"The countdown starts."
Ah, they don't write pop tunes like that any more, do they? "Starting to collect / requested data / 'What will it affect / when all is done?' / thinks Major Tom." And so think we all.
Because yes, the ordination of The Controlling Thompson's favourite records of the year commences here and now: admittedly at the lower reaches of the charts (this is #41-50) so you needn't start foaming with excitement quite yet. In a way it seems absurd to turn a little end-of-year throwaway into a week-long featurette, and perhaps I should have stuck with the original plan for a Top 20, which might not have telegraphed quite such deplorably strong intimations of self-importance. On the other hand, even going down as far as number fifty, there isn't an album on this list that I wouldn't recommend you hearing, and if each of these records receives even one extra spin in the universe as a result of this exercise, I shall be quite aux mintballes.
The obvious but necessary disclaimer is that I probably haven't heard more than three or four of the fifty records that were actually the best among all those released this year, in just the same way that the three best violinists on the planet will probably never see a violin. That's just the way it goes. And of course, in so far that the ordering is anything other than completely arbitrary, I'm merely trying to communicate enthusiasms, quite subjectively and with a characteristic dash of (not altogether unconscious) idiosyncrasy. For example, there would clearly be a strong argument for Scott Walker's The Drift to be named as objectively the best record of the year, in terms of its vision, its scope and its impeccable crafting: but I'm not even going to be listing it in the fifty, because I honestly find it too scary to listen to, and whichever way you look at it, a record you never want to listen to EVER AGAIN if you can possibly help it is not in the end a great record.
Nor, of course, are most of these: though I'd make the case for the top seven or eight: which I guess I'll be getting to in about a week, maybe sooner. Down among these lower reaches are a bunch of really worthwhile three- and four-star records which it's been good to listen to this year, and which you might enjoy if you checked them out. As an aid towards which, I'll be uploading a track from each of these 50 albums over at Gevorts Box (which is now up and spooling again -- sorry for the hiatus) as we go along.
Please also leave comments and corrections, according to taste (or lack of).
And now, as, in tribute to Fluff (who sadly, of course, has now left the building, buffeted by a sudden gust of air), the congregation makes the sign of the Swingin' Cymbal, dearly beloved, let us rock.