Sunday, February 24, 2013

Combined Best of 2012 List

Once again, I have combined the various year-end music lists to try to come a critical consensus of the best albums released last year.

If this is your first time seeing my über-list, I will give you a run-down of my methodology (though it you can check out 2011 and 2010). I start by listing out the various professional lists published by the various music magazines...and a couple of more general news sites. The lists I look at include Rolling Stone, NPR and Pitchfork, among many others. For any lists that rank their choices, I assigned a certain point value based on an album's position in the list. So, a number one album received ten points and a number ten album received one point, with corresponding point values in between.

Now, many lists go far beyond just ten albums, so albums falling below the number ten spot received fractions of points based on position: 11-20 received 0.5 points, 21-30 got 0.4, 31-40 got 0.3, 41-50 got 0.2 and anything falling below 50, but still ranked, got 0.1 point. Once again, NPR was the one source that did not rank their list, so anyone appearing there received three points.

The points where then combined and the albums ranked from most to least points. In total, there were 359 albums mentioned by all of the lists that I looked at, many not getting more than 0.1 points. The best albums, though, usually appeared on multiple lists and had a high ranking on nearly every list that they appeared on. And now, without further ado, the generally consented best albums of 2012!

10. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan: 21.5 points (4 top ten lists)
9.   Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls: 22.3 points (3 top ten lists)
8.   Grimes - Visions: 25.8 points (5 top ten lists)
7.   Sharon van Etten - Tramp: 28.8 points (4 top ten lists)
6.   Beach House - Bloom: 30.8 points (7 top ten lists)
5.   Japandroids - Celebration Rock: 37.9 points (6 top ten lists)
4.   Swans - The Seers: 38.6 points (6 top ten lists)
3.   Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city: 67.3 points (8 top ten lists; 1 number one spot)
2.   Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...: 68.6 points (9 top ten lists; 3 number one spots)
1.   Frank Ocean - Channel Orange: 108.3 points (12 top ten lists; 4 number one spots)

I have noticed in the past that there tends to be a big gap between the "best" album of the year and the second album, but this year's really surprised me. Frank Ocean was the recipient of a ton of hype (very well-deserved, IMHO), but hype doesn't always translate into continued praise at the end of the year. All of the top albums this year, though, were excellent releases.

My spreadsheet for calculating this list can be downloaded here.

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