For much of the past month, we've been on a quest to narrow down this year's innumerable new releases to a solid Top 20 list. During Round One
, we asked members of this community to post their own lists. More than 150 people participated (you can see every album included on any list here
From those entries, we compiled a giant masterlist and plugged the top 100-or-so most-listed albums
into a polling widget. As it turned out, the widget was imperfect - it only allowed one vote at a time, and raised some questions about voting consistency and the widget's reliability. Some members of this community noted the widget seemed to be getting "stuffed" by fans of artists who encouraged their Facebook friends and Twitter followers to vote for their album. While this struck us as frustrating at first, we figured we may as well throw those gates open and make it a free-for-all. In an effort to see what would happen if many of the artists listed in that Top 100 (or so) list leveraged their fanbases, Kyla sent emails to the management and labels of as many artists for whom she had contacts, encouraging them to also post a link on Facebook and Twitter. Some of them joined in the fun, others didn't. In the end, the results of that round of polling seemed to more adequately reflect the ability and interest of several artists to leverage their social media presence and ignite the enthusiasm of their fans.
That's nothing to shake a stick at.
Sure, the results of the widget poll seem out of line with the initial round of voting. Sure, based on comments from the community, they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the people who most frequently participate on this site. However, each album that wound up in the Top 20 of that round is well worth listening to. The results spotlight a diverse field of artists and styles and, we feel, are a rather adequate representation of the great indie/alt/country/roots/whatever music that got made over the past year. We applaud the artists who reached out to their social networks and got their fans to click on a link and vote in a poll. Nowadays, it's that sort of relationship with your audience which can help it grow and prolong your career.
But, considering the response we got from this community, we didn't feel comfortable labeling the results of that round of voting the "No Depression Community's Top 20 Albums of 2010." It's a legitimate list, and reflects the interest and enthusiasm of hundreds of dedicated music fans, but it's not necessarily the list with which members of the No Depression Community would most likely agree.
So, we went back to Round One and re-compiled a new masterlist. This time, the results were weighted based on the way folks voted. If an album placed at #1 on someone's list, it received 20 points. If it placed at #2, it received 19 points, etc. For lists which were in no particular order, every album listed received five points. Through this mathematical formula, we arrived at a list which seemed more in line with how our members actually voted the first time around. So, that list is below, labeled "ND Readers Poll: Top 20 Albums of 2010."
Finally, in the interest of honoring the discriminating taste of our frequently featured bloggers, we let them have their own list. It was compiled and scored using the same mathematics as the Readers Poll results, and you can see that full list below.
Thank you to everyone who participated in each of these polls! Feel free to discuss further in the comments, of course. If there's anything here you've yet to hear, we've provided you with links to Amazon to purchase each CD. Now, without further ado, we give you our ND Readers Poll results, the widget poll results, and our featured bloggers' Top 20 albums of 2010:
Featured Bloggers' Top 20:
(Compiled based on the lists of Adam Sheets
, Chris Mateer
, Dustin Ogdin
, Terry Roland
, Twang Nation
, Jim Morrison
, Rod Ames
, Kyla Fairchild
, Kim Ruehl
, Hal Bogerd
, Michael Bialas
, Steve Terrell
, and Paul Cantin
6. The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band - Legacy
ND Readers Poll: Top 20 Albums of 2010
14. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Mojo
Widget Poll Results: