Today is July 1, that magical day that marks the start of the second half of the year. Half-year resolutions are made, traditional foods are eaten and couples kiss for good luck on half-year's eve.
OK, so none of that actually happens, but like any arbitrary point on the calendar, it's a perfect time to take a breather and reflect back.
The first half of 2011 saw a lot of really good studio albums come out. We knew we had to include Foo Fighters' Wasting Light on any best-of list for the year, and the same goes for superb efforts from Explosions in the Sky, Morbid Angel, Black Label Society and others.
That got us to 25, but we wanted 50. So we asked our trusty staff of editors to give us their picks for their favorite albums of the first half of the year. We didn't feel the need to rank these in any particular order, and we encourage all of you to check out anything that made the list that might have slipped past you so far this year.
If we missed anything, tell us in the comments!
Stay tuned for our list of this year's top live albums and reissues (so far).