-- Before you begin, make sure you pre-empt your list by saying/blogging/writing in your journal that there weren't many great albums out this year and that music sucks in general right now. If you don't, people will assume that you derive pleasure out of making lists about your favorite things. And that's soooo unhip.
-- Remember to include at least one (but no more than 3) hip hop albums. This shows that you are receptive to all types of music (except everything but rock and hip hop) and that you are "down." Don't get fancy, stick with what works: Kanye, Outkast, and A Tribe Called Quest are always safe, even if they didn't release an album this year.
-- If you don't plan on naming a couple of Import albums that don't come out in this country until the Spring of next year then stop reading right now.
-- This should go without saying, but be sure to include one band that nobody's ever heard of. This is a good time to list your friend's band's 3 track EP that he gave you one night when you were out drinking. Including his band's album on your list accomplishes two things: 1) it's a safe bet they're completely unknown, and 2) it makes him happy. Hooray.
-- Don't include your actual favorite album. It may have been good when you started listening to it, but now it's cliche. Deal with it.
-- Make sure to include an album that just came out. This will lead people to believe that you got an advanced copy months ago and had plenty of time to get into it. But WARNING- BE CAREFUL- make sure it's not something that will become popular or produce a radio-friendly single in the next couple of months. Nothing will kill your indie cred than including the next Killers on your next Hip List.
-- To really drive home the point that you're not mainstream, add a list of "Albums that just missed the cut." There-- and ONLY there-- do you include the bands that had a song on the radio in 2005. That way you can look at everybody else's lists and say "Oh... Bloc Party? Yeah, they just missed the cut on my list. What, you had Silent Alarm at number 2? Ouch."
-- Speaking of Bloc Party; If you MUST include them you better rank the Remix album higher than the actual album. You know, to make a point.
-- And finally, the best advice of all: don't make an End of the Year 'Best Albums' list. Because you, like, don't have the time for that kind of stuff. Totally. Totally.