Preliminary thoughts so far (18 lists in):
Kendrick and Lorde at the top is no surprise, similarly FJM (although that album was far more polarizing). Surprised that Thundercat is doing so well; I feel like that album sorta flew under the radar and also didn’t have the benefit of a late-in-the-year release. I predicted RTJ would get affected by its Christmas release but seems to be doing fine. Other lists conforming less and less to P4K by bucking King Krule, Mount Eerie to some degree. Courtney Barnett and Kurt are surprisingly high for such a low stakes, low concept album, though I guess a lot of people really like either one or both of them (Courtney top 5’d in 2015).
Biggest surprise so far is how much Fleet Foxes has been shafted. The album got nothing but praise on release and was super high profile, but no one seems to be putting it anywhere near their top 10, and many are forgoing it altogether. Not sure if it was overshadowed by the FJM and Kendrick releases from around the same time, or later in the year shit like LCD, St. Vincent, etc., but I thought it would place top 10 for sure, now it looks like it will struggle for top 50!
Some smaller name releases coming up big from their respective markets; Wolf Alice from British publications (not sure why they didn’t catch on in the States as much, and AOTY users seem to agree, but I think the album’s wonderful), and Kelly Lee Owens in electronic publications. Will be interesting to see who after Kendrick and Vince Staples does well in rap - so far a lot of British rappers (Stormzy, Ghostpoet, Loyle Carner), maybe a nod to Skepta winning the Mercury.
Perfume Genius is a sleeper I could see sneaking into the top 10; probably his best album and IDK anyone that didn’t like it, thought it came out the same week as Slowdive. The National, LCD, St. Vincent, War on Drugs are still locks for top 10 at this point in their careers, LCD probably just cause people are stoked about the return (album is NOT top 10 material, IMHO). Nice to see some love for SZA on the debut, kind of a slow year for R&B in general but she and Sampha held up the fort nicely with two very different styles. Critic fav. Grizzly Bear noticeably low, certainly speaks to the album’s quality w/r/t their last few releases. Some critical love for Paramore is fun. Protomartyr still underrated, as is Alvvays; not sure what it’ll take for them to breakthrough.
Certainly the biggest disconnect between AOTY users and these lists is on rap w/r/t Tyler and Brockhampton; hugely popular and successful and well-known regarding anyone who knows anything about American rap these days, but not on the radars of a lot of the bigger, more accessible publications. A lot of people seem scared away from Mount Eerie, understandably. Smaller, under the radar artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Aldous Harding and Jane Weaver popping up out of the woodwork, good for their exposure. Ryan Adams too high, maybe riding a resurgance of popularity cause of the Strokes book that came out. People moving on from Waxahatchee to newer indie rockers like Jay Som and Big Thief.
Going forward, hoping to see Fleet Foxes, Perfume, Alvvays and Tyler rise, think Courtney and Kurt, LCD, The xx, Ryan Adams, alt-J, Slowdive all too high.