20 Albums to Look Forward to in 2012

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Music to watch out for, from Sleigh Bells to Fleetwood Mac to The Shins to Paul McCartney

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What will 2012 sound like? All sorts of things. It's always been hard to sum up or predict a year's sound, but now more than ever—or so goes the new cliche—music listening is fragmented. Still, there's a squishy center of tunes that open-minded people from various backgrounds can kind of, sort of agree might be interesting to hear. Here are 20 examples from the coming year.

Keep in mind that albums aren't announced all that far in advance, so this list is heavy on material from the first part of the year. At the end, there's three long-shot albums from huge artists. Fingers crossed that those ones actually come out.

Note: Some of the music players may be slow to load. Give 'em a few seconds.

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Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's Patch.com and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club, RollingStone.com, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

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