2018 Metafile Legend

Two data files, meta.txt and rmeta.txt, the former for new releases, the latter for reissues, compilations, vault music. Fields separated by '|':

  1. Points: Make does a numeric sort on this field as first key.
  2. Artist: Last name '_' first name, such that make can do an alpha sort on this as second key.
  3. Title: Album title.
  4. Label: Label; may be preceded by dates (e.g., 1972 or 1972-74) and comma; may be followed by format (e.g., EP, or 2CD).
  5. Release date: Written as MM-DD, including '0' to pad to two digits. "-2016" indicates a 2016 release date.
  6. Flags: Used to specify genre, also whether I have heard the record. More than one may be set:
    • 1: I own a hard copy of the album (could be CDR).
    • 2: I've heard the record from a streaming or download source.
    • B: Blues/Gospel/R&B
    • C: Country/Americana/Folk
    • E: Electronica
    • H: Hip-Hop/Rap
    • J: Jazz
    • K: Classical
    • M: Metal
    • W: World, both pop and folk, including Latin
  7. Data: Multiple segments, each separated by comma (','), preferably sorted alphabetically. Each segment consists of a key (alpha abbreviation), optionally followed by colon (':') and a number, which is the rank position of the record on the list, or a plus ('+'), which indicates an unranked point, or '*N' for N points. There are two series of data: one from major sources which are scored 5 (1st place), 4 (2-5th), 3 (6-10th), 2 (11-20th), 1 (anything above 20th); then following a semicolon, one from minor sources which are generally scored 3 (1st place), 2 (2-5th), 1 (anything above 5th). The keys are listed in the legend data file (legend-data.txt). Ties aren't marked this year (in previous years they were marked '*'; sorry, I screwed up). If a list contains multiple records in a numeric slot (often by same artist), each are credited (subject to notes below). The distinction between major and minor is somewhat arbitrary, but long lists tend to count as major (even if by idiots), and short and/or unranked lists as minor.
  8. Comment: Anything else considered a comment. These appear in the output, but aren't counted.

The legend-data.txt file also consists of fields separated by '|'. They are:

  1. Key: The key for the list, used in data above.
  2. Type: How the list is counted, if any rank in the list gets more than one point: empty means everything gets one point; extra points are noted by the cutoff rank, with comma separating each tier -- e.g., "20,1" gives 2 points to everything ≥ 20 except 3 points ≥ 1.
  3. Name: The plain name for the list.
  4. URL: Where to find the list (often just the top of the list.
  5. Alt URL: An alternate (unofficial) source for the list (often these are easier to work with than the actual URL.)
  6. Comment: Any additional comments. Within this the following subfields (comma-separated) are noted:
    • RC:# Robert Christgau letter grades (1-3 stars are divisions of B+, B+ counts as ***)
    • TH:# Tom Hull letter grades

Since I don't have corresponding lists to work off of, and since I value their reviews highly, I've decided to score RC, MT, and TH as: A/A+ 5, A- 4, B+/*** 3, ** 2, * 1; omitting the 2014 (and earlier) releases. I haven't sucked up all of TH's letter grades -- only those mentioned by others.

Some general guidelines on which lists were counted (and which not):

  • Where separate "international" and "national" lists are provided, only "international" is counted. Similarly, "local" (state or city) lists are not counted.
  • Most genre lists are counted, except classical, soundtracks, Christian. I have virtually no interest in metal but have almost always counted metal lists.
  • Honorable mentions or unranked extras added to lists are generally counted, with '+' instead of rank numbers. Same for unranked lists (although unless explicitly stated, unnumbered lists are generally assumed to be top-down).
  • Format-specific lists (e.g., EPs, mixtapes) are usually ignored. EPs occurring in general lists are counted, but singles are generally not.
  • Don't bother with lists that are aggregates of other lists, figuring they're just approximations of this aggregate. Also don't bother with reader polls (although I make a couple exceptions).


The following lists have been counted:

  1. [AV] AV Club [US] () [ref link]
  2. [BB] Billboard () [ref link]
  3. [Cmp] Complex [US] (25,20,10,5,1) [link]
  4. [Cos] Cosmopolitan (,16,19,5,1) [link]
  5. [CS] Consequence of Sound [US] (25,20,10,5,1) [ref link]
  6. [DJ] Double J [Australia] () [link]
  7. [DT] Digital Trends [US] (30,20,10,5,1)
  8. [Esq] Esquire [US] () [link]
  9. [EW] Entertainment Weekly [US] () [ref link]
  10. [Ex] Exclaim! [Canada] (31,20,10,5,1) [ref link]
  11. [Fld] Flood () [ref link]
  12. [G] Guardian [UK] () [ref link]
  13. [GB] Gorilla Vs Bear [US] (,10,5,1) [ref link]
  14. [GC] Genius: Community (25,20,10,5,1) [link]
  15. [L] Louder (50,20,10,5,1) [link]
  16. [Nd] Newsday: Glenn Gamboa (,20,10,5,1)
  17. [Ne] The Needle Drop () [ref link]
  18. [NME] NME [UK] (24,20,10,5,1) [ref link]
  19. [NPR] NPR () [link]
  20. [P] Paste (,20,10,5,1) [ref link]
  21. [PCr] Pop Crush () [link]
  22. [PM] PopMatters () [link]
  23. [RS] Rolling Stone [US] () [ref link]
  24. [SC] Spectrum Culture () [ref link]
  25. [Sg] Stereogum [US] (50,20,10,5,1) [ref link]
  26. [Sk] The Skinny [UK] (,10,5,1) [ref link]
  27. [SOp] Sound Opinions () [link]
  28. [Thr] Thrillist (18,10,5,1)
  29. [Up] Uproxx: The Smoking Section (50,20,10,5,1) [ref link]
  30. [VF] Vinyl Factory () [link]
  31. [art] The Arts Desk (10) [link]
  32. [ax] AXS: Americana (10,5,1) [link]
  33. [bb6] BBC Radio 6 [UK] (18) [link]
  34. [bsb] B-Sides and Badlands () [link]
  35. [ct] Chicago Tribune [US]: Greg Kot (20,5,1) [link]
  36. [dgc] The Daily Gamecock () [link]
  37. [maj] Maura Johnston ()
  38. [mc] Marie Claire () [link]
  39. [nt] Northern Transmissions (10) [ref link]
  40. [owh] Omaha World Herald: Kevin Coffey () [link]
  41. [ri] The Ringer ()
  42. [ti] Time: Raisa Bruner ()
  43. [vu] Vulture () [ref link]