musicOMH’s Top 50 Albums Of 2010: The Making Of A Chart

Daniel Paton’s excellent piece contextualising the pitfalls of compiling a definitive albums of the year chart from a hivemind of disparate writers explains why such charts are often less a ranking of artistic merit, and more about how many writers have listened to particular albums.

It’s with this caveat in mind that it’s worth explaining a little of how we arrived at musicOMH’s Top 50 Albums Of 2010. The temptation is to skew results if the editor perceives them to be a touch… um… imperfect. The argument goes that some albums pick up lots of votes, not as anyone’s favourites, but there or thereabouts. As a result they become de facto chart toppers even though nobody suggested they should be. Well, there it is. Democracy, as the House of Commons admirably demonstrates, is not perfect. If I’d wanted to write a piece about my own albums of the year choices it would not be the same as musicOMH’s, which had the input of 31 writers.

We received 1,232 albums to review over the course of 2010. To date we’ve written reviews of 728 of these. Doubtless there are some notable albums missing; in a chart with just 50 places to fill that’s inevitable.

We made just one rule: if we’d not received an album for review, and/or if it had not been reviewed, it was not eligible to be voted on. Frankly, if a label/PR/band finds it impossible to send a review copy in these days of digital downloads, or if no writer can be bothered to write about it, it has no business being in a chart of end-of-year amazingness. And it’s not like there was a dearth to choose from.

Otherwise, writers had carte blanche to nominate any album – EPs, for our purposes here, are not albums – that was released in the UK in 2010. They embarked on two rounds of voting. A longlist was produced from writer nominations (all of them, totalling over 200), and this was honed down to a shortlist of, for peculiar reasons vaguely to do with maths, 105 titles. From this, the order of our Top 50 was formed.

You may not agree with the results – and it’s your prerogative, as a reader, to disagree and generally make your thoughts known. But it is democracy in action, writ large in numbers and words. And as it’s all so democratic, we want you to tell us what’s been excluded, what’ve we placed undeservedly high up the chart and why you should write for us next year and give our chart the benefit of your experience come the end of 2011.

In the meantime, check back here over this week as we publish the Top 50, with extended pieces on each of the Top 10 albums, beginning with Nos 50-41…

The writers responsible for this list are:
Jamil Ahmad, Gideon Brody, Andrew Burgess, Helen Clarke, Jude Clarke, Christian Cottingham, Justin de la Cruz, Neil Dowden, Jonathan Falcone, Andrew Grillo, Darren Harvey, Ben Hogwood, Michael Hubbard, Tom Jowett, Darren Lee, Tim Lee, Jamie Milton, Christopher Monk, John Murphy, Nic Oliver, Daniel Paton, Max Raymond, Ian Roullier, Sam Shepherd, Sam Smith, Ben Urdang, Gareth Ware, David Welsh, Rosie Wilby, Mark Wilden, Luke Winkie

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