No Depression Readers Poll and Featured Bloggers' Favorite Albums of 2010

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: 

1. Carolina Chocolate Drops – Genuine Negro Jig
4. John Mellencamp - No Better Than This
5. Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues
6. The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band - Legacy
7. Drive By Truckers – The Big To-Do
9. Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs
10. Crooked Still - Some Strange Country
11. Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone
12. Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song
13. Punch Brothers - Antifogmatic
14. Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
15. Neil Young - Le Noise
16. Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore - Dear Companion
17. Shooter Jennings & Hierophant - Black Ribbons
18. Mary Gauthier - The Foundling
19. Trampled By Turtles - Palomino
20. The Black Keys - Brothers

ND Readers Poll: Top 20 Albums of 2010

1. Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues
2. Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love
3. Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs
4. Drive By Truckers – The Big To Do
5. John Mellencamp –  No Better Than This
6. Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone
7. Robert Plant - Band of Joy
8. Black Keys - Brothers
9. Carolina Chocolate Drops - Genuine Negro Jig
10. Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song
11. Elizabeth Cook - Welder
12. Neil Young - Le Noise 
13. Patty Griffin - Downtown Church
14. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Mojo
15. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
16. Bruce Springsteen - The Promise
18. Los Lobos - Tin Can Trust
19. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - I Learned the Hard Way
20. Tift Merrit - See You On The Moon

Widget Poll Results:

1. Raul Malo - Sinners & Saints
2. John Mellencamp  - No Better Than This
3. Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs
4. Drive-By Truckers - The Big To-Do
5. Glossary - Feral Fire
6. Shooter Jennings & Hierophant - Black Ribbons
7. Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone
8. Two Cow Garage - Sweet Saint Me
9. Dave Gleason - Turn & Fade
10. Los Lobos - Tin Can Trust 
11. Richard Thompson - Dream Attic
12. Eilen Jewell - Butcher Holler
13. Jon Dee Graham - It's Not as Bad as It Looks
14. Tift Merritt - See You On the Moon
15. Mary Gauthier - The Foundling
16. Steeldrivers - Reckless
17. Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
18. Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love
19. Caleb Klauder - Western Country
20. Ray Wylie Hubbard - A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C)

Views: 795

Tags: best of 2010, no depression readers poll

Comment by Dustin Ogdin on December 28, 2010 at 5:33am
Well done, guys!  I'm sure that was a lot of work...
Comment by Les Reasonover on December 28, 2010 at 5:47am
If folks actually listened to Genuine Negro Jig by the Carolina Chocolate Drops it would be #1 in all polls!
Comment by David Haskin on December 28, 2010 at 5:55am
Wow -- thank you, Kyla and Kim (and regular bloggers) for all the hard work you put into this that led to not one but three useful, interesting lists.
Comment by Tommie Staccato on December 28, 2010 at 6:11am
Great body of work - keeping us updated on the old continent; pity no Dylan Leblanc or Doug Paisley, though.
Comment by kj miller on December 28, 2010 at 6:29am
Thanks for these lists, all the extra ears...
Comment by bryant liggett on December 28, 2010 at 6:37am
I agree with many of these selection. But the abscence of Darker Circles by the Sadies makes these lists incomplete.
Comment by Jack Williams on December 28, 2010 at 6:40am
Well, you all really went the extra mile on this effort.  Thanks and well done!
Comment by David Haskin on December 28, 2010 at 6:56am
By the way, the "vote early and often" approach has one exceedingly important benefit: It brings lots of new readers to the site, many of whom are likely to stay.  That, in turn, would greatly help make the site self-sustaining or even profitable, which, imho, is a good thing.  The trick, of course, is to manage that approach and expectations of the readers.  So maybe next year, better technology and both a "Readers poll" and a critics or regular bloggers poll?
Comment by Kim Ruehl on December 28, 2010 at 7:03am
David - yes, we'll probably use a different widget next year, and run the whole thing a little differently. Exactly how is something we have a year to figure out (thankfully), but we're open to suggestion, as usual.
Comment by Lwood on December 28, 2010 at 7:19am
David if more people 'share' on Face book it will indeed increase the website's hits....

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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.