Some thoughts: http://seaninsound.blogspot.com/2009/11/best-tracks-of-2009-or-rather-my.html
Lists - and whatever process people use to compile them - are massively flawed, but they're a necessary evil for music publications, by and large. They condense things far, far too much and put forth a one-size-fits-all approach which ends up leaving loads of people moaning, but moaning about what? Not a great deal, to be honest.
Tips - I honestly couldn't care less who anyone thinks is going to be the next big thing.
they're just boring, they sap all the fun out of things by looking really boring and coming across really vauge dispite their atempt to look official. The only lists that are worth anything are tracklists on albums and mixes as they just nerate the story rather than try and compare all albums ever that year like its that easy and everything is so easily comparable. Even a list full of my favourite albums made by myself bores the shit out of me, its like doing lines in detention then reading it back before mobing on and reading everyone elses for the last 2 months of every year.
I h8s '...of the decade' so very much
they're easy, require no analysis and are always a good way of starting a bunfight.
A proper analysis of the threads and trends that have weaved their way through the decade is much harder to produce, but would be much more welcome.
i don't think lists are any more guilty of making facile and subjective assessments of how one thing relates to another than reviews are. i think that they're just more explicit about their categorisation and in turn their flaws are more immediately apparent.
personally, i like lists. i like making them, because it encourages me to order my thoughts, and i like reading them, because i like seeing a collection of things which might interest me. i just try not to think about the numbers too much.
And do genuinely find something I hadn't heard before every year by reading this. For instance, I somehow missed out on Marnie Stern the whole way through 2008 but someone who put Abe Vigoda in their top 5 had her as well, so I finally got around to listening to her. Admittedly if I'd reeeaally been paying attention this would never have happened, but its impossible to listen to everything as it comes out and you do totally forget sometime.
you'll really like the new feature when it's launched (hopefully tomorrow) which'll allow everyone to create their own lists.
is utterly uncool
surely you are king of DiS and thus should be able to put Paramore as being #1 for the year ?
lists shouldn't be democratic. governments should be democratic. but a list ? nah.
my personal album of the year (which it is) and the DiS album of the year should be two things, especially as my contributors to the site make for about 5% of the site's content, so it has to be representative (to a point) of a whole heap of people.
You make some interesting points about the downside of breaking shit down into lists, but your second to last paragraph echoes my thoughts. Marketing and hype aside, lists are an easy way to immediately connect with other people who like music as much as I do, a sort of instant, if often one way conversation, wherein I can find out out about stuff I've never heard of, or become compelled to give something I passed over another chance. I'm sure I'll read as many lists as I can get my eyes on this year, and I'll bet it will lead me to at least a few awesome records.
to be an important part of the festive run-up. I like lists; they all wrong. Some more wrong than others. If I can find or be persuaded to re listen to something from a list then it's done it's job imo.
We're doing a MASSIVE list. Tongue-in-cheek pre-amble at http://musosguide.com/the-best-albums-of-2009-a-pre-amble/8641
(thanks Mitchell, above, a.k.a. Excel Guru - SSSH you guys, it's a secret)
"I like lists; they all wrong. Some more wrong than others."
end of year lists exist to make you think about why you like the music you like, and therefore possibly find more music to listen to. it's the "this is fact" approach that's problematic.