Idolator’s 12 Best Albums Of 2012 … So Far

May 31st, 2012 // 39 Comments
Idolator's Best 12 Albums Of 2012 So Far
Best Albums 2012
See our staff picks for the best LPs of the full year. Read More »

It might feel a little premature to publish a list of the best albums of 2012… before summer. But why wait when the first crop of the year’s pop albums alone have made 2012 a year for the record books? We’ve already seen the first #1 Billboard chart-topper by an openly gay artist and “one of the worst outings in SNL history”. Besides, the music itself has been, in its best moments, transcendent — especially when you consider the dearth of pop divas currently on the charts. Aside from a few high-profile and, frankly, disappointing releases (more on that later), the first half of 2012 was dominated by upstarts, indie darlings and out-of-left-fielders, and that’s precisely who you’ll find on our list.

Our #1 pick was the unanimous favorite among our editors here. Gossip, the post-punk threesome that’ve been bubbling just below the surface for more than a decade, may have finally found their mainstream crossover sound, a soulful melange of polished electronic dance tracks and funk-infused feel-good lyrics. New dad Rufus Wainwright ran with the happy thing, too, while Norah Jones quietly turned out the best soundtrack to a breakup since whatshername? — oh yeah, Adele.

Estelle evoked the golden age of Lauryn Hill, and though few else did, we noticed. Santigold, Garbage, Adam Lambert and Scissor Sisters staged epic returns to form, reminding us why we fell in love in the first place. And then we were head over heels all over again when Rye Rye commanded us to bounce, Niki & The Dove enthralled us with cold precision, and Kimbra drew us in with fearless experimentalism. Not that we were putting up a fight.

And finally we’re back to poor Lana Del Rey, much maligned for those lips and that look and the catastrophe that was SNL. But the record sounded rich and it made no airs about being more than what it was, and what is was we connected with: sad little songs about love and longing that just happened to sound like they’d fallen off a Kanye West production.

Anyway, see how we ranked the albums below.

Idolator’s Best Albums Of 2012… So Far

12. Adam Lambert, Trespassing

11. Santigold, Master of My Make-Believe

10. Rufus Wainwright, Out Of The Game

9. Scissor Sisters, Magic Hour

8. Norah Jones, Little Broken Hearts

7. Estelle, All Of Me

6. Rye Rye, Go! Pop! Bang!

5. Garbage, Not Your Kind Of People

4. Niki & The Dove, Instinct

3. Kimbra, Vows

2. Lana Del Rey, Born To Die

1. Gossip, A Joyful Noise

How did our picks match up with yours? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments.


  1. Sue

    Adam should be #1, no doubt!!

  2. americandream


  3. Garrett

    wouldve liked to see some Haley Reinhart luvin on this chart

  4. JOSE

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  5. JOSE

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  6. Haley's future husband

    Haley Reinhart listen up > >>

  7. I think the list is great.

  8. I don’t think some of those should be listed, but the new Gossip and Santigold albums are EPIC.

  9. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  10. alltogethernow

    Kris Allen’s and Haley Reinhart’s albums should be on this list, in my opinion.

  11. wwwers


  12. alberto

    mmmmhm Electra heart by Marina & the Diamonds should be there!!!!!

  13. Gossip in 1#? I think they deserved a 5 #,at most. Garbage should be in 2# and Santigold in 1#. Lana album is pretty good though, a 3# would be good enough. Anyway, good list.

  14. John

    the only way any of this music sounds good is if you play all of the videos at once. listen to music with your ears not with your eyes and what ppl tell you is “cool”

  15. Ray Rock

    No love for Melanie Fiona? Her album is pretty spectacular… Definitely better than Estelle’s in my opinion.

  16. pond

    lana’s on my list. add saint etienne’s “words and music by saint etienne.”

  17. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  18. i think Kris Allen thank you camiella is the best pop album , it is so underrated , the indie is album is the maccabees given to the wild ,you should all give it a listen

  19. Nonya

    Jack White – Blunderbuss is the best album so far this year. List is a joke.

  20. Missing Haley Reinhart – 3 weeks on the charts!

    Adam Lambert has NOT charted!

  21. Worst... List.... Ever

    Seriously. Who writes this dribble? Jack White album easily.

  22. Paul

    Kris Allen should be somewhere on this list – “Thank You Camellia” is actually a very good album. And I agree with the others, Marina should be there too. But happy to see Garbage and Gossip on this list. Not sure Adam Lambert should be there though!

  23. addi

    where is MDNA? and Marina and Adam’s album should be higher! horrible list!

  24. Redcloak

    So far, the best album of 2012 is Every Time I Die, Ex Lives. As my concern, it’s the best album from this band and it have a lot of great songs. My favorites songs are Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space ; I Suck (Blood) ; Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow ; Drag King ; The Low Road Has No Exits ; Holy Book of Dilemma. Take a look on YouTube, gang!

  25. JLM

    Love, Love, Love Adam Lambert’s new album!!


    No Alabama Shakes?! Ridiculous.

  27. Nick

    My favourite 2012 album so far is MDNA – Madonna.

  28. No Doubt Me

    No Doubt’s Push and Shove album to be added later this year? ;)

  29. Jason

    Trespassing should be #1.

  30. No Carrie Underwood? Smh

  31. Jake

    Glen Hansard’s “Rhythm & Repose” should be in the top 5 AT LEAST.

  32. jasmine

    The fact that ed sheeran and jason mraz aren’t on this list is a travesty. Who ever came up with this needs to broaden their horizens.

  33. Frefe

    Madonna MDNA

  34. Shazza

    Slash – Apocalyptic Love is awesome

  35. Jim

    Alabama Shakes and Jack White both missing? This list is entirely bunk without them.

  36. GJsagdhj


  37. peterike

    Every one of these songs totally sucks.

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