I remember a discussion a few months back with The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis where I suggested that the aggregated best-of lists that appear in many music publications tended to be boring and predictable. They often end up reinforcing a lowest-common-denominator consensus, and frequently exclude the more eclectic choices of individual contributors. For example, none of Dom Lawson’s excellent choices made The Guardian’s top 40 of 2012
The top 15 of 2013 from The Dutch Progressive Rock Page seems to bear this out. Despite containing many great albums that also appear on my own best of the year list, it does give the impression that it takes a very narrow definition of “Prog”. It’s true that Riverside, Steven Wilson, Haken and Big Big Train have all made great albums that deserve to be honoured. But there’s no place for the likes of The Fierce and The Dead, Luna Rossa, Ihsahn or even Fish, all of which fall under the broad spectrum of progressive music, but don’t fit a narrow neo-progressive template. It’s also notable how male the list is; only one band out of the 15 (Magenta) have a female lead singer.
It would be easy to blame this on musical conservatism on behalf of the site’s contributors, but I strongly suspect that when a list is defined by what it excludes, it merely demonstrates that such aggregated lists are of limited usefulness.