In a time when almost any song imaginable is readily available through a variety of media—iTunes, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, torrents—it might seem a bit antiquated to countdown the year's best albums. With the consumption of music transitioning to a singles-oriented environment, tackling a cohesive full-length project almost seems pointless. Almost. But in 2012, a select group of albums hit hard enough to shatter our usual ADD-affected tendencies, and these projects reminded us of the impact an album can have that could never be touched by a hit single.
It's impossible to predict the future of music right now. There are too many variables and too many things up in the air, but we can say with certainty that in 2012, every project on this list confirmed that albums still matter.Click to start the list