Vice album of the year
Number 34: Reserved for Britpop “survivors” who’ve made “their best album in years”.
Number 33: Wacky side-project of big-name band singer, which is a wacky electro-pop concept album about magic animals.
Number 32: Something from Iceland.
Number 31: The name that keeps turning up on every electro/house compilation CD released that year. e.g. Simian Mobile Disco in ‘07.
Number 30: Real authentic alt. country dude who made the album in a cave in the Appalachians/once dated Joanna Newsom.
Number 29: Return of once-derided old-timer who used to symbolise naffness, but has subverted expectations by making an album of honest, brooding ballads with a hip young producer.
Number 28: This space is reserved for Bruce Springsteen if he makes an album in the year of the list.
Number 27: Some dubstep record which actually came out last year but has roundly been heralded as “the sound of the future”.
Number 26: Disappointing third album from previously much-touted act, which is so bad that editorial embarrassment means it’s been crowbarred in here as a Pravda-style exercise in shrinking them slowly rather than dropping them like a hot brick, as would be most appropriate.
Number 25: The band that everyone was tipping as the year’s biggest act in January.
Number 24: You’ve never even heard of this one. You never will. Even as your read the blurb, you find your mind simultaneously erasing the entry.
Number 23: Glitchy and worthy and difficult record you’ve listened to once. Squarepusher, basically.
Number 21: British Sea Power.
Number 20: Token world muso.
Number 19: The band who’ve got a reputation for being “influential”, and have a geographically specific “scene” organised around them that they put on semi-mythical “parties” for at a semi-mythical “venue”. e.g. HEALTH and The Smell.
Number 18: Band who wrote album of songs inspired by the tragic accidental/drug death of their bass player last year. Somewhere the blurb says “courageous”.
Number 17: Fever Ray.
Number 16: Sexy pop act masquerading as “wonky-pop”/”nu-pop”/”underground pop”, which only barely disguises the fact that they’re Lulu with alt. dress sense.
Number 16: Put in a “stunning” performance on Jools Holland.
Number 15: DJ who made “the year’s party-starting mash-up compilation” that you’ve never actually heard at a party that wasn’t put on by media insiders. And never made any of those party-goers do more than pout extra aggressively.
Number 14: Dirty Projectors.
Number 13: Hyper-obscure album everyone was bamboozled into voting for ‘cos Pitchfork gave it a 9.9, despite sounding like every other folk album ever.
Number 12: Rapper facing child sex charges.
Number 11: Dizzee/Chipmunk (pop-grime slot shared on a rotational basis).
Number 10: Album described as a “groundbreaking fusion of dance and rock”.
Number 9: Tape of Bob Dylan coughing up some phlegm in June 1972, found in someone’s attic, dusted off, reissued, and hagiographised in the Sunday papers as a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.
Numbers 8-2: Records that were OK, but no one was mad about them, but no one disliked them much either, so they swum through the middle course, whereas intense records that some people were truly passionate about but others really hated all ultimately failed to make the cut.
Number 1: Coldplay (Q), Arctic Monkeys (NME), Sven Vath (Mixmag), Neil Young (Uncut), Neil Young (Mojo), Neil Young (Classic Rock), Neil Young (Home & Garden), people humming transcendentally over distorted tape loops of concrete being laid (Wire).
Don’t forget to remind yourself of last year’s list.