Pitchfork‘s various end-of-year lists came out a couple weeks ago (Top 50 here), and I always think it’s interesting to see how their lists correspond to the ratings they assign during the year (and particularly the BNM distinction). During the course of the year a total of fifty (interesting …) albums/EPs were given the Best New Music tag. They range in rating from 8.2 to 9.5 with an average of about 8.6 (and a standard deviation of about .3). Eight albums received ratings of 9.0 or higher.
Of the fifty BNM albums/EPs, forty ended up on the Top 50 list, one was on the Honorable Mention list, which leaves nine that were unrecognized. The highest rated albums to be on neither list were Converge’s All We Love We Leave Behind and Twin Shadow’s Confess, which each received 8.6. The eight albums which received a 9.0 or higher all ended up in the top twelve slots. The ten albums on the Top 50 list which were not BNM all had ratings between 7.8 and 8.2, as did all of the Honorable Mention selections aside from the lone BNM album (Frankie Rose’s Interstellar) and two which hadn’t been rated (Jeremih’s Late Nights with Jeremih and Waxahatchee’s American Weekend).
I haven’t recorded the results from previous years, though I have looked at this several times and the results are usually pretty similar. Getting a BNM tag basically gives an album at least a 75% chance of being on the Top 50 list, and getting a 9.0 or higher basically guarantees it. BNM albums which seem most likely to be left off are metal/hardcore. I’m not sure if there has been a 9.0+ album that hasn’t made the Top 50; if their site had a better search feature I’d find out.