Thursday, December 16, 2010

Year end lists.

Year end lists.

Let me begin by saying most year-end “best of” lists are total bullshit. 99.9% of the time they reflect what a music writer / editorial staff THINKS should be perceived as “the best” instead of just having the balls to pick what they actually find enjoyment in. (That said, some people just have zero taste no matter what, so what’re you gonna do?)

So there’s that.

That said, I usually enjoy crafting my own year-end list. I like the fact I can look at past lists – for instance this one – and there is stuff on there I still like listening to years later. If something is on your “best of” list and you’re still not listening to it a year later that’s a pretty good indication your list was dishonest to begin with, crafted based on trying to attract cool points versus displaying an honest to god opinion.

This year, despite all the platitudes that this was “finally one of the best years for music after a long drought,” I am having difficulty crafting a list of truly outstanding music. I realized this last night as I listlessly scrolled through the tankPHONE at the bus stop, a device largely loaded with recent music I need to familiarize myself with or have recently written about, and I realized there was nothing on there I wanted to listen to. I finally settled on all the LCD Soundsystem albums on shuffle. And it made me realize that while, yes, a great deal of good music has been released this year I’m not so sure a good deal of great music has been released this year.

I am certain I will be able to fill out my top ten (possibly twenty) favorite albums, but it’s not going to involve great fretting over what gets bumped to make room for something else as might have happened in past years.

So what’s your take? Has there been a deluge of awesome music and I’ve just grown into such an old coot that I can’t appreciate it? Am I right that things continue to grow ever more broadly mediocre? Or, and here’s the age thing again, have I just gotten to the point that I’m secure liking what I like and can call out others who are more self conscious? Feel free to weigh in.

10 comments:

Paul said...

With a few exceptions, the album is dead. Viva la singles!!

I get what you're saying about dishonesty in listmaking. I always try to honestly assess what I'm including over what I'm not including, but that still doesn't guarantee I'll be listening to it a year later. Something I loved in 2008 may not be something I love now, just that simple. My tastes change all the time, and I tend to see my own year-end lists as snapshots.

Tankboy said...

And of course I count you in the o.1%.

Seitz said...

I think 2010 has been a pretty good year for music. I thought 2009 was impressive, but I think 2010 has been even better. There's a lot of stuff I really expected to be in 10 favorites that weren't there when all was said and done, but they were still really good records.

I feel the same way about year end lists, which is why I qualified my own this year as my "10 favorite" as opposed to "10 best" of "top 10". I'm counting them down by the day (I'll be done tomorrow), but if you're interested, you can start here or here. I'm pretty sure I give you credit for turning me on Free Energy.

Abbytron said...

Maybe it's just because I try to listen to as much music as I possibly can each year, but as far as I'm concerned, there isn't a year that goes by that doesn't have some great music. Maybe some years have more than others, but all of them have some. This year ... well, this year may have had more than others. But then, everyone has different tastes. Whatever the reason that you haven't been wowed in 2010, it's what it is, and that's okay. Like what you like, no matter why. In that case, at least your list will be genuine, and that's what will make it good.

TC said...

I'm too lazy to even think about it, then again I'm also jaded and I don't know that there was anything that made me really lose my mind, nor has there been for several years.

Tankboy said...

Seitz - I'll check out your list in a bit.

Abbytron - Agreed!

TC - You're just an old fogey like me!

Bill V said...

I enjoy albums more than songs, but there is a place for it all. Yes some great stuff this year, also lots of good stuff. Have a drink or a smoke and get to work on that list, I bet you'll have no problems once you get going. Cheers!

Shoeshine Boy said...

I still expect your list on Monday.. ;-)

Alisa said...

Yeah, Tankboy, release that list. :) Inquiring minds...

Tankboy said...

It's going up today!