Thursday, February 9, 2012

Combined Best of 2011 List

Last year, I dorked out all over the year-end best-of lists and developed my own algorithm to combine them and determine a broadly considered best-of list. I did it again for last year's releases, though I've twiddled my thumbs on posting.

I changed it up a little bit this year. First, I expanded the publications that I considered, while also leaving out some that weren't really music publications. The publications used:
Rolling Stone
Drowned in Sound
Under the Radar
Hype Machine
The A.V. Club

I decided to exclude Grammy nominations, though not out of disdain for the ceremony or any of the recent changes made. The primary reason was that the eligibility period doesn't match up with the calendar year. It seemed unfair to artists who released albums in late November or December (and were thus excluded from this year's nominations). Also, some artists who released albums in 2009 or 2010 were nominated this year depending on the release dates of the album or singles from the album. For example, Mumford & Sons had a couple of nominations for songs even though their album was released in late 2009.

For the top ten of each list, I assigned a point value from 1 to 10 depending on the album's placement in the list. An album ranked number 1 was given 10 points, an album ranked 10th was given 1 point. The point values were the same for all publications.

Outside the top ten, I assigned a fractions of points depending on placement. Within the top 20 received 0.5 points, top 30 - 0.4 points and so on. For lists exceeding 50 albums, anything 51 and below was given 0.1 points.

One list, NPR's, was unranked; any albums included were given 3 points.

Once all those were calculated, I added up the points across the board and sorted them from the highest point value to the lowest.

The List
And here are the 10 best albums of 2011:

10. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost 27.8 points (4 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
8.   M83 (tie) - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming 28.4 points (4 top ten lists)
8.   EMA (tie) - Past Life Martyred Saints 28.4 points (4 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
7.   tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l 29.5 points (5 top ten lists)
6.   Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne 34.6 points (6 top ten lists)
5.   Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues 42.1 points (5 top ten lists)
4.   F**ked Up - David Comes to Life 51.4 points (6 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
3.   Adele - 21 52.1 points (6 top ten lists; 3 number one spots)
2.   PJ Harvey - Let England Shake 68.2 points (8 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
1.   Bon Iver - Bon Iver 87.6 points (10 top ten lists; 4 number one spots)

Bon Iver and Adele were certainly no surprise, both got huge amounts of attention last year. I was surprised PJ Harvey eked past Adele; though she did get more love from the British publications, which really boosted her score. With all the love for last year's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I expected Watch the Throne to place higher. The biggest surprise overall, though, was the position of EMA's album. It's excellent, but it's surprising for a debut to get that level of attention and praise.

If you would like to see the spreadsheet created to calculate this, you can download it here.

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