Revealed: The Official Formula for Boring End-of-Year Album Lists

It’s end-of-year list time! We’ll be publishing ours in due course, but for now it’s time to point and giggle at everyone else’s. This is the fun bit, obviously, especially now that we’ve gotten our hands on the Official Formula for Boring End-of-Year Album Lists from certain venerable music publications who shall not be mentioned by name. If you’ve ever wondered quite how Springsteen ends up in the Top 10 every year, wonder no longer.

The Bob Dylan album no one else liked
– So long as he hasn’t gone Christian again.

An alternative rock band who you remember from the ’90s
– Think “Foo Fighters.”
– Or “Pearl Jam.”
– You get the idea.

A serious country artist
– Must wear a cowboy hat. Gender unimportant.

A baby boomer artist working with an exciting young producer
– This one is easy. Search your publication’s archives for “reinvention.”
– The search function is at the top right of the screen.
– It’s the little magnifying glass icon.
– Oh, for the love of god, just call the IT guy.

The obligatory pop album
– Even the serious kids like pop music these days. It’s something to do with iPods.

The obligatory hip hop album
– Very important to demonstrate that we have Diverse Tastes.
– Look for anything we’ve described as “old school.”

Whatever Taylor Swift released
– If Taylor Swift didn’t put out an album this year, do your best to find some other female pop star who writes her own songs.
– If you can’t find any female pop stars who write their own songs, then go with Beyoncé.
– If Beyoncé didn’t release anything, then find another female pop star. Must be female, though. Otherwise the feminists get angry.

A ‘hip’ indie artist whose songs have been featured on at least three primetime dramas
– You can find these in “Brooklyn,” or on an obscure webzine called “Pitchfork.com.”

Whatever Bruce Springsteen released
– Placement depends on whether Springsteen was #1 last year. If he was, you can make him #2, but be prepared for an argument with The Boss*.

Whichever mainstream pop or rock album people grumbled about the most this year
– People will argue about it! It’s sharable content! This is the Internet! That’s all that matters!

* That’s Mr. Wenner, not Bruce. Although he’ll probably argue too.