The 10 best albums of 2012 are:
1. Frank Ocean, "Channel Orange." Many people will check out Frank Ocean's debut album "Channel Orange" simply because of his announcement that he had engaged in a same-sex relationship, an unusual announcement for an R&B musician. But the real reason music lovers should listen to the album is the slinky, subtle, ambient and supremely confident R&B that Ocean, at the tender age of 24, has created. While some of the unrequited love songs are addressed to men, issues such as gender and sexual orientation are meaningless when love is described in such intimate, emotional terms. Ocean is obviously influenced by hip-hop, but the real revelations are how he takes traditional R&B and adds literate, hyper-verbal lyrics and unconventional, but beguiling, arrangements. Ocean's music indicates the golden age of R & B wasn't over in the 1970s, but is happening again right now.
2. Japandroids, "Celebration Rock." The second album from this Canadian guitar-and-drum duo trumps similar duos Black Keys and White Stripes by unleashing such passionate anthems with a voice that believes irony and subtly are the enemies. "The House That Heaven Built" is the most gut-punching rock single of the year, with its unforgettable chorus, "When they love you and they will / Tell them all, they'll love in my shadow / And if they try to slow you down /Tell them all, to go to hell."