One of the best thing about the annual deluge of year-end lists is that it’s a very effective way to catch up on all the music you may have missed the first time around because you were either too busy to pay attention — or just couldn’t tear yourself away from a few favorites.
Of course, even the most hardcore music fans can’t stay on top of everything that comes out over the course of a year. For those of you looking for a challenge, an opportunity to dive into a niche genre, or simply a list that does not include Kanye West, we offer these 10 narrowly focused year-end lists.
Herohill’s Top 10 Canadian albums of 2010 is intriguing if only because it avoids the titans of Canadian rock — Arcade Fire, the New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Neil Young — in favor of relatively unsung bands like the Russian Futurists and Women, as well as virtually unknown acts such as It Kills and Postdata.
Full Metal Attorney’s best metal albums of 2010 list is broken down into helpful sub-categories. This year’s top accolades go to Watain in the black metal category, Decrepit Birth in death metal and living legend Glenn Danzig for best comeback.
Knowledge Magazine’s list of the 10 best U.K. hip-hop albums of 2010 is full of selections so obscure — like Ty, Jam Baxter and Stig of the Dump — that it’s a very lucky thing that they included YouTube embeds with samples from each record.
Whiskey Teeth’s Top 10 Free Albums/Mix Tapes of the Year is a treasure trove of underground rap, with internet releases by rap blog staples like Odd Future, Dom Kennedy, and Aleon Craft.
NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog say that their list of the 5 Best American Contemporary Classical Albums is a “snapshot of American music and the healthy environment in which it thrives.” It includes such albums as the Complete Songs of Daniel Pinkham, Vol. 1 and George Walker: Great American Orchestral Music, Vol. 2.
Make Believe Meldodies’ Top 10 Japanese Songs of 2010 covers a wide range of Japanese music, from perky pop to lo-fi electronica and dance music.
The Jazz Journalists Association doesn’t provide a single list, but rather a thread in which numerous critics offer their favorite jazz album of the year. It’s a bit overwhelming, but still a fantastic resource for anyone looking for new jazz recommendations.
Kickin’ Out the Jams, Mofo!’s list of their favorite archival albums of 2010, features psychedelic music from Peru, Afro Rock from Nigeria, Turkish psych-folk, rare Californian funk, and many other bits from the past well worth preserving.
DC9 at Night’s Top 10 Best Albums That Were Supposed To Come Out, But Never Did, in 2010 list is a hit parade of disappointments and scheduling snafus featuring the likes of Dr. Dre, Andre 3000, Radiohead, and the Strokes. Maybe next year?