morocco (World Music Network)
62. Ani DiFranco: ¿Which Side Are You On? (Righteous Babe)
63. P.S. Eliot: Sadie (Salinas ’11)
64. The Coup: Sorry to Bother You (Anti-)
65. Sleigh Bells: Reign of Terror (Mom + Pop)
66. Balkan Beat Box (B-B-B): Give (Nat Geo Music)
67. Lukid: Lonely at the Top (Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune)
68. Big K.R.I.T.: 4Eva N a Day (free download)
69. Low Cut Connie: Call Me Sylvia (
70. Kid Koala: 12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune)
71. Pete Seeger: The Complete Bowdoin College Concert 1960 (Smithsonian Folkways)
72. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist (self-released)
73. Moreno and L’Orch First Moja-One: Sister Pili + 2 (Sterns Africa)
74. Burial: Street Halo/Kindred (Hyperdub/Beat)
75. Bhi Bhiman: Bhiman (Tummy Touch)
76. Homeboy Sandman: Subject: Matter (Stones Throw download)
77. Francis Bebey: African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (Born Bad)
78. Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: Deluxe Edition (Cash Money/Universal Republic)
79. Madonna: MDNA (Interscope)
80. Allo Darlin’: Europe (Slumberland)
81. The Magnetic Fields: Love at the Bottom of the Sea (Merge)
82. Two Fingers: Stunt Rhythms (Big Dada)
83. The Rolling Stones: Some Girls: Deluxe Edition (Universal Republic ’11)
84. Dylan Hicks: Sings Bolling Greene (Two Deuces)
85. Serengeti: Kenny Dennis EP (Anticon)
86. Dobie: Nothing to Fear (Big Dada)
87. A Place to Bury Strangers: Onwards to the Wall (Dead Oceans)
88. Clams Casino: Instrumental Mixtape (free download ’11)
89. Divine Fits: A Thing Called Divine Fits (Merge)
90. Jack White: Blunderbuss (Third Man/Columbia)
91. Dobie: . . . But Fear Itself (Big Dada)
92. Ned Sublette: Kiss You Down South (Postmambo)
93. Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang: En Yay Sah (Luaka Bop)
94. Royal Band de Thiés: Kadior Demb (Teranga Beat)
95. Amadou & Mariam: Folila (Nonesuch)
96. Andre Williams & the Sadies: Night and Day (Yep Roc)
97. Khaira Arby: Tchini Tchini (Clermont Music)
98. Joan Soriano: La Familia Soriano (iASO)
99. Big Baby Gandhi: Big Fucking Baby (free Greedhead download ’11)
100. Linkoban: Super Into On It (Super Billion)
101. The Original Sound of Cumbia (Soundway ’11)
102. Tha Grimm Teachaz: There’s a Situation on the Homefront (Breakfast ’11)

1. Bruce Springsteen: “We Take Care of Our Own” (Columbia)
2. Psy: “Gangnam Style” (YouTube)
3. Neil Young & Crazy Horse: “Oh Susannah” (Reprise)
4. Himanshu: “Womyn” (free Greedhead download)
5. Pink: “The Truth About Love” (RCA)
6. Skrillex: “Bangarang” (Owsla/Big Beat/Atlantic)
7. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: “Same Love” (self-released)
8. Miguel: “Adorn” (RCA)
9. Willie Nelson: “Roll Me Up” (Legacy)
10. Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby: “Do You Remember That?” (Southern Domestic)
11. Etta James: “Cigarettes and Coffee” (Verve Forecast)
12. Kacey Musgraves: “Merry Go ‘Round” (Mercury)
13. Azealia Banks: “1991” (Interscope)
14. Elle Varner: “Refill” (RCA)
15. Saint Etienne: “Tonight” (Heavenly/Universal)
16. Pussy Riot: “Putin Lights Up the Fires” (YouTube)
17. Homeboy Sandman: “Not Really” (Stones Throw)
18. Himanshu: “NYC Cops” (Greedhead)
19. The Human Hearts: “Not Just When We Kiss” (Shrimper)
20. Ned Sublette: “Kiss You Down South” (Postmambo)

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