The arbitrariness of annual top-10s always becomes clearer the week after, when you look at other lists and think, damn, how did I forget that album and why haven't I even heard this other one? Then again, maybe the most honest list you can come up with eschews research and second-guessing in favor of albums that instantly come to mind because you've returned to them time after time and filed them in that corner of your mind reserved for classics, or at least music you expect to live with more fully in the future. Every generation of critics is obliged to make cases for works neglected the first time around and puncture those that get a free ride on the wings of received wisdom. I don't know how 1999 will stack up, but in the past my 10-bests usually ran to about 17 albums, while this year I wasn't certain... More >>>