The Mojo Collection is a book with a page devoted to each of 700+ records that the Mojo hive mind thinks you ought to own. I decided to use it to test my theory that 1976 was a low point in music. In the 3rd Edition (Canongate 2003), which is the one on my book shelf, here are the number of records, not counting compilations, for each year of the 70s.
Year - Records in Mojo Collection
1970 - 36
1971 - 34
1972 - 35
1973 - 25
1974 - 18
1975 - 18
1976 - 13
1977 - 25
1978 - 19
1979 - 20
The 13 records from 1970 were records by June Tabor, Thin Lizzy, Kiss, Steve Miller Band, Ramones, Aerosmith, Parliament, Rush, Boz Scaggs, Stevie Wonder, Abba, The Eagles, and Johnny 'Guitar' Watson. It's a list that may illustrate the point I was trying to make a few posts ago a little better than the list I chose for that post.
I think it's quite proper that the count bounced back strongly in 1977, but I was surprised 1978 and 1979 didn't compete more successfully with the early 70s. I suppose almost all rock critics have a bias towards the 60s and early 70s, but it may also be an appropriate indication that the golden age of the album had come and gone by the mid 70s and never really came back strong. There were definitely good punk albums, good new wave albums, and to a lesser extent good disco albums, but all three genres were stronger singles genres than album genres.
2002, the last year covered in full by the 3rd edition of the Mojo Collection contributes 24 records (i.e. CDs). I find it hard to believe that 2002 was really a better year than 1978, particularly when they left off Neko Case's Blacklisted, which I think was the best record of 2002. They do include Calexico, who played with Neko on that record, in the short partial list for 2003. Whether the format is records, CDs, or digital downloads, I guess we've bounced back from 1976. I feel like last year (2011) was something of a lull as well, and I expect we'll bounce back from that too.