I'm not a list person, so I'm not much of a year-end list person. But I'm fascinated by people who are. As I mentioned before, I've enjoyed watching Scott at Pretty Goes with Pretty rummage through a year of listening in a series of lists laced with self-scrutiny.
Geoffrey Himes wrote as clear a defense of year-end lists as I've seen, even if I think there's a straw man or two in his writing.
I love year-end 10-best lists. I love getting tips on albums I had ignored or never heard of. I love watching my colleagues forced out of the comfort zone of easy generalizations such as "This is good" and "That is bad" and compelled to make the finer, more difficult distinctions between the "good," the "really good" and "the really, really good." I love to see how other listeners organize the chaos of a year's worth of music into the architectural order of a list. I love the story - or at least the psychological profile - that emerges.
Me, I like the psychological profile, too, but more in how obsessive listers seem. PGWP has been at it for a couple of weeks now, and though Himes was asked for his Top 10, he listed and organized a full 100. Since I couldn't rank with any certainty albums 7, 8 and 9 in a list I'd make, I'm slightly in awe of his ability to sort out anything from mid-60s on.
... and here's another who knows the difference between No. 87 and No. 88.