Everybody knows that rock critics are absolutely goofy about lists. This is, in part, because we all are super geeks. But there's a practical element to it, as well: The most common question that anyone who regularly writes about music is asked is, "What are you listening to and really loving?" When any critic worth his or her salt is spinning at least part of a four or five dozen new recordings every week, it's impossible to keep your favorites straight without some sort of running tally that starts on Jan. 1 and ends on New Year's Eve.
That having been said, I do think my "Sound Opinions" cohort Greg Kot is even crazier than most about this list business, in that he always seems eager to tick off the year's best albums two or three weeks into the new calendar year. (No kidding: I've heard him declare a disc "the best record of the year" on the second or third week of January before!) By the time we get to June, he's dying to count down the "mid-year best-of" on the radio show, and because I'm tired of arguing with him that we should wait until year's end -- and because we generally need to come up with a quick show in early June because somebody or other on the team is going on vacation -- I usually acquiesce, as I did once again this weekend.
So, with the heavily underscored provisos that the following is simply my list of the best recordings of 2010 up to now; that's it a work in progress, with albums constantly moving up or down the list as they grow or diminish with repeated listening, and with the knowledge that there could well be 20 or 30 better releases in the months to come (we should be so lucky!), here are my Top 6 Albums of 2010 So Far (six because, well, we're six months in).