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There are thousands of CDs released every year, so it’s difficult for any list of the year’s best music to pretend to be definitive. Still, I can’t help feeling that there’s a certain myopia involved in selecting the year’s top discs, even when the selection is done via reader poll, as on Stereogum’s list of its readers’ top 20 CDs of 2005. I’m fond of Stereogum, but like so many music blogs, it has a pretty specific alt-rock sensibility, so of course its readers are going to name Illinois by Sufjan Stevens (left) No. 1, give prominent play to club-rockers and electronica, and virtually ignore hip-hop, R&B, and country. They’re too hip to cite critical darlings who have major label distribution, like Fiona Apple (her Internet bootleg of Extraordinary Machine was way better, maaan) or Beck.

For contrast, check out the 10-best lists of EW’s David Browne and Chris Willman. There’s some overlap with the obscurities on the Stereogum list, but it’s interesting to me that the one disc no one can ignore is Kanye West’s Late Registration. Still, these differences are what makes ballgames. And bar fights. And flame wars on PopWatch — go ahead, start one.

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