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Pitchfork's Top 100 Albums of the 1970s
July 1, 2004 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Pitchfork's Top 100 Albums of the 1970s (dis|cuss|discuss).
posted by LinusMines (117 comments total)

 
I live in the northeast. If I want an irrelevant opinion from an obnoxious hipster, I can stop someone on the street.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:08 AM on July 1, 2004


What, a hipster list of 70s albums, and no Gram Parsons?
posted by bobo123 at 9:10 AM on July 1, 2004


Pichfork hasn't really heard much about that whole Disco thing that went on, have they? If Sat. Night Fever soundtrack and Off the Wall made it, at least one Donna Summer or LaBelle or Sylvester or Chic should have. /end cuss
posted by amberglow at 9:13 AM on July 1, 2004


Please tell me Jailbreak, Born To Run, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Love's So Tough, Squeezing Out Sparks, pronounced leh-nerd ske-hnerd and Bloodshot are all in the top 20, so I won't have to kill them.
posted by jonmc at 9:14 AM on July 1, 2004


001: David Bowie: Low

Uh.... okay. I understand being contrarian gives you that hipster shine, but I listened to this just yesterday, and it's great, but it's not the best album of the 70s. How could they include Low but not Heroes?

And one album by Joni Mitchell, and, predictably, Blue, instead of Hissing of Summer Lawns.

The entire collected works of the vastly overrated Iggy Pop at the expense of lots of fine stuff. Oy.

Why am I even worrying about this.

And one of the reviewers states that Remain in Light came out in 1983. Again: uh... okay.
posted by jokeefe at 9:16 AM on July 1, 2004


Low is possibly 10 albums overrated.

I feel that they like many are suckered by the "progressive Bowie Berlin years."

I feel the same way that so many are suckered by Matthew Barney. But I digress.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:17 AM on July 1, 2004


Nah, Born to Run isn't on the list at all, jonmc.

Which is just stupid.
posted by jokeefe at 9:18 AM on July 1, 2004


No Hemispheres? Bah.
posted by trharlan at 9:25 AM on July 1, 2004


throbbing gristle? wire (x3)? joy division?

i heartily approve, which means that most people will think the list is complete rubbish.

well done!
posted by malocchio at 9:26 AM on July 1, 2004


hey, tharlan, wanna beat up the new wavers?
posted by jonmc at 9:27 AM on July 1, 2004


yeah, but what good ALBUMS did they put out. They put out good singles, but not great albums. There's a difference. This is a good list. I would put a couple other albums on there. Like Eugene McDaniels- Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse, and James Brown- Pass the Peas, and Stevie Wonder- music in the Key of Life but overall its a hundred times better than all the lists I've read lately.
posted by LouieLoco at 9:32 AM on July 1, 2004


I hate commenting on these lists, especially when they're as cockamamie and half-thought-out as this one seems to be, but Low isn't even the third-best Bowie album of the '70s. Station to Station and Heroes for sure, and maybe Aladdin Sane although I may just feeling contrary right now, are all way better than Low.

Admittedly, I'm notthe hardcore Bowie fan some of you-all are, so I'll defer. But really.

(Repeat the above paragraph for Miles Davis and insert Bitches Brew, Agharta and Pangaea ahead of On The Corner. Jeezus.)
posted by chicobangs at 9:38 AM on July 1, 2004


Fuck pitchforkmedia. Royally.
posted by Sijeka at 9:38 AM on July 1, 2004


NTM, no Zappa? No Mott The Hoople? No Allman Brothers?

Communists, these Pitchfork people, all of them.
posted by jonmc at 9:39 AM on July 1, 2004


Just to get it out the way, Pitchfork absolutely sucks. What a bunch of talentless, know-nothing, trustfund-snorting, trucker-cap and ironic t-shirt wearing, Williamsburg-mincing wankers.

I mean, really, no Sabbath at all? Not even Vol. 4? To paraphrase LCD Soundsystem, this is nothing more than "borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered [70]'s".
posted by dvdgee at 9:39 AM on July 1, 2004


and as far as Bowie is concerned, COME ON, "the rise and fall of ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars" after "low"?


Muhahahahaha. Toose kids these days....
posted by Sijeka at 9:39 AM on July 1, 2004


You're all just jealous because they've got better taste than you do.
posted by rocketman at 9:42 AM on July 1, 2004


I DON'T THINK SO!
posted by Sijeka at 9:43 AM on July 1, 2004


I thought it was a pretty good list, largely unencumbered by crappy top 40 type stuff. finally some love for "here comes the warm jets!" I thought raw power should've been a little higher but funhouse at number 10 made up for it. #1 and #2 should've been swapped.

I reckon some people's anger towards pitchfork is a little embarassing. not for me, mind you.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:50 AM on July 1, 2004


Chicobangs - "but Low isn't even the third-best Bowie album of the '70s."

Outside. No, not the Bowie Album "Outside"... you Chicobangs ... outside, right now!

Another Green World in the top ten. Can't be that messed up at chart.
posted by Blue Stone at 9:51 AM on July 1, 2004


My anger towards PitchFork can be misplaced, but I think we'll all agree the mere concept of 'top 100' by a magazine (i.e not in a High Fidelity style with friends) is retarded and arrogant...

Please.
posted by Sijeka at 9:55 AM on July 1, 2004


I reckon some people's anger towards pitchfork is a little embarassing.

To who?
posted by jonmc at 9:56 AM on July 1, 2004


Well as an person with a lot of anger towards them, it might be embarassing because, well, it's difficult to explain why you hate them so much. It's an animalistic feeling... they're a bunch of arrogant journos really, setting some kind of counter-cool-fashion that's so cliché.

To the others, I don't know.
posted by Sijeka at 9:59 AM on July 1, 2004


I dunno, I have a love--(mostly)hate relationship with pitchfork, and, as a rule, other people's top '100 whatever' lists always suck... but I like the fact that it wasn't loaded down with all the shit you hear ad nauseam on the classic rock stations...
posted by crank at 10:00 AM on July 1, 2004


other people's top '100 whatever' lists always suck

I've always loved the Observer/Guardian ones.
posted by Sijeka at 10:03 AM on July 1, 2004


marquee moon made the top five, and gang of four, joni mitchell, and other good stuff made the cut.

[this is good]

BUT.

whither liege and lief, the gilded palace of sin, and (seconding jonmc) born to run? and -- for a magazine that likes its wilco and decemberists -- the absence of "the brown album" or stage fright is inexcusable.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:04 AM on July 1, 2004


My main anger with pitchfork is that they seem to lionize the garbage (Kraftwerk, Devo, Eno, Joy Division) that ruined rock and roll. And while I like Bowie just fine, he's exteremely overrated by this bunch.

but I like the fact that it wasn't loaded down with all the shit you hear ad nauseam on the classic rock stations...

No, it's loaded down with a diferrent set of cliches.

pxe: the brown album came out in 1969, but I'm with you on it's greatness.
posted by jonmc at 10:05 AM on July 1, 2004


While we can argue what made the list and what didn't, I generally enjoy/agree-with/laugh-at Pitchfork's write-ups, and I'm always reminded of a classic I'd forgotten about and need to revisit. And the vitriol here is a bit over the top - it's a subjective list of a subjective topic. It's inherently ridiculous. Of course it won't jibe with your private world view.... yeeesh.

And someday there'll be a list of music jonmc agrees with, and when that happens I'm cashing out the 401K on hookers and blow, as surely the apocalypse will be imminent.
posted by jalexei at 10:05 AM on July 1, 2004


It's an interesting list, but the omission of The Residents' Duck Stab/Buster & Glen (it is so one album) and Cabaret Voltaire's Mix Up means they can all go to hell and die.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:06 AM on July 1, 2004


I'm with you johnmc. The 70s are a decade that does not respond well to post ironic hipster revisionism. Especially when you forget to put Zappa in there. While the Bowie and Eno records listed are certainly very good, this list ignores more than it includes. And Kraftwerk? Ugh, jesus.

Music was different in the 70s. I have terrible nostalgia for the freeform classic rock stations of the 80s, which I think did the era justice. They were often fantastic radio stations. Before corporate radio came through and tore them all to pieces you could really hear some surprising and great music on the radio, AND you could listen for 10+ hours at a time and not hear the same song twice. What fantastic times. 7 sides a 7 was my fave show, where the dj picked seven album sides to be played uninterrupted.

I remember the first time I heard Perl Jam on WGRX. I knew that it was all over then and I was right. This list is just more of the same ill treatment for a great time in music.
posted by n9 at 10:24 AM on July 1, 2004


I remember the first time I heard Perl Jam

I prefer my music to be made with Python. It's a bit warmer.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:34 AM on July 1, 2004


And someday there'll be a list of music jonmc agrees with, and when that happens I'm cashing out the 401K on hookers and blow, as surely the apocalypse will be imminent.

Well, arguing with these lists is kinda the point and I could quite easily make detailed cases for the inclusion of every album I mentioned, and that's without resorting to matters of taste, since there's plenty of albums on the list that aren't my bag personally (like the german prog stuff) but that I understand belongs there due to historical importance. But I won't bore you all with that.

Not to mention their misinterpretation of Townshends use of synths on Who's Next is laughable. The synth works well on that record beacuse he managed to use it in a way that complemented The Who's traditional guitar rock fusillade perfectly not because he let it dominate, which is the mistake the synth-pop bands made. Then plenty of decent songs were buried under annoyingly bright synths and tinny drum machines.

I'm with you johnmc. The 70s are a decade that does not respond well to post ironic hipster revisionism. Especially when you forget to put Zappa in there.

Especially when you remember that Frank was probably the most capable ironist in rock history when the mood struck him. But aside from the Stones and Led Zeppelin, (who are in there on an almost obligatory basis) blues-based rock is more or less ignored by this list, which is wrong because that was an important sound of the era.
posted by jonmc at 10:36 AM on July 1, 2004


The 70s are a decade that does not respond well to post ironic hipster revisionism.

!? - That's the only thing that makes the decade palatable! (said with tongue only partially in-cheek)

Especially when you forget to put Zappa in there.

I'm reminded of that Onion story along the lines of "Your one friend really into Zappa sure you'll like him as soon as you hear the right song/album/etc." I had two friends like that. Everything they ever played for me was either dull as dirt or nigh on unlistenable. His absence here makes this a less-flawed endeavor. In my opinion, of course.

Which points to the fact that whether you dismiss them as hipsters, it's all just a difference of opinion. Which is of course the point of these lists. What’s the fun if we can’t argue about them?
posted by jalexei at 10:42 AM on July 1, 2004


OK, fair enough. But then how can the Allmans and Skynyrd be omitted? Love it or Loathe it, southern rock was one of the dominant forms of the decade and the Allmans laid the groundwork (and produced on of the only "jam" albums I can stomach with Fillmore East) and Skynyrd codified it by adding British hard-rock influence to the mix.

MD&E apoetesized the hippie soul genre, Leon Russell's arrangements are pay homage to roots while still progressing beyond them, Cocker never sang better and no other record is as beautifully raucous.

Bloodshot is a perfect example of what I call post-greaser music. It's what the kids who cut their teeth on doo-wop, Elvis, and soul but who were bored with psychedelia did when they took the reins. It's pretty much the blueprint for a million bar bands. And "Give It To Me" is the first and remains the best white reggae attempt ever.

Jailbreak proved that hard rock could embrace lyricality and soulfulness without losing it's essential balls. And "The Boys Are back In Town" and "Cowboy Song" remain the best peices of macho cock rock ever.

And aside from Bowie & T.Rex, British Glam is overlooked too. No genre aver merged the straight & gay sensibilities better. Taking the archness and theatricality from the gay side and the ham-fisted energy and street attitude from the straight side was a masterstroke. What other genre could fit fey-boy March Bolan and Yobbos like Slade under the same umbrella comfortably?

Squeezing out Sparks deserves it's place for bringing the punk sensibility to singer/songwriter music.

I could had a number of other artists like Warren Zevon, Kiss, Van Morrison, and others to the list but I've shot my critical wad for now.
posted by jonmc at 10:57 AM on July 1, 2004


Three Can albums. Not one Queen album. Feh.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:58 AM on July 1, 2004


jonmc, for the record, I'd second the inclusion of most of the LPs you mention. Certainly a Kraftwerk could drop out for, say Excitable Boy.
posted by jalexei at 11:10 AM on July 1, 2004


There's a lot of Pitchfork bashing here, but given the state of music and music criticism, I think you should give the site a second chance.

Yes, they're pretentious as hell.
Yes, their reviews are often masturbatory and discuss the music as an afterthought.
Yes, they are inclined to take the fashionable hipster slant on things.

But still, they're the largest print or online independent music journal, they cover a slew of new releases (about 20 per week), and they are situated completely outside of the ClearChannel/mainstream/70s-cock-rock sludge that's just plain shoved down our throats today. They do write a lot of good reviews and have introduced me to dozens of artists I never would have heard of (Broken Social Scene, Ellen Allien, Sufjan Stevens, M83, Manitoba, etc.) even working in a college radio station.

I read dusted magazine and a couple other publications online, but they aren't as comprehensive or updated as frequently as Pitchfork. I say don't ignore its problems, but don't ignore its positives either.
posted by themadjuggler at 11:13 AM on July 1, 2004


Human interest story: I went to high school with one of the Pitchfork critics (the one that wrote the review for album 001). He wore the same gigantic black sweater, day in and day out, for his entire high school career.

So misunderstood then, so misunderstood now.
posted by bingbangbong at 11:15 AM on July 1, 2004


I'm enough of a contrarian and a sucker for the Bowie/Eno Berlin period to be strangely delighted by Low's listing at #1... but what the fuck hipster-ass planet devoid of oxygen have we all been deposited on when yet again I must sigh heavily and say what about The Jam, you bastards?! Sheesh! Can gets 3 entries, and yet All Mod Cons doesn't even rate?

And yes, the omission of Born to Run is just inexcusable.
posted by scody at 11:16 AM on July 1, 2004


ClearChannel/mainstream/70s-cock-rock sludge that's just plain shoved down our throats today.

I don't disagree madjuggler, but then add the ClearChannel overplay does as much of a disservice to the music it plays as it does to the listener. Hearing Skynyrd played alongside Broken Social Scene, just to pick a hypothetical would be to do both a favor in terms of context. And I'd prefer either to fucking Britney/Beyonce/Janet.

So misunderstood then, so misunderstood now.

No, everyone understood him just fine, they just didn't like him.
posted by jonmc at 11:20 AM on July 1, 2004


I also want to go on record as hating the term "classic rock." It's a piece of marketing genre that tells you absolutely nothing about what the music actually sounds like. The Byrds, AC/DC and Procol Harum have all been called "classic rock" but aside from being played on the same radio stations they have nothing in common. One's folk-rock/psychedelic, one's progressive rock, one's hard blues rock/heavy metal. Let's at least make musical sense when we pigeonhole.
posted by jonmc at 11:24 AM on July 1, 2004


Definitely agreed, jonmc-- years of overplay have turned people against some pretty awesome "classic" rock-- maybe too late to reverse that, but ideally some blend on the radio would be a good start. Stations would have to figure out for themselves what should be preserved (Zeppelin, Dylan, Cars, etc.) and what shouldn't (Huey Lewis, Whitesnake, etc.).

Pragmatically, I'm happy that the digital age is helping spread the knowledge of independent and underground music scenes to a big number of people, even if it means that half of Death Cab's fans are 13 year-old girls.

On preview: Hence, "classic" in quotations.
posted by themadjuggler at 11:27 AM on July 1, 2004


OK, fair enough. But then how can the Allmans and Skynyrd be omitted?

I think it's fair to say the list at pitchfork was compiled with a different audience in mind. If you want a top 100 list full of Eagles and Skynard I'm sure there are plenty. If (the very excellent) The Wire were to put out a top 100 list I would fully understand that their idea of what was and was not 'influential' would be very different than that of most people.

No, it's loaded down with a different set of cliches.


Well so what? Didn't we have a pitchfork related thread about a month ago where jonmc on and on about how 'different' you are for listening to the same music everyone else does?
posted by crank at 11:32 AM on July 1, 2004


Stations would have to figure out for themselves what should be preserved (Zeppelin, Dylan, Cars, etc.) and what shouldn't (Huey Lewis, Whitesnake, etc.).

I think it would be great and fun if that happened. And I've always been more of a "song" guy than an artist or genre guy, and even some of the hoariest moldiest fossil bands had one or two moments of genuine inspiration worth preserving, but coversely what a lot of older rock fans don't understand is that a lot of new and indie stuff fits perfectly into that tradition (Wilco, the Fastbacks, the Bell Rays, countless others). Sure, there's plenty of stuff that'll always be marginalized because it's an acquired taste, but there's been artists like that in all eras. Some stuff (like the aforementioned) is marginalized for no good reason whatsoever.

I think it's fair to say the list at pitchfork was compiled with a different audience in mind. If you want a top 100 list full of Eagles and Skynard I'm sure there are plenty.

I'd like a top 100 list where all the good stuff, regardless of marketing niche, is included side by side. By buying into pitchfork's "different audiece" you're buying into the continued balkanization of the music scene.
posted by jonmc at 11:35 AM on July 1, 2004


Last March, I filled in on guitar with the opening band for The Wrens' midwest tour [/brag]. Our first show was in Chicago playing to around 800 loyal Wrens fans who'd come out on a really cold night. It was sponsored by the Onion and promoted by Empty Bottle. Pressure was on. The "green room" was abuzz with press people, cold cuts. I was nervous to interact with much of anyone, being allergic to most hipsters on general principle. I just wanted to the get the show started, and over with.

As I'm sitting in the corner double-fisting two Labatts, Charles from The Wrens comes over and says the worst thing he could possibly say just then: "I want to introduce someone--it's Ryan from Pitchfork". As the editor-in-chief, Ryan Schreiber could no doubt be held accountable for the off-putting tone of Pitchfork's reviews that most of you (and me) enjoy complaining about. So I braced myself for some really smug, indie snob conversation-making. But I soon found out...he was like....this....really...nice normal guy. He even let me make fun of Pitchfork and joined in a few jibes. It seems their reviewers are well aware of their reputation and occasionally play it up a bit just to get a reaction. That may not make the reviews any more of a pleasant or informative experience, but at least it was a nice surprise to learn that the head douchebag over at PFM is not a douchebag at all.

On topic: they omitted X-Ray Spex "Germfree Adolescents"? I realize I may be alone on that one ;)
posted by dhoyt at 11:35 AM on July 1, 2004


I find myself in the disturbing position of agreeing with jonmc-- and with others-- on a number of points here, especially to do with the exclusion of entire genres. A nod to non King Crimson prog would have been nice; despite its terrible reputation in the last decades, it was not only as bad as it's been painted, but was, for a few years there, both influential and hugely popular. I'd feel a lot better about this list if they included Close to the Edge and dumped The Wall (which was just as overblown and pretentious as critics have accused the whole prog genre of being).

And though I appreciate that the list is made up of what the Pitchfork critics thought were the best albums of the 70s, you have to make room for those that had the kind of impact on popular culture that Born to Run had. Grand American mythmaking, that, and though I don't love Springsteen, I'd never try to make a list of important 70s albums that didn't include it.
posted by jokeefe at 11:42 AM on July 1, 2004


On topic: they omitted X-Ray Spex "Germfree Adolescents"? I realize I may be alone on that one ;)

Nope.

And they omitted Typical Girls, and anything by Lora Logic too. *frowny disgruntled face*
posted by jokeefe at 11:44 AM on July 1, 2004


I'll second jokeefe on that, dhoyt. I once freaked out all my coworkers by doing donuts in the work parking lot playing "Oh, Bondage! Up Yours!" at peak volume.
posted by jonmc at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2004


If (the very excellent) The Wire were to put out a top 100

It's 12 years old now, but they did.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:51 AM on July 1, 2004


oops!
posted by mcsweetie at 11:51 AM on July 1, 2004


I must register a complaint in the strongest terms, on behalf of every high-school age male who grew up in the U.S. Midwest in the 1970s. No Nuge, no Seger, no Cheap Trick, no Frank Marino, no Foghat?

Oh, wait, those bands all sucked. Where do I go to get my adolescence back?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:52 AM on July 1, 2004


Other favorites that are probably too late-70s to garner a mention:

Swell Maps - "Trip to Marineville"
The Fall - "Dragnet"
Magazine - "Real Life"
Red Krayola - "God Bless the Red Krayola & All Who Sail with It"
posted by dhoyt at 12:00 PM on July 1, 2004


Really, how could they omit Black Sabbath? Too much Miles, Pink Floyd, Bowie. They could have included more bands. And where is my Judas Priest Hell Bent for Leather? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:07 PM on July 1, 2004


stupidsexyFlanders, do not deny the chocolatey goodness of Cheap Trick! There is no shame in having loved the Trick! None! Absolutely none![/Dr. Bronner's music-fan daughter]

The Nuge, on the other hand...
posted by scody at 12:11 PM on July 1, 2004


no shame in loving Seger either. befor he became a numbingly earnest balladeer, he cranked out a ton of excellent rockers like "Get Out Of Denver," "Chain' Smokin'" "east Side Story" and "Heavy Music."

And even the Nuge (buffoonish self-parody that he's become, I'll admit) had "Journey To The Center of The mind," "Free-for-all" and "Cat Scratch Fever," which while lyrically doltish, had some badass guitar.
posted by jonmc at 12:25 PM on July 1, 2004


Wow, check out all the chicks on that list! On the album covers, I mean. /snark

I count Joni Mitchell, Blondie (Deborah Harry), Fleetwood Mac (Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks), and The Velvet Underground (Mo Tucker). Four albums? Out of a hundred? Talk about cock rock.

I'm not seeking a quota here, but what about Patti Smith? Carole King? And don't flaming hipsters love The Carpenters? Or was that just in the '90s?

... they seem to lionize the garbage (Kraftwerk, Devo, Eno, Joy Division) that ruined rock and roll.

ugh.
posted by whatnot at 12:33 PM on July 1, 2004


Red Krayola - "God Bless the Red Krayola & All Who Sail with It"

1968, according to this discography. But if it was from the seventies, I would heartily agree with you.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:41 PM on July 1, 2004


jonmc: My main anger with pitchfork is that they seem to lionize the garbage (Kraftwerk, Devo, Eno, Joy Division) that ruined rock and roll.

I think most people who read pitchfork (myself included) and perhaps those who write for it are grateful that rock and roll was "ruined". In fact, I'd speculate that this set of people feel the product was better for the ruining. Regardless of whether you agree, it is not a surprise that a list made up by people who believe this came out like it is.

Of course, most of us perhaps didn't spend much time alive in the seventies. This is a list through the lens of the 80s and 90s, and it is again not a surprise that such a lens would produce this list.

jokeefe: you have to make room for those that had the kind of impact on popular culture that Born to Run had.

I'm not sure I see why the lists should have any relation to what had any impact on popular culture. Again, those of us who were not there (and I'm speculating this includes many of the pitchfork writers) wouldn't really have much of a way of knowing, and perhaps of caring. After all, pitchfork only claims to be giving a "list of its favorite albums of that decade." A list of the albums that had some impact on popular culture would be a different list.

If this all upsets you, you could always go write your own list. Of course, if it upsets you, you probably aren't one of the people the list has any pretense of speaking for. If the list isn't even trying to speak for you, why bother being upset?
posted by advil at 12:42 PM on July 1, 2004


Patti Smith Easter, for sure - that's a great one that seems to fit the spirit of their list. What whatnot said. Thanks for counting so I don't have to, and for my favorite new expression - cock rock - although I think that applies more to the heavier mainstream stuff that was left off. Maybe they thought they met quota with all the Bowie stuff.
posted by rainbaby at 12:42 PM on July 1, 2004


In fact, I'd speculate that this set of people feel the product was better for the ruining. Regardless of whether you agree, it is not a surprise that a list made up by people who believe this came out like it is.

No. It's not a surprise, which is exactly why I'm upset with it. Pitchfork claims to represent the "alternative scene" which is supposed to be all about challenging it's audience at stretching borders and opening minds, and their list is depressingly predictable cant. It's a different variety of cant from ClearChannel/ClassicRock cant, but it's cant nonetheless.
posted by jonmc at 1:06 PM on July 1, 2004


1968, according to this discography.

Ack, I'd thought it was late 70s...

they seem to lionize the garbage (Kraftwerk, Devo, Eno, Joy Division) that ruined rock and roll.

jonmc, you know i love ya, but that comment is obscene. "Rock and roll" is a concept that changes perpetually. Don't be afraid when it gets challenged. And your constant referencing of The Cure & The Smiths, et al, as examples of what went wrong with rock really dates you (and you're only slightly older than I am). You sound like a musical arch-Republican :P

Not a year will pass by before any of us are dead where LOTS of good music is written, recorded and performed somewhere on Earth. It's just a matter of finding it, being open to it and not being obsessed with how it fits within a genre.
posted by dhoyt at 1:08 PM on July 1, 2004


And your constant referencing of The Cure & The Smiths, et al, as examples of what went wrong with rock really dates you

I don't think so. That's where it started to go wrong. And I can tell you in concrete terms how those groups ruined rock and roll: whiny vocals, artsy pretensions, fey posturing, lack of aggro, lack of any R&B influence what so ever, lack of humor, and worst of all letting the fucking synths and drum machines take over. It removed what I loved from the music and was unpalatable to me. Like anyone else, that's just my opinion, but it's as valid as anyones.

You sound like a musical arch-Republican

Politics aside, there's something to that. I am very traditional about what I consider rock and roll. The boundaries can be stretched, but you do eventually reach a point where the connection has been lost. And you've all heard my opinion on where that is.
posted by jonmc at 1:19 PM on July 1, 2004


It's a very "white" list - sure, there are black artists in there, but it's basically the big names that everyone has heard of - and I can't disagree with many of those selections being in the list (except maybe "On The Corner") - but the list of white artists tends to the hipster-ish rather than the mainstream. From my point of view (white, british soul-boy) it seems hard to believe anyone can come up with a list of great 70s albums that doesn't include a single thing produced by the Mizell Brothers, just to give one example. There's not even any Weather Report or Earth Wind & Fire in there FCS!
I am also with everyone who said "Jailbreak" should be in there.
posted by pascal at 1:41 PM on July 1, 2004


And I can tell you in concrete terms how those groups ruined rock and roll: whiny vocals, artsy pretensions, fey posturing, lack of aggro, lack of any R&B influence what so ever, lack of humor, and worst of all letting the fucking synths and drum machines take over.

The Smiths had synths and drum machines?

Pitchfork claims to represent the "alternative scene" which is supposed to be all about challenging it's audience at stretching borders and opening minds, and their list is depressingly predictable cant.

But your contention is that they challenge their audience by adding albums to the list that are mainstays of every classic rock station in the country.
posted by crank at 2:48 PM on July 1, 2004


The list seems (to me) to willfully disregard impact, importance and influence, both contemporaneous and subsequent. Although "good" can be seen in isolation, "great" must be in context of broader effect.

The semi-embarassed treatment of Led Zep IV really while three (or was it four) dozen records made it on the list and get a nice serious discussion despite the fact that they meant nothing to anyone, before or since, just busts it.

Also: No Springfield? No Elton John?
posted by MattD at 3:10 PM on July 1, 2004


I think it's important to remember that this is a list that celebrates the best albums of the 70's that are influential to the kinds of bands that Pitchfork tends to like.

Jonmc, I think you are really wrong about the Cure, the Smiths, and Joy Division. Those are 3 great rock n roll bands that primarily relied on rhythm, guitars, live drums, etc. The synths and drum machines (which don't apply to the Smiths at all) are not the core of the sound, they just enhance it. You should go back and listen to some of the early stuff by all 3 groups, Johnny Marr and Robert Smith (oft overlooked) are some of the 80's greatest rock guitar players and catchiest riffsmiths.
posted by chaz at 3:23 PM on July 1, 2004


No Springfield?

Please tell me you mean Buffalo, and not Rick.

chaz, I'm not casting any judgements on you if you like them, but trust me, I've been told by countless people how terrific they are, and I've listened and I just can't get into it. Sorry. The stuff I've mentioned that i do like should tell ya that it's pretty much antithetical to my idea of rock.
posted by jonmc at 3:33 PM on July 1, 2004


Kraftwerk, Eno and Joy Division led to Jungle (via Bob Marley) and Gerald Simpson and Freq Nasty and no more needs to be said about this matter. The world is a better place with people like Skibadee and Optical in it.
posted by meehawl at 3:48 PM on July 1, 2004


But your contention is that they challenge their audience by adding albums to the list that are mainstays of every classic rock station in the country.

Actually, most of the albums I mentioned, while they are from the same era as "classic rock" are not that heavily played. I contend that they be challenged to reconsider an era that they've often rejected out of hand, with a blithe "dinosaur rock," dismissal, ignoring the hypocrisy that over the past 10 years indie rock has become as regimented and institutionalized as classic rock ever was.
posted by jonmc at 3:53 PM on July 1, 2004


Not getting into it is a subjective matter, but saying that they ruined rock n roll is another matter completely. They are totally a part of the rock tradition.
posted by chaz at 4:23 PM on July 1, 2004


the garbage (Kraftwerk, Devo, Eno, Joy Division) that ruined rock and roll.

Only if by "ruined", you mean "kicked out of the stoneage", you reactionary old fart.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:42 PM on July 1, 2004


Considering Pitchfork Media's long standing love affair with Radiohead - (OK Computer - 10.0; Kid A - 10.0; Amnesiac - 9.0; Hail to the Thief - 9.3; Top Albums of the 90's List ; Ok Computer - #1; The Bends - #15), is it any suprise that they "lionize the garbage (Kraftwerk, Devo, Eno, Joy Division) that ruined rock and roll"?

Is it revisionist history? Sure it is. Where the writers old enough to "appreciate real music" in the 1970's? No.

Looking at it that way, from a group of writers who mostly came of age during the Alternative movement of the late 1980's and early to mid 1990's (as I myself did), it totally makes sense that the most relevant music to them was the music that inspired their favorite artsts (which also answers the question of why there is so much Miles Davis on the list).

That being said: no Cheap Trick?
posted by Quartermass at 5:23 PM on July 1, 2004


If Joy Division and Kraftwerk are progress, gimme the (Rolling) Stone(s) Age any day.
posted by keswick at 5:23 PM on July 1, 2004


Only if by "ruined", you mean "kicked out of the stoneage", you reactionary old fart.

*blows kisses*

rather be an old fart than a trendmonger. Just because somethings new, dosen't make it good.
posted by jonmc at 5:45 PM on July 1, 2004


...And appreciating new music does not make someone a "trendmonger". I'm a little perplexed you'd suggest that.
posted by dhoyt at 5:49 PM on July 1, 2004


Please. Everybody calls me a boring old fart for saying that I can still appreciate the old school stuff but I listen to 20 fucking years of people telling me how great this stuff is, and I hear it, don't like it and say so, and I'm somehow the one that's being reactionary. That makes zero sense.

I've listened and appreciated plenty of punk and post-punk stuff. The Replacements, Husker Du, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and The Minutemen are as precious to me as the stuff I've mentioned, as are countless other bands you've probably never heard of from all eras. But I hate those three bands and I think their influence of popular music was profoundly negative. And y'all wanna crucify me for it.

For a buncha people who say they want to get rid of sacred cows, it seems ironic that you've created a few of your own.
posted by jonmc at 5:55 PM on July 1, 2004


Once I used to join in
every boy and girl was my friend.
Now there's revolution, but they don't know
what they're fighting.
Let us close out eyes;
outside their lives go on much faster.
Oh, we won't give in,
we'll keep living in the past.

posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:51 PM on July 1, 2004




Seen your video, the phony rock 'n' roll
We don't want to know,


....

and for what it's worth, I never "joined in." And the boys and girls were never my freind.
posted by jonmc at 7:24 PM on July 1, 2004


journalism : the final resting place for assholes with nothing to say
posted by Satapher at 7:35 PM on July 1, 2004


journalism : the final resting place for assholes with nothing to say.

Biting my tongue.

I like pitchfork, even though I dont listen to any of the stuff that they seem to live and die by, like Radiohead. But I read it and other review sites just like I read reviews for movies. I already know what I like, but I like to see other peoples opinions on things. And their reviews for crap is usually pretty funny.
posted by lkc at 10:15 PM on July 1, 2004


jokeefe: you have to make room for those that had the kind of impact on popular culture that Born to Run had.

I'm not sure I see why the lists should have any relation to what had any impact on popular culture. Again, those of us who were not there (and I'm speculating this includes many of the pitchfork writers) wouldn't really have much of a way of knowing, and perhaps of caring. After all, pitchfork only claims to be giving a "list of its favorite albums of that decade." A list of the albums that had some impact on popular culture would be a different list.


Well.... it's not just a list of a bunch of people's favourite albums of the 70s. It's supposedly a list of the best. What 'the best' means can be pretty subjective, I'll agree. But in this case-- critics and music journalists who claim to be informed and to possess some understanding of the history of popular music, 'the best' has to contain some acknowledgement of the most important musical statements of the decade. And the fact that, as you speculate, most of them weren't there at the time, and likely wouldn't care, pretty much would render this list utterly irrelevant, no?
posted by jokeefe at 10:43 PM on July 1, 2004


Peg. Steely Dan. !977.

"All rock musicians owe a 50% of their earnings to Chuck Berry" -Les Nessman

Quit being such cramp jonmmc.

Are you trying to talk people out of liking the music they like?

Cause they like the music you like too.

And I'm down with that Cheap Trick, as long as it's that early stuff.

And Tommy Bolin, whatever anyone says.
posted by dglynn at 1:14 AM on July 2, 2004


I love rock and roll.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:17 AM on July 2, 2004


Rock could be so good, but we make it all so rubbishy.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:22 AM on July 2, 2004


Your favourite 100 albums suck
posted by urban greeting at 6:14 AM on July 2, 2004


hey, a music thread! are we talking about jonmc yet?
posted by mr.marx at 6:15 AM on July 2, 2004


*puts another dime in the jukebox, baby*

Nope, I'm talking but just about the music, mr.marx.
posted by jonmc at 6:36 AM on July 2, 2004


Sometimes the truth just ain't enough
Or it's too much in times like this
Let's throw the truth away, we'll find it in this kiss
In your skin upon my skin, in the beating of our hearts
May the living let us in, before the dead tear us apart

We'll let blood build a bridge, over mountains draped in stars
I'll meet you on the ridge, between these worlds apart
We've got this moment now to live, then it's all just dust and dark
Let love give what it gives
Let's let love give what it gives
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:38 AM on July 2, 2004


Don't you know about the new fashion honey?
All you need are looks and a whole lotta money.
It's the next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways,
It's still rock and roll to me.

Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound,
Funny, but it's still rock and roll to me.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:34 PM on July 2, 2004


Joy Division "ruined rock and roll"?

What, exactly, is wrong with you, jonmc?
posted by ascullion at 4:39 PM on July 2, 2004


What, exactly, is wrong with you, jonmc?

My tastes diverge with yours is what's wrong with me. But plenty of stuff I like is pissed on all the time here. Get over it.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on July 2, 2004


I hate those three bands and I think their influence of popular music was profoundly negative. And y'all wanna crucify me for it.

You're (deliberately?) conflating the personal with the universal. No one cares if you hate a band, people do care if you say their influence is profoundly negative. Those are two very different types of opinions.
posted by cell divide at 6:00 PM on July 2, 2004


No one cares if you hate a band, people do care if you say their influence is profoundly negative. Those are two very different types of opinions.

How? The traits that I hated about those bands are the ones that influenced their countless disciples, ergo I am perfectly within my rights to say their influence was profoundly negative.

Besides, the only reason your saying this (and feel comfortable saying it) is that I'm slagging a band the majority of mefites like, even venerate. If the band in question was named Creed, Skynyrd, Twisted Sister or even Led Zeppelin, nobody would think twice about piling on in a "god, they suck" fest. Why?

Because it's the majority mefi opinion. Go ahead and try to explain to me any other way.

I'm not saying that anyone should saying that something sucks when they think it sucks, but don't cry like babies when the tables are turned.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on July 2, 2004


If the band in question was named Creed, Skynyrd, Twisted Sister or even Led Zeppelin, nobody would think twice about piling on in a "god, they suck" fest.

Some bands divide opinion, but some bands are good, and some bands suck. It's OK to say, "i like Creed, but I know they suck really", or "I hate Joy Division, but I know they're a really important band who made some very interesting music which influenced a generation".

It is not OK to say Joy Division (for example) ruined rock and roll - because it's just not true.

Whether music is good or bad is not a subjective thing - which doesn't mean it's wrong to have bad taste - but some bands are timeless and important, no matter how you feel about them.
posted by ascullion at 7:47 PM on July 2, 2004


It's OK to say, "i like Creed, but I know they suck really", or "I hate Joy Division, but I know they're a really important band who made some very interesting music which influenced a generation".

That makes zero sense.

I made the usual "Your favorite band sucks," comment and you're looking for a way to make your favorite band the exception. It's amusing to watch really.
posted by jonmc at 7:51 PM on July 2, 2004


"I hate Joy Division, but I know they're a really important band who made some very interesting music which influenced a generation".

No, my honest opinion is that Joy Division, The Cure & The Smiths made a bunch of bad music that bored the shit out of me and influenced a tiny minority of my generation into becoming self-important precious mopey art farts.

I am under no obligation to bow down to your definition of music history, my man.

And as iconoclastic as you think you are being, you sound like an old hippie who can't take somebody killing their idol.
posted by jonmc at 7:56 PM on July 2, 2004


Some bands divide opinion, but some bands are good, and some bands suck.

And you get to decide who, right? That one sentence describes everything I loathe about the modern music scene.
posted by jonmc at 7:59 PM on July 2, 2004


Jonmc,

What I've said above makes perfect sense.

The way you talk about music reduces it to a very base level - as if it's consists of nothing more than a simple subjective feeling. Are you telling me that when you sit down to read a classic novel, and find it impenetrable, you say to yourself 'I hate this, so all the academics and people who've loved this over the years are wrong'?

Good music is about more than just one person's reaction to it.

"you sound like an old hippie who can't take somebody killing their idol"

Hmm. I know that one of us does..

"my honest opinion is that Joy Division, The Cure & The Smiths made a bunch of bad music that bored the shit out of me"

Well, for a start, Joy Division and The Cure don't even belong on the same page..
posted by ascullion at 8:15 PM on July 2, 2004


Are you telling me that when you sit down to read a classic novel, and find it impenetrable, you say to yourself 'I hate this, so all the academics and people who've loved this over the years are wrong'?

You just said it yourself: " some bands are good, and some bands suck."

Sounds like a subjective feeling to me. Why are yours more valid than mine? Just answer that and I'll be satisfied.
posted by jonmc at 8:29 PM on July 2, 2004


You just said it yourself: " some bands are good, and some bands suck."

Yes, but those judgements aren't based on my immediate reaction to their music.

Why are yours more valid than mine?

It's not that my opinion is worth more than yours - a considered consensus view is worth a lot more that either of our opinions. And consensus is pretty good at picking out bands that leave a positive legacy behind. And no matter what you think, Joy Division rescued the arse-end of punk and inspired a lot of kids to be more adventurous than they otherwise would have been.
posted by ascullion at 8:41 PM on July 2, 2004


It's not that my opinion is worth more than yours - a considered consensus view is worth a lot more that either of our opinions.

So, I'm now obliged to follow a "consensus view" of musical history? Forgive me if that sounds a little too much like blind conformity for my taste, not to mention the antithesis of what rock and roll is supposed to be about.

And the first sentence of your retort is bullshit. You believe that your opinion is more valid than mine, otherwise you wouldn't feel obliged to keep posting.
posted by jonmc at 8:47 PM on July 2, 2004


and who's consensus are we talking about exactly? a small coeterie of critics? your drinking buddies? fans of a particular style? the general listening public? your aunt fanny's poodle? who?

And besides you have your vision of music and it's history. that's great. I'm well within my rights to offer my own alternative view. Sorry if it disturbs yours.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 PM on July 2, 2004


You believe that your opinion is more valid than mine

Nope, I believe everyone else's opinion is more valid than yours.
posted by ascullion at 9:17 PM on July 2, 2004


Nope, I believe everyone else's opinion is more valid than yours.

So you've polled everyone else? absolutely everyone?

God you sound like some professor trying to shove some moldy classic down peoples throat "for their own good."

I got into rock and roll to get away from that kind of thinking.

Good night.
posted by jonmc at 9:24 PM on July 2, 2004


I got into rock and roll to get away from that kind of thinking.

So who's the reactionary old duffer?
posted by ascullion at 9:29 AM on July 3, 2004


ascullion, you can call me a reuben sandwich if it makes you feel better. But I hate those bands, I hate their music and I had what they represent and I'll continue to say so.

I still can't understand why you even care what I think. And don't tell me you don't, because if you didn't you wouldn't keep hitting the post button.
posted by jonmc at 12:20 PM on July 3, 2004


To be honest, I'm having a dull weekend in work.
posted by ascullion at 12:33 PM on July 3, 2004


Maybe it's all that gloomy music making you sluggish. Crack a beer, play some Status Quo, you'll feel better.
posted by jonmc at 12:43 PM on July 3, 2004


Sorry jonmc but your criticism is weak because it boils down to hatred of the fans of Joy Division/Smiths/Cure, not the music. It's like saying you hate Led Zep because in college a lot of punking frat boys used to blast it when they threw the football around and picked on this fey art students. Or whatever.

The influence that counts in music is the musical influence, not the fashion influence on fans, whether they're art farts or jocks. You cite the minutemen as a fave band, well Mike Watt loves Joy Division/Bauhaus/etc.! Or check out this list of Joy Division covers, featuring everyone from Low to Smashing Pumpkins to U2 to Tortoise...
posted by cell divide at 4:43 PM on July 3, 2004


Sorry jonmc but your criticism is weak because it boils down to hatred of the fans of Joy Division/Smiths/Cure, not the music.

It may have begun that way, I'll admit. But I've got plenty of friends with otherwise impecccable musical taste who've told me numerous times how terrific these bands were. So I've given 'em second and third spins. This afternoon I dug out a punk box set that had "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "Boys Don't Cry" just to try it one more time. And you know what, I still hate 'em. Strictly on musical terms. The voals give me hives. The echoey guitar annoys me. I realize that's a matter of taste, but trust me it's not just some pogrom against the poufy hair brigade. I had to switch it off and jump to a Sham 69 song.

It's like saying you hate Led Zep because in college a lot of punking frat boys used to blast it when they threw the football around and picked on this fey art students. Or whatever.

I dunno about you, but while the fratboys might've listened to "Stairway To Heaven," hardcore Zep fandom in my high school was for the parking lot loadies and the headbangers (and even some of the punks). My distaste for this band is just that, my distaste. I realize that some of you will see me as mr. classic rock guardian for defending these unfashionable (at MeFi) groups, but that's simply not the way it is. I listen to an incredibly wide variety of stuff. So hanging the anachronistic aging rocker tag on me dosen't work either. As far I'm concerned the best of old-school rock and the best of punk & post punk have more in common with eachother than most people realize. But this stuff I don't like and think it's importance was overrated.

But in the three separate "Creed Sux" threads we've had (and I'm not a big Creed fan, I just don't hate them) people felt completely comfortable dumping on not just the music, but the fans and the culture surrounding them. Why is that fine, but dissing the Cure/Smiths/Joy Division/Depeche Mode(I hate them too) somehow not?
posted by jonmc at 5:51 PM on July 3, 2004


But in the three separate "Creed Sux" threads we've had (and I'm not a big Creed fan, I just don't hate them) people felt completely comfortable dumping on not just the music, but the fans and the culture surrounding them. Why is that fine, but dissing the Cure/Smiths/Joy Division/Depeche Mode(I hate them too) somehow not?

I don't know why you're lumping Depeche Mode and The Cure in with The Smiths and Joy Division - but the latter two bands had artistic integrity and brought something new and challenging and wonderful into the world (whether you like the music or not).

Creed (what an odd example to pick) did not, and are therefore just taking up space. So dumping on them is totally justified. It's simple, really.
posted by ascullion at 5:54 PM on July 3, 2004


Creed (what an odd example to pick)

Well, it's the most obvious example, but I could include the entire genre of heavy metal (with the exception of a few critically approved bands) and a large percentage of classic rock (a term I still hate) if you wanna make it a more fair comparison.

Creed (what an odd example to pick) did not, and are therefore just taking up space. So dumping on them is totally justified. It's simple, really.

That's backed up by what other than you're personal taste? I mean Motley Crue (a band that I personally think was overrated as hell) spawned tons of imitators so their influential and important, right? Following you're logic, anyway.

Besides artistic integrity has little to do with what's in the grooves. Motown was an assembly line business run with it's eye strictly on the bottom line. The Monkees were a complete corporate creation. But some great music came out of both.

I don't know why you're lumping Depeche Mode and The Cure in with The Smiths and Joy Division

Because they all sound alike to me. If it's any consolation my girlfreind liked the Cure song and loves "How Soon Is Now."
posted by jonmc at 6:05 PM on July 3, 2004


I don't know why you're lumping Depeche Mode and The Cure in with The Smiths and Joy Division

Because they all sound alike to me.


There it is. Proof that jonmc has never listened to any of them.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:56 PM on July 3, 2004


There it is. Proof that jonmc has never listened to any of them.

Not necessarily: Slim Whitman, Roy Clark and Toby Keith all sound basically "the same" to me, even though I'm conscious of radical differences.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:31 AM on July 4, 2004


chaz, I'm not casting any judgements on you if you like them, but trust me, I've been told by countless people how terrific they are, and I've listened and I just can't get into it.
...
I contend that they be challenged to reconsider an era that they've often rejected out of hand, with a blithe "dinosaur rock," dismissal, ignoring the hypocrisy that over the past 10 years indie rock has become as regimented and institutionalized as classic rock ever was.


see, I think it's this hypocrisy that gets people upset with you on these threads. You have an almost solipsistic view about music preference - that somehow you're the only one who "really" expresses his personal experience with the music; that everyone else is just following the crowd or being pretentious or rejecting things out of hand, and if they'd only listen, they'd see your opinions were the rights ones.

Well, the fact is that a lot of the pitchfork types spend huge amounts of time listening to music and discover the music that moves them the same way you do. When I was in junior high, I listened to pink floyd & led zep, and loved them. In high school, someone introduced me to the cure & the smiths, and I was blown away. I didn't care about the fashions or who was into the music or anything like that. I just liked to sit alone in my room and listen to those albums. I actually liked the music. This is true of many people with different taste than you. Most "alternative" types don't "break down the boundaries" for the sake of breaking boundaries, but for the sake of finding and sharing music they actually think is good.

and by the way, if you think the smiths had 'no sense of humor', you were apparently listening to a different band than I was...
posted by mdn at 2:42 PM on July 4, 2004


that everyone else is just following the crowd or being pretentious or rejecting things out of hand, and if they'd only listen, they'd see your opinions were the rights ones.

This argument got boring about two days ago, but out of respect for you, mdn, I will let you know that's not what I'm contending at all. I have no doubt that you and plenty of other people who like the bands I slagged do so sincerely, and that's absolutely fine. There's literally no accounting for taste.

What bothers me is the hypocrisy of people going bananas when I slag off stuff I hate, but slagging off stuff that the majority of mefites hate is OK. That's all. It just seems like a double standard.

The whole Smith/Cure/Depeche Mode/Joy Division hatred probably only got so virulent from years of people saying "You just don't get it," as if I was only smart enough, I'd just love them and see the error of my ways, that's gotten under my skin. But at this point I'm ready to let the whole thing go, since nobody's mind ever gets changed about this kinda stuff. Which is depressing, since I spend a whole lotta time talking about the stuff I like at my own site, but this tells me that it's not worth the aggravation.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 PM on July 4, 2004


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