musicOMH has reviewed nearly 700 albums released during 2009. A great many of them tugged gently at our sleeve wearing a pleading look that negated any need for words. "I'm a Top 50 Album Of The Year, aren't I?" is what that look says, all big eyes and trembling lower lip.
Our writers all had their personal favourites; as we cover everything from commercial pop to wistful folk via hip hop, drone metal and contemporary classical, it's arguably more difficult for an album to reach our Top 50 than it is for almost any other comparable list.
Those who deigned to vote - 36 writers in total - offered up their ordered picks of the year from a longlist.
The longlist lived up to its name, consisting as it did of everything we've awarded 4, 4.5 or 5 stars to, plus Mercury nominees released in 2009 and selected albums saved from lower ratings at the suggestion of writers. So yes; long. Compilations and live albums weren't eligible, but that still left nearly 300 of that 700, to be precise-ish.
There was then a second round (still listening at the back?) to pare that longlist down to a 'mediumlist' of a mere 100 titles, from which the shortlist that makes up the Top 50 was devised. This stage was painful; some fantastic albums fell by the wayside. Those that didn't make it through to the final 50 suffered from no quality deficit. The only conclusion to be drawn is that 2009 was a very fine year for albums.
Springing straight to mind by way of illustration are these 10 which oh-so-nearly made it:
- Tortoise - Beacons Of Ancestorship
- Vieux Farka Touré - Fondo
- The Juan Maclean - The Future Will Come
- Future Of The Left - Travels With Myself And One Other
- Gabby Young And Other Animals - We're All In This Together
- Alela Diane - To Be Still
- Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
- Hell - Teufelswerk
- PJ Harvey & John Parish - A Woman A Man Walked By
- Butcher Boy - React Or Die
I'd happily recommend listening to and buying all of these. But they still didn't make the list.
Amid extraordinary scenes, the winner of the BBC Sound Of 2009 poll Little Boots didn't make it either. Nor did Mercury winner Speech Debelle.
So do you want to see who did? NOW YOU CAN. In bits, starting with Nos 50-31, with the rest following every day for the rest of the week, linked from this page.
Thoughts of agreement, outrage or omission are welcome below. Have we missed your favourite? And can you guess the correct order of the Top Three before Friday?
- Part 1: Nos 50-41
- Part 2: Nos 40-31
- Part 3: Nos 30-21
- Part 4: Nos 20-11
- Part 5: Nos 10-4
- Part 6: Nos 3-1
musicOMH's Top 50 Albums Of 2009 was voted by: Jamil Ahmad, Mike Barnes, Gideon Brody, Andrew Burgess, Jude Clarke, Christian Cottingham, Jenni Cole, Michael Cragg, Justin de la Cruz, Gemma Hampson, Darren Harvey, Peter Hayward, Ryan Helfand, Tony Heywood, Ben Hogwood, Michael Hubbard, Darren Lee, Tim Lee, Daniel Marner, Cat McGovern, Jamie Milton, Christopher Monk, John Murphy, Shaun Newport, Ceiri O'Driscoll, Nic Oliver, Alan Pedder, Camilla Pia, Ian Roullier, Sam Shepherd, DB Telford, Ben Urdang, Ian Wade, Rob Watson, Ben Winbolt-Lewis
Check out 2008's list here.