I'm not sure if this is really a necessity. Perhaps for a chronic list-maker like me, it is.
"Album of the Year."
I look at my past choices and can't help but question several of them.
2000 -- Open Sky -- Iona
2001 -- Leaving Your Body Map -- maudlin of the Well
2002 -- Timeloss -- Päatos
2003 -- Choirs of the Eye -- Kayo Dot
2004 -- Code Name: Dust Sucker -- Bark Psychosis
2005 -- Odyssey: The Greatest Tale
2006 -- Omphalos -- Kotebel
2007 -- Shadows of the Sun -- Ulver
2008 -- LightDark -- NoSound
2009 -- Part the Second -- maudlin of the Well
2010 -- A Rare Moment of Insight -- Brother Ape
2011 -- The Dream of the Magic Jongleur -- The Psychedelic Ensemble/Gentle Stream -- The Amazing
Am I rating the "best" or my favorite--which are often two very different things. The former is a more objective and, hopefully, more intellectual and educated choice while the latter is a matter of emotional attachment.
Last year, 2011, was the first in which my choice for 'best' and 'favorite' differed. I recognize The Dream of the Magic Jongleur as the most astounding accomplishment of musical production from the year but my heart very strongly lies with the magic of an album which I know to be flawed and perhaps less than a 'masterpiece,' The Amazing's Gentle Stream.
Part of me thinks I should just concentrate on raising consciousness about the great music being produced in the 21st Century, forget about rankings; part of me needs that clarity of hierarchical delineation.
This year there are a bunch of albums vying for the hallowed designation of "Album of the Year." As yet there is no clear runaway "best" or "favorite." Just 14 great albums each deserving of recognition and increased public awareness.
The Seer by Swans
Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble by Kotebel
Felicité Thosz by Magma~ by iamthemorning
Dodecahedron by Daal
English Electric, Part 1 by Big Big Train
Viljans Ôga by Anglagard
The Death Defying Unicorn by Motorpsycho
Quickly, Quickly, Quickly by The Tea Club
Selenelion by Vaura
Talsete di Marsantino by L'Estate di San MartinoThe Fall of Bliss by Methexis
Eye on the Sunrise by Nine Stones Close
In a Cold Embrace by Battlestations
I guess I've got to just keep listening to them, keep paring down my ratings and my gut reactions. And one mustn't forget the albums for 2012 that I haven't even heard yet--the few that always seem to make their way to public ear after the year has ended.