Albums of the Year Lists, Decoded

10) The Rumor: This artist opens half the other lists, but you can’t find them anywhere else. You’d think it was a prank, but none of these people have met. Nonetheless, it all smells like a conspiracy.

9)The Old Guard: The latest, and likely final, effort of an aging artist. The only entry that acknowledges humans over fifty exist.

8) The Compromise: They’ve never said a word about it before, but the rest of the community loves it. This album marks the creator as someone in the know.

7) The Real Favorite: They’ve looped it in every car you’ve shared since January, but can’t place it any higher without looking partisan.

6) The One The Kids Like: Theoretically exciting youth music. The poster can’t get through it without a migraine, but they’re trying to keep up.

5) The Foriegn Entry: Placed just high up enough to look worldly, but not high enough to look fetishistic.

4) The Experiment: An artist testing the boundaries of music and human patience. Expect albums in this slot to feature musicians washing their hands while mumbling in broken Swahili.

3) The Popular Favorite: An attempt to keep the list from descending fully into the creator’s anal cavity with a cameo from the Billboard 200. Sadly, this makes the rest feel even more self-conscious.

2) The Good Find: A pretentious clock is right twice a day, and this entry reflects good taste and insight. Shame about the others.

1) The Prize Stallion: After weeks of hand-wringing, this entry artfully balances critical acclaim, mainstream obscurity, and absence from competing lists. This is the creator’s north star, the light that will guide them to either dominance of their list-making peers or death.

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