The end of 2014 is in sight, so it's time to devote ourselves to the daunting task of attempting to summarize the musical output of an entire year. Over the next three weeks we're going to tackle the best releases of a few dozen genres and formats, so be sure to keep an eye out for your favorites, whether it's metal or jazz or Americana. We're starting with our editors' overall best-of list, then we'll narrow our gaze to individual genres.

Also, we have a few ways you can participate in the end of the year madness.

1) Rate albums! We'll be presenting our readers with a "Best of 2014" poll next week, and we need you to rate your favorite albums of 2014 to make them eligible for our ballot.

2) Make your own "Best of 2014" list and share it. You could end up winning some AllMusic swag (t-shirt or hoodie) for your efforts.