The Best of 2010: It's About That Time

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by Pico

Like mistletoe and egg nog, the “Best Of” lists has become a holiday tradition here. 2010 has been a very good year at Something Else, and not just because we got to listen to a lot of swell tuneskis: we added to our ranks someone whose writing we’ve admired from afar for a long while in Mark Saleski and now we’re privileged to see it up close. Hand in hand with his joining the SER Club, we’ve reached out to new audiences and our readership has roughly doubled in the last five or six months.

With so many new eyeballs checking out our wares lately, some of you might not know about the year-end “Best Of” lists I run about this time every year, but I’m going to get started on it later this week. So maybe this is a good time to tell the n00bs how this works, because it’s a little unconventional.

This is no neat and tidy “top ten” or “top twenty” or “top (pick a number)” list ordered from the bottom of the list to the top. That just doesn’t square up with how I assess records. Is an album I feel is the ninth best record today is a record I like the ninth best tomorrow? Probably not. Force-fitting CD’s in some hierarchical order isn’t a useful exercise because I don’t think of them that way. And so, I don’t list ’em that way, either.

The best record of the year? Yeah, I can honestly come up with that. But it depends on the genre. Let’s face it, it makes no sense to compare Giants Steps to London Calling, how you view either depends on your tastes and/or your mood. And so, I’m going to call five winners, one each by five of my favorite categories: mainstream rock, blues and roots, fusion jazz, modern and straight ahead jazz and whack (experimental) jazz. In addition to the best album in each category, I’ll toss on a best track for each genre, too. They’ll even be a best reissue, where appropriate.

The rest of each category will be filled with a list bunch of second place records, i.e., “the best of the rest.” The “best of the batch” and “best of the rest” selections must meet two basic criteria: 1. they must be records I can recommend without any reservations and 2. they must have been reviewed on this site. If a record isn’t reviewed here it either wouldn’t be good enough to make the list or I hadn’t listened to it enough to make an educated call on it. And these lists are not set at some predetermined length, they can be four or forty long. No truly meritorious record of the literally hundreds that have come across my desk this year will be left out.

This five part series will be published roughly one part every other day, concluding just before Christmas. Then it will be time to start talking about cheesy singles from the 70s again. Just joking. Or maybe not.

For your personal amusement, here are the “Best Of” lists from 2009:

The Best of 2009, Part 1: The Mainstream

The Best of 2009, Part 2: Blues ‘n’ Roots

The Best of 2009, Part 3: Fusion Jazz

The Best of 2009, Part 4: Modern And Mainstream Jazz

The Best of 2009, Part 5: Whack Jazz

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on,, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at
S. Victor Aaron

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