ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
In December every music publication worth its salt publishes a list of the Albums of the Year, as chosen by its critics. The charts on this site are compilations, derived from those lists, and they show the critics' choices of the top thirty albums for each year since 1990.
Just to air my prejudices, I've also added my selection of the best album of each year, though I've restricted my choice to the top 30 (it was the only way to stop me nominating The Auteurs every other year). These are indicated by the presence of a thumbnail of the sleeve - click on the thumbnail to enlarge.
The point of these polls of polls (apart from being an exercise in trainspotting) is an attempt to get some kind of consensus. This inevitably has a tendency to flatten out quirks and idiosyncracies. To take just one example: the NME claimed that Bon Chic, Bon Genre, the debut (only?) album by Campag Velocet, was one of the ten best records released in 1999, a decision with which no one (save, perhaps, the more arrogant members of Campag Velocet) could possibly agree; it did not feature in the final top 50. There is, of course, a concomitant danger of a reduction to the lowest common denominator, but generally I feel that it works out okay.
There are still problems, chiefly albums turning up in different years: if Q had recognized that U2's How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb should have been included in 2004 rather than in 2005, the album would have featured higher. But in principle these charts represent a rough and ready agreement on the significant releases of the last couple of decades.
A word of warning. I'm British and so are the magazines I read. Consequently there's a British bias to these lists: Spiritualized, Supergrass and Super Furry Animals get taken seriously, US acts like Marilyn Manson and Pearl Jam attract less attention. These magazines also tend to be rock-based, so indie records (and more recently alt.country) stand a better chance here than, say, rap, dance or reggae. Just the way it is, I'm afraid.
Navigate using the years in the left margin.