Review of 2013 – Poll of Polls


The extended MPT family assist in compiling the poll of poll results

With rather more time on my hands than I’d expected over the last few days due to an infected foot I’ve been scouring the internet for end of year album lists from Scottish related blogs with a view to compiling some sort of overview.

And the winner is …

I did wonder if any sort of consensus would emerge. But these fears proved to be unfounded when it came to the top two albums.

Initially Adam Stafford’s Imaginary Walls Collapse was the only record to feature in the majority of the lists and quickly established what looked like an unassailable lead.

However, as the later lists were added, CHVRCHES The Bones of What You Believe cropped up more and more and drew level in terms of the number of lists on which they were included.

The ‘Scottish Fiction’ list would prove decisive – and it was revealed live on Pulse Radio. In the end both records finished appropriately high up Neil’s list (CHVRCHES at number 2 compared to Adam at number 3) but CHVRCHES  marginal edge wasn’t sufficient to allow them to overtake the long term leader. So the winner of MPT’s unofficial poll of polls for 2013 is ADAM STAFFORD

In third place was Phantom Band singer Rick Redbeard’s solo No Selfish Heart. A consistent scorer throughout it just edged a late charge from Frightened Rabbit in fourth with Kid Canaveral in fifth.

The non-Scottish names tended to be fairly big names, perhaps understandably, so in addition to the Scottish acts the list includes Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (6th), The National (8th), Arcade Fire (10th), Arctic Monkeys (13th) and even David Bowie (19th).

The full Top 20:

No of lists Points
1 Adam Stafford – Imaginary Walls Collapse 9 412.6
2 CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe 9 403.1
3 Rick Redbeard – No Selfish Heart 7 304.6
4 Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse 7 300.5
5 Kid Canaveral – Now That You Are A Dancer 7 277.5
6 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away 6 252.0
7 RM Hubbert – Breaks & Bone 5 232.6
8 The National – Trouble Will Find Me 6 231.7
9 Eagleowl – This Silent Year 6 225.5
10 Arcade Fire – Reflektor 5 215.6
11 There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright 5 212.1
12 Quickbeam – Quickbeam 5 194.6
13 Arctic Monkeys – AM 4 184.5
14 The Pastels – Slow Summits 4 177.6
15 Foals – Holy Fire 4 174.0
16 Kevin Harper – Kingdom Of Wires 4 169.1
17 Mogwai – Les Revenants 4 162.5
18 Sparrow & The Workshop – Murderopolis 4 161.0
19 David Bowie The Next Day 4 158.6
20 Hector Bizerk – Nobody Seen Nothing 4 158.5

Top  votes went to 10 acts (two of the lists included did not nominate a number 1 LP):

Adam Stafford, CHVRCHES (3), Frightened Rabbit (2), Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dead Flowers, Jason Isbell, Helen Love, The National, Willard Grant Conspiracy (1).

Four of these acts received no other votes (Dead Flowers, Jason Isbell, Helen Love, Willard Grant Conspiracy).

174 different LPs were nominated on the different lists (at least 2 of which were released in 2012!) but only 51 albums gained more than 1 nomination.

How did I calculate the numbers?

From merely bringing these lists together in the one place it quickly became apparent that any sort of consensus would only appear over extended lists – taking lists of 3, 5 or probably even 10 wouldn’t be enough. So I gravitated towards using top 20s although a handful of lists were shorter.

I’ve always been a little suspicious of a scoring system that regards the first record in a list of picks as being multiple times better than the final selection. So I wanted to avoid a situation where, say, an album in 4 lists could be gazumped by one first place in one list. The problem was how much to allocate to the lowest LP on a list.

My solution (somewhat arbitrarily) was to effectively rank the best albums as 5 stars down to 3.5 stars for the 20th placed album with points awarded from 50 down to 35.

The other difficulty was that not all lists ranked 20 LPs and that some were unranked lists. I dealt with that by allocating the average number of points for the equivalent places to each album in an unranked list (or section of a list).


Starting with the contributors to the BAMS 2012, I looked for as wide a cross section of Scottish sources as I could find. Most were general lists but a handful  (Jock Rock, Scottish Fiction and  the Sunday Herald) were purely lists of Scottish records, skewing the results slightly in favour of Scottish based acts.

This poll of polls relies entirely on published lists – I resisted the temptation to seek nominations from those who hadn’t done so.

The following blogs’ lists were culled for this exercise:

17 SecondsEverything FlowsGlasgow Podcart; Hercules Moments*; Is This Music?; Jockrock; La Terrasse; Last Year’s Girl; Manic Pop Thrills; Net Sounds Unsigned; The Pop CopScottish Fiction; Song, By ToadSunday Herald (Alan Morrison) ; The Steinberg Principle; Tenement TV; The Tidal Wave of Indifference.

*As there was no overall list, I created a composite chart from the 4 contributors’ individual Top 10s.