Christmas is the time of year when newspapers and magazines pick their best of the year - books, music, movies.
I always scan the lists for confirmation of my taste. I notice that I have five of the Word's top ten albums of the year and five of Q's - though they're a slightly different five.
The albums I've bought this year that I'm still listening to on a regular basis are Kaiser Chiefs, Coldplay, Gorllaz, Hard Fi, Arcade Fire, Dylan's No Direction Home, the Magic Numbers, the Blind Boys of Alabama with Roy Harper (or is that the other way round?) and Neil Young. These are all really fine pieces of work.
My top three albums of the year, however, are Eels Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, Elbow's Leaders of the Free World and Kate Bush's Aerial - these three are head and shoulders above the rest for originality, lyrical power and musical beauty. Each in their own way show that pop music can deal with profound and grown up issues and cast a new light of life's struggles and joys.
If you're still compiling Christmas lists, put these albums on them - you won't be disappointed