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The Best Music Of 2010

Year-End List-Making Is A Battlefield

Some year-end list-making techniques are more hands-on than others. Claire O'Neill/NPR hide caption

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Claire O'Neill/NPR

Some year-end list-making techniques are more hands-on than others.

Claire O'Neill/NPR

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: Year-end list-making is a war waged on and between music nerds everywhere. What you didn't know: Sometimes the lists make themselves.

We've talked about my peculiar list-making habit before, but here's a quick refresher: I keep a running list of my favorite albums from the year in a Google Doc, print out the document in late November, cut out the contenders into strips of paper and begin obsessively ordering and re-ordering the strips on my desk until I feel happy with a Top 25. It's nerdy, I know, but I didn't realize just how epic year-end list-making could be until Claire O'Neill and Mito Habe-Evans from The Picture Show captured the strips of paper in their natural habitat, battling out for my No. 1 spot in stop-motion glory. What happens to Woven Bones is truly tragic.

Tomorrow, All Songs Considered will publish my year-end conversation about metal and drone with Bob Boilen (along with a bonus list about 2010's best cassettes). In the meantime, you can explore all of NPR Music's best-of lists, hear previous Viking's Choice episodes (2008 and 2009), and get a sneak peak at my No. 1 album of 2010 in the video below.