Our best lists, essays, mashups, and playlists of the year. Plus, a tribute to the incredibly sexy lyrics of Nickelback.
The best hip-hop that was given away for free, from Rick Ross to Azealia Banks.
His album Pluto 3D blurs the line between club bangers and heart-crushing, hyperemotional confessionals.
LDR says some pretty dramatic things. But it's okay, Lana. We're here for you. These are all quotes from Lana Del Rey's interviews or monologues.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! was the only record that made sense to me when it felt like my world was falling apart.
Madonna had a great year.
"Stupid Hoe" and "Come on a Cone" make fury seem aspirational — and inspirational.
Michael Angelakos' music may be defined by his mental health issues, but he's making the best of it by helping out troubled fans on Twitter.
From Frank Ocean to Jay-Z, the genre made major leaps forward with the LGBT community in 2012.
Just imagine a world in which Carly Rae Jepsen's song wasn't a huge hit. OK, now imagine if it were a folk song about Jesus.
There is nothing on Earth that can't be turned into a "Gangnam Style" parody. "Best" might not be the right word for this, but just roll with it.
She's still a fighter all these years later.
Channel Orange is the best R&B album of 2012, but Ocean's most impressive accomplishment is keeping total control of his image.
Frank Ocean! Jack White! Skrillex! Britney on X Factor! Lana Del Rey! AND SO MUCH MORE!
The Idler Wheel... is startlingly honest, artistically bold, and undeniably the best album of 2012. It's also one of the most gratifying success stories in music.
The breakout hit "Gangnam Style" drew a lot of attention to K-Pop this year, but it wasn't the only awesome song to come out of South Korea. Here are 11 hits you may have missed, and one you probably didn't.
Reign of Terror is relentlessly morbid but totally life-affirming. It also has a lots of amazing riffs.
Oh, you thought this wasn't Beyoncé's year? WRONG. Every year is Beyoncé's year.
The most innovative, clever, beautiful, and bonkers clips of the year.
It's as if she's made it her life's work to be Madonna and Axl Rose at the same time.
Claire Boucher makes truly futuristic — and incredibly emotional — music about growing up with social media.
Catch up on all of the year's best music with this 11-hour megamix.
Rihanna released an album called Unapologetic this year, and she also did a lot of things she never apologized for. Like such as...
I resisted boy bands all through my teens, but now I can't stop listening to 1D.
They seem like squares, but they're the only experimental, ambitious rock band in the mainstream right now.
Everyone's favorite butterfly became an American Idol judge, recorded an album, released a single, and touched a marsupial.
The Seattle hip-hop duo are blowing up right now and for good reason. Here's a primer for the uninitiated.
The English rock trio borrow elements of Queen, Radiohead, and U2 to write songs that make you feel like you're living in a summer blockbuster.
It's hard to keep up with everything that comes out, but you should try — or revisit — these records.
With Wrecking Ball, The Boss has finally realized that he carries as much political symbolism as his songs.
Unapologetic is split between heartrending ballads and tracks in which she seems to shut down her emotions entirely. It's kinda painful, but in a good way.
The author of Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation breaks down 2012's most stunning rap album, good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Try not to dance. Go on, try it. I dare you.
Can rap's most compelling underground star hold on to his quirks on a major label?
No matter how much of the spotlight she gets, Taylor always portrays herself as a girl on the edge of the crowd.
British songwriter Natasha Khan explores compassion, self-sacrifice and desire on her excellent third album, "The Haunted Man."