Join 3,439 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A prize goes to whomever does the best pastiche of a prominent poster from last year's version of this thread.
December 19, 2005 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Everyone is aware, I'm sure, that year-end or best–however many lists are really just not that interesting, and the discussion surrounding them falls along similar lines all the time. However, someone always links to them anyway. Here's Pitchfork's, of the top 50 albums of this year. Here's some guy's top ten of 2004. Two writers for Dusted (the rest to be linked from this page, theoretically). Stylus Magazine's picks, and those of Pop Matters.
posted by kenko (108 comments total)

 
panopticon indeed.
posted by panoptican at 12:00 AM on December 20, 2005


Sites which unfortunately did not have lists up at the time of this post's composition, and might not ever, include All About Jazz, One Final Note, Chronicles of Chaos, Absolute Punk, Perfect Sound Forever (which I think never does, though they do have an appreciation of Madonna up now), Metal Observer, Ruthless Reviews, Satan Stole My Teddybear, Bagatellen, and fake jazz/
posted by kenko at 12:03 AM on December 20, 2005


All the cool kids have started using slashes to terminate their sentences/
posted by kenko at 12:04 AM on December 20, 2005


And I'll get the ball rolling on albums that are neglected. My favorite this year was Axes by Electrelane. It isn't on any list I've seen. WTgoddamnF?

There's also this aggregator.
posted by panoptican at 12:08 AM on December 20, 2005


That's a lot of lists. Personally I can almost never remember what, of what I've heard, was released when.

I suppose the Village Voice will have their Pazz & Jop list out at some point as well, and some other year-end lists.
posted by kenko at 12:22 AM on December 20, 2005


One more: The 1000 Top Songs of The Last 30 Years.
posted by sofocles92 at 12:33 AM on December 20, 2005


All I have to say is Hell Yeah to Sufjan being picked #1 on Pitchfork's list.
posted by adzm at 12:41 AM on December 20, 2005


All I have to say is Hell Yeah to Sufjan being picked #1 on Pitchfork's list.

Amen. But the Animal Collective album is better. Seriously. Give it a few months.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:20 AM on December 20, 2005


second the Sufjan for number 1 - also digging the Wolf Parade and Imogen Heap.
posted by johnny novak at 1:29 AM on December 20, 2005


if "year-end or best–however many lists are really just not that interesting" (which I agree with) then why this post?????

'tis a mystery, ehhh?
posted by HuronBob at 2:22 AM on December 20, 2005


Gutted. Read about Sufjan's album when it came out and meant to nab it. Then promptly forgot about it. Will have to grab it over Xmas break if I can find a copy.
Of course my indie-hipster creds are now revoked as I'm buying it after it hit #1 on a top X list...

Is it true that the plan is to have one album per state?
posted by slimepuppy at 2:39 AM on December 20, 2005


Also, that top 1000 list... You have got to be fucking joking...

I don't care if you can illegally download the mp3s. Listening to even half of those songs will make you sterile.

I mean, c'mon! Haddaway, Bryan Adams, Venga Boys, Ace of Base and bloody Celine Dion!

I choose death.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:44 AM on December 20, 2005


there should a Godwin equivalent for the use of the word hipster on Metafilter.
posted by johnny novak at 3:05 AM on December 20, 2005


I'm officially old. I have only heard of one of the artists in Pitchfork's top 10, and the only reason I know about him is because of something he said on a New Orleans benefit tv show.
posted by psmealey at 3:19 AM on December 20, 2005


johnny novak, does that mean I win?
posted by slimepuppy at 3:26 AM on December 20, 2005


These lists always read like a resume for someone trying to build up his indie cred.

Just once I would love to see a smug critic put something totally mainstream on his list amidst all the earnest, self-aware bands. Like, right in between Songs Written on a Bleak Afternoon in Prague and This Album Title is Really an Obscure Reference to a 13th Century Philosopher, there would be the latest offering from Papa Roach, with the explanation that it makes the critic feel like a pre pubescent boy just discovering his dick, and he likes that.
posted by grey_flap at 3:27 AM on December 20, 2005


Another vote for Animal Collective and Sufjan Stevens. Animal Collective were also the best live act I saw this year with a show that started good, then around 40 minutes in suddenly went transcendental and roared off the map. That's twice I've seen them do that. Chaps.
posted by rikabel at 4:00 AM on December 20, 2005


grey_flap, just because you like mainstream music doesn't mean others are pretending to like what they like and actually secretly agree with you. The Pitchfork writers quite genuinely like this stuff.
posted by dydecker at 4:27 AM on December 20, 2005


I really don't like mainstream music. It's just that every year (and this is not inclusive to Pitchfork) I am left wondering if any of these critics secretly listen to something besides bands that half the population never heard of.
posted by grey_flap at 4:31 AM on December 20, 2005


Kanye West is extremely mainstream...

If I can hear "Gold Diggah" (or however the hell the word digger has been "urbanised") in umpteen high street shops and see it advertised as a downloadable ringtone on TV, I would classify it as mainstream.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:35 AM on December 20, 2005


grey flap, I am the exact opposite. I think most of these lists are boringly conversative! :)
posted by dydecker at 4:48 AM on December 20, 2005


One problem I have with these lists as I get older is that a year starts to seem like an insignificantly short time over which to measure greatness. How about the 100 greatest songs of all time? - taken from a chart by UK Magazine Mojo compiled in 2000 by rocklist.
posted by rongorongo at 4:50 AM on December 20, 2005


How about the 100 greatest songs of all time?

What a strange list. Britney Spears is snuggled between Leadbelly and the Buzzcocks.
posted by grey_flap at 4:53 AM on December 20, 2005


And I bet they're loving every second of it.
posted by chrismear at 4:59 AM on December 20, 2005


I haven't really listened to much new music this year, so I'm not qualified to comment. But have your fun.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 AM on December 20, 2005


psmeealey:

the thing about "feeling old" because one doesn't recognize bands on an alt top-50 list: after you turn 30, unless you work in the music business, you have to work to stay even vaguely conversant with the scene. That good ambient information flow that bathes one in college and grad school and group houses most often stops once one "settles down" into a nuclear configuration. Then, the question is: are you willing to put in the time to read the music mags and hit the music blogs and spend your discretionary income on bands X, Y, and Z, or are you too engaged in finding a "real" job or making partner or applying for grants and spending your money on heating fuel or cloth diapers or whatever? Following music, remaining au courant, is always a labor of love, one done mostly unselfconsciously. But it is work. That's why so, so many people only hear "new" music when their kids get up to their tweens and teens and bring, first, pop fodder, then rebel rawk™ into the house.
posted by the sobsister at 5:48 AM on December 20, 2005


which is precisely why breeders shouldn't be allowed to vote either.
posted by dydecker at 6:02 AM on December 20, 2005


This thread is really just not that interesting.

Oh, and MeTa.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:07 AM on December 20, 2005


My question is: How the hell is John Vanderslice's Pixel Revolt not on any of these lists?
posted by rbf1138 at 6:24 AM on December 20, 2005


the sobsister writes "unless you work in the music business, you have to work to stay even vaguely conversant with the scene. That good ambient information flow that bathes one in college and grad school and group houses most often stops once one "settles down" into a nuclear configuration."

Well, the alternative is to just have some music on in the background that doesn't suck. If you live anywhere near a college that has a good radio station there's no reason you can't get a dose of the new stuff while driving, working, etc. What with the ubiquity of computers at work, fire up an audio stream from somewhere. I'm over 30, out of grad school (albeit recently), distinctly not a music industry hipster, don't spend any time reading music mags, and I've heard of many of these bands simply because I can hear them on the (non-corporate) radio.

Would be nice if more people had access to radio that didn't suck, but that's not going to happen until ClearChannel is driven out of business.

Personally I liked the Sufjan Stevens stuff I've heard but for my money LCD Soundsystem is just more fun to listen to. I'm getting more than a little tired of the slow melodic soulful "I am so earnest, hear me sing about my pain" kind of music that seems to be all the rage... I nearly dismissed "John Wayne Gacy" as the same sort of stuff until one morning when I actually paid attention to the lyrics, and then the evil genius of the song got me.

Kirth Gerson writes "This thread is really just not that interesting."

Then don't fucking read it. Nobody made you click the link.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:45 AM on December 20, 2005


I hear you the_sobsister. I am closer to 40 than to 30 at this point, but I still try to keep up. I have an emusic.com account, I listen to the local college radio station (western connecticut u's which is surprisingly good), I still have a sub to Magnet, and I do troll the indie record stores every now and again looking for something new, interesting or off the beaten track. The past few years, I probably owned (or listened to) and average of 3 entries in the Pitchfork to 10 and a handful in the top 50, but this year, I am shut out. I think I turned a corner somewhere.
posted by psmealey at 6:49 AM on December 20, 2005


Just once I would love to see a smug critic put something totally mainstream on his list amidst all the earnest, self-aware bands.

So grey_flap, Stylus's top songs list for this year starts with The Mountain Goats, Lee Ann Womack, Young Jeezy, followed by M83. That's gotta count, right?
posted by Hubajube at 7:11 AM on December 20, 2005


I haven't listened to too many of these albums, but I want to nod in agreement with the Pop Matters pick for #1: Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers. I've been listening to this album non-stop for two weeks, and I can't seem to get tired of it. I think it's their strongest to date. Better than Mass Romantic or Electric Version.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:22 AM on December 20, 2005


Pop Matters: The boring guy who thinks that owning a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album makes him really into music, cornering you at a bar and trying to explain just what he thought of the whole year.

Pitchfork: We try really, really hard to be hip. All other people who would like to be hip but don't want to put in the effort can read this list and feel slightly superior to the Pop Matters dude.

Stylus: We like the same things as Pitchfork, but you'll never catch us admitting it.

Dusted: Fuck all y'all, we have decent writers and no one reads us anyway, so we might as well put interesting bands in our lists (we're so cool that we don't even number 'em!)

The Stylus and Dusted lists were the only ones that weren't wildly conservative and full of boring-as-fuck played-out pseudo-indie. "Oh yeah, and we have to put Arular on there, otherwise the multi-culti popists will revoke our cred!"
posted by klangklangston at 7:26 AM on December 20, 2005


Pitchfork perpetuates shit.
Order of events:

1. Hype crappy band.
2. Band releases mediocre rock album.
3. Spazz out over perceived greatness of band in order to save face.
4. Token "tastemaker" purchases CD because it has pitchfork seal of approval.
5. Tastemaker's friends purchase CD to be equally cool.
6. Crappy band is undeservedly successful/flavor of the month.
7. Repeat.

Basically, what Pitchfork is doing is the same thing that Rolling Stone does but with pseudo-obscure bands. The mainstream shits their pants over the Killers and the Vines and generic crap like that. Underground shits their pants over Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and generic crap like that.

Best album on that list [in my personal and fallible opinion] is Konono Nr. 1's Congotronics.
posted by cloeburner at 7:34 AM on December 20, 2005


Cloeburner for the win.
posted by klangklangston at 7:36 AM on December 20, 2005


Can anyone with more patience than I have tell me if Studio Pankow is on any of those lists?
posted by fleetmouse at 7:49 AM on December 20, 2005


Underground shits their pants over Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and generic crap like that.

Generic..... crap?

Your choice of weapons, at dawn, sir.
posted by jokeefe at 7:53 AM on December 20, 2005


De gustibus non disputandum est, which is Latin for don't have a fistfight over which is the most awesome AC/DC song ever.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:01 AM on December 20, 2005


Because it's totally Hell's Bells.
posted by klangklangston at 8:02 AM on December 20, 2005


Let's just agree to disagree.

Shake on it?
posted by cloeburner at 8:02 AM on December 20, 2005


Hmmmm, I would have said Back in Black, but whatever.

:eyelid twitches:
posted by fleetmouse at 8:04 AM on December 20, 2005


I must admit, I'm partial to the Mark Kozelek cover of "You Ain't Got a Hold on Me".
posted by cloeburner at 8:07 AM on December 20, 2005


My favourite of the year is the hand in this video.
posted by funambulist at 8:23 AM on December 20, 2005


I was surprised I liked the Kanye West album so much.

But you can take Antony & the Johnsons all the way back to sad vibrato land.

2005 is a good year for music - for a few years I lost hope, but things sound great all around me.

And great techno/house is all over the charts!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 8:29 AM on December 20, 2005


No mention of Tiga's Sexor, one of the most FUN albums to come out all year. Better than Arular, certainly, even though it does have a couple of mediocre covers. (And doesn't have his best cover: Hot in Herre.)

Hell's Bells! Because of the giant bell sounds. Back in Black is second.
posted by klangklangston at 8:48 AM on December 20, 2005


funambulist, thanks. That was wonderful.
posted by Evstar at 8:52 AM on December 20, 2005


Here's my top ten (self-link) of electronica and hip-hop.
posted by hyperizer at 9:06 AM on December 20, 2005


Man, Pitchfork really hated Rehearsing My Choir, huh? I've seen three of their writers pick on it now. The album has really been growing on me.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:31 AM on December 20, 2005


grey_flap, you're kidding, right? The token mainstream pick has been a staple of indie best-of-year lists for years now.

Pitchfork is alright by me these days, mainly because of Twee as Fuck.
posted by chrominance at 9:38 AM on December 20, 2005


Hyper: You liked the One Be Low album? Ever hear any of his Binary Star stuff? I was kinda disappointed with his long acronyms...
If you dig him, have you been looking into the rest of the Sub crew? Majestic Legend is fantastic!
posted by klangklangston at 9:48 AM on December 20, 2005


Ken Tucker's list, from Terry Gross today.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:10 AM on December 20, 2005


My favorite album of the year didn't make anybody's list. I WIN.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:15 AM on December 20, 2005


De gustibus non disputandum est

Heh heh. He said sputum.
posted by psmealey at 10:48 AM on December 20, 2005


My favorite album of the year didn't make anybody's list. I WIN.

I think I got you beat... my favorite album of the year hasn't been released. I've listened to it so often that it's literally appearing in my dreams.

It's also by a MeFite... Fake's You Are Not Dead is terrific. I got it from him a few months ago and have been trying to get it into some helpful hands. Barring that turning into something I've encouraged him to make a site for it and post it to Projects and he's considering it.

I did get it to Dan Snaith (Manitoba) and Xian Hawkins (Sybarite) who are both giving it listens. Xian said he thought it was quite fresh so at least I'm not crazy in my admiration for it.

Hopefully he won't mind if I share 3 tracks with the rest of Metafilter. Give it a listen and let him know what you think. Contact info is in the mp3 tags. (It's awesome loud or thru headphones. )
posted by dobbs at 10:53 AM on December 20, 2005


Hipster trash. Needs more metal. No Red Sparowes on their list...until I see a list with "At The Soundless Dawn" by Red Sparowes in the top 5 I'm not taking any of them seriously.
posted by baphomet at 11:13 AM on December 20, 2005


I'm going with PopMatters, their list had Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Queens of the Stone Age, Kayne West and Elbow...all bands I actually dug this year.

Baphomet, my friends have been praising Ulver and Opeth too.
posted by black8 at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2005


I haven't heard Majestic Legend yet. Thanks for the tip klang, I'll check him out!
posted by hyperizer at 11:34 AM on December 20, 2005


I haven't heard Rehearsing My Choir yet, but it has been getting poor reviews in many places. I like the concept of the album, but it kind of sounds like the application may be a bit off. Dunno, I guess I'll have to go listen to it to figure it out.
posted by edgeways at 11:36 AM on December 20, 2005


Underground shits their pants over Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and generic crap like that.

C'mon. Just for fun, name more "generic" bands aside from the really, really good ones ... Okkervil River? Right.

To the uninitiated, I suppose all rock music sounds the same. It's like all those Underworld songs that sound the same to me. ;)

"the foolhardy lack of restraint that separates Wolf Parade from its peers, lupine or otherwise" - agreed. gets my vote for #1. I must be one of the few who doesn't "get" M.I.A...

random shouts out to Okkervil River, Andrew Bird, and the Editors. huzzah! a good year for music. Points off to the formerly lovable Mountain Goats for only releasing a limited edition LP ... local shouts out to Tussle, Junior Panthers, Giant Value, The Mall, Dengue Fever ... oh, I'm sure there's somebody really good I missed - Mates of State rule! (but we need a new album!) ... *music starts* cut that damn music off! i'd also like to thank the Gorillaz for the funnest dance tracks of the year, Boards of Canada for hoaxing a bunch of anxious Ikes, the Books for staying the Books, dEUS for keeping it Belgian, Cardigans for keeping it Swedish (sorta) *music swells* ... weenradio!

on preview: woohoo, Red Sparrowes! "Alone And Unaware, The Landscape Was Transformed In Front Of Our Eyes" made it onto my brother's xmas mix. I wouldn't say top 5, but certainly top 50 for me this year.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:37 AM on December 20, 2005


Pitchfork is always a hilarious read. I guess Eminem didn't have a new album out this year? I could have sworn they already put out a list of "the 50 best albums of the first half of 2005," but it doesn't seem to be in their archives.

Chad Vangaalen, The Occasion, and Single Frame are my obscure picks for this year. Overall I agree that it's been a good year for rock music, though, a lot of outstanding albums came out in '05.
posted by whir at 11:58 AM on December 20, 2005


whir, I also picked Chad Vangaalen (top 5 at least).
posted by matildaben at 12:05 PM on December 20, 2005


Er, I forgot Magestik Legend is One Be Lo's producer. Anyway, I'll check out the rest of the crew....
posted by hyperizer at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2005


I can't believe Art Brut is Pitchfork's #3. I bought it because I kind of love Rob Mitchum and feel the need to do whatever he says. Sometimes that works out ok, as with Fiery Furnaces and Architecture in Helsinki. But when Rob and I disagree, we really disagree. Art Brut is great if you're the kind of fan who thinks that the Ramones are the greatest band ever. But....no.

Also, I find that a little Sufjan goes a long way. My favorites this year were the Mountain Goats, New Pornographers, Bloc Party, and the aforementioned Fiery Furnaces and Architecture. But there are still a lot of things that I want to get.
posted by 912 Greens at 12:21 PM on December 20, 2005


Yeah, Vangaalen's Infiniheart is a great album. I confess to feeling a little sense of pride when my favorites slip under the radar, which ironically is the very same elitist attitude that really irritates me about a lot of the writing on Pitchfork and its ilk.

On the other hand, I genuinely do like a lot of the music on Pithfork's list, especially the Sleater-Kinney and Wolf Parade albums. But what can you do?
posted by whir at 12:28 PM on December 20, 2005


Pitchfork did not like Red Sparowes. I kind of tend to agree with them... I mean, that ground has been pretty thoroughly covered, hasn't it? Are Godspeed You! Black Emperor even still together?

Maybe they're good live.

And by the way, anyone deriding a best-of list as "hipster trash" for not including their favorite instrumental post-rock band strikes me as a little....misguided.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:32 PM on December 20, 2005


Cloeburner - to dismiss all of Pitchfork's reviews as mere hype-machine trash is ridiculous, and kind of missing the point of it. Yeah, they hype up stuff, and sometimes it sucks like Art Brut or Wolf Parade, but sometimes it's great, like most of the tracks on The Arcade Fire or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which judging by your label of "generic," you haven't ever listened to. It's up to you to find out what's good and what's not.

Furthermore, they don't just hype some randomly chosen band - CYHSY for instance was getting huge buzz among bloggers and showgoers before they got touched by Pitchfork.

I owe a lot of my music collection to Pitchfork, not because I buy everything they give over a 7.5, but because they expose me to albums I would never otherwise have heard of, and as long as the reviews aren't total bullshit, I have half an idea as to whether I'd like it.

And in my humble opinion, the "Pitchfork is all garbage" posture is more snobbish and intolerable than the "Pitchfork forever" posture.

Lastly, Red Sparowes is not metal. I don't listen to metal and I know that. That said, that album is so awesome that no argument is warranted.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:36 PM on December 20, 2005


Pitchfork's love affair with mainstream rap is kind of weird.

My favorite this year was the Hold Steady, followed closely by Andrew Bird.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:36 PM on December 20, 2005


veronica lipgloss and the evil eyes
posted by bendybendy at 12:37 PM on December 20, 2005


Oh, also Axes is one of my favorites as well, and it's weird to see it getting no attention whatsoever.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:38 PM on December 20, 2005


Pitchfork's love affair with mainstream rap is kind of weird.
posted by myeviltwin at 12:36 PM PST on December 20 [!]


I agree, but its the most typical way for an indy cred searcher to appear not so windbaggy, Look at me, I like Kelly Clarkson, etc.

There's so much great underground hip hop, its a shame they don't hire more writers who are in on it.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:46 PM on December 20, 2005


Stylus's top songs list for this year starts with The Mountain Goats, Lee Ann Womack, Young Jeezy, followed by M83. That's gotta count, right?

I don't know what to make of that list. Kelly Clarkson number one? Backstreet Boys mixed in with Spoon and Bloc Party? I have to say, that comes pretty close to what I was talking about earlier.

I don't think my favorite album of the year made any lists. Except mine, and that's really all that matters.
posted by grey_flap at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2005


I think we can all agree that grey_flap's list is the only one that matters.
posted by whir at 12:57 PM on December 20, 2005


Also, I find that a little Sufjan goes a long way.

Ha, yeah. I like Illinois but can't listen to more than two tracks at a time. Don't think I've even heard all the songs yet.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:11 PM on December 20, 2005


Whir, what I meant was the only list that should really matter to ME is my own. I don't expect anyone else to give a crap or less about it..
posted by grey_flap at 1:12 PM on December 20, 2005


Are we done hating on Pitchfork yet? 'Cause that gets old quick.

Pitchfork is always a hilarious read.... I could have sworn they already put out a list of "the 50 best albums of the first half of 2005," but it doesn't seem to be in their archives.

You were probably thinking of 2000-2004: The Top 100 Singles of the Decade's First Half [top 10]. Yeah, they're kids, they like to make up their own rules for when to put out lists. Anyway, that has plenty of the mainstream ringers (#5: Kylie Minogue! #11: Justin Timberlake!) to prove that point. Seriously, I do like Said the Gramophone's list a lot better -- I already had 1/5 of it.

Anyway, it was very cool of them to include Congotronics.

Is it true that the plan is to have one album per state?

I think most fans realize he's partly tongue-in-cheek about the "50 States Project", although if he does keep putting out an album every 9 months or so ...
posted by dhartung at 1:36 PM on December 20, 2005


Music snobbery is laughable. I'm a music snob, and I know full well that I'm laughable, as are my opinions and my music taste.
People that think they're cool generally aren't. People that think it's cool to knock other people that think they're cool for not actually being cool also generally aren't.
Lots of people have chips on their shoulders and get themselves worked up into a lather at the thought of other people liking stuff that's deliberately obscure. Such people also generally have laughable ideas of what constitutes 'obscure'. If I love something you've never heard of, that doesn't necessarily make me a wanker. It more likely means that there's lots of exciting untapped music in the world. Pitchfork putting a few non-mainstream albums in their end of year list should be a cause for unbridled celebration, not mean-spirited name calling and derision. It makes me sad to think that if I mentioned what my favourite album this year was, people would think I was trying to show off how awesome I am, when in fact I'd be simply telling you what my favourite album was in the hope that you'd listen to it too, and be similarly blown away by it.
We each have a genuine belief that our favourite music is intrinsically better than other people's favourite music, and the fact that our favourite music is not other people's favourite music means that they haven't listened to it properly.

It's almost Christmas - let's all just try to get along and be happy and listen to nice things, ok?
posted by nylon at 1:38 PM on December 20, 2005


I don't think Since U Been Gone is an example of tokenism; it's actually a decent song, especially because you can play Hunt The Influence while listening to it, which is why you'll notice many reviews of it mention how separate sections resemble credtastic bands like Interpol(the rhythm section), and "how the guitar crunch is very Creep-era Radiohead", and so forth.

also, music snobbery is an extension of the social psychological need to feel unique while remaining in a peer group with common grounds*, which, when reexamined, is probably the root cause of every argument we have on MeFi.

*I'm regurgitating a social psych class I took two years ago, so I probably got it wrong.
posted by heeeraldo at 1:42 PM on December 20, 2005


I'm suspicious of any song that abuses the letter U like that. Unless it's by Prince. And saying that it's a good song because it borrows from Interpol or Radiohead is like lauding "Ice Ice Baby" for using the bass line from "Under Pressure."

Personally, I just think it's fun being a snob. You can shop at American Apparel and drink Stella Artois.
posted by 912 Greens at 1:59 PM on December 20, 2005


"People that think they're cool generally aren't. People that think it's cool to knock other people that think they're cool for not actually being cool also generally aren't."

Blah blah blah. Done sucking yourself into the whirlpool of meta-criticism yet?

People hate on Pitchfork because hating on Rolling Stone has become boring (much like RS itself). Oh, and because Pitchfork, like most of the bands it champions, is overrated. (And encourages a self-indulgent writing style).
And the idea that they should get credit for including a few non-indiestream releases is laughable. The whole list should be full of things like Congotronics, not occassional sacrifices so they can get back to lauding bullshit like Clap Your Hands Say Meh.
(And to the person who said they weren't generic, and challenged us to name more from the same blah pile: Thunderbirds Are Now, Broken Social Scene, The Bloc Party, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand... Any number of NME cover bands that have since disappeared. I'm not saying that they all sound alike, but rather that all of them have a similar hype cycle, and all succeed not by being daring or interesting, but by playing it safe. Every one of those bands is conservative, backwards-looking and nerfed. And if you're going to reply that you said name some that aren't great, well, then instead of insulting the bands you like, I'll start insulting your taste.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:18 PM on December 20, 2005


Far be it from me to issue a blanket condemnation of everything that Pitchfork says, but I was sincere when I said they are often a hilarious read. I am one of those who thinks that most rock criticism is pretty ridiculous to begin with, and when it's combined with the breathy cool-hunting and self-indulgent writing that I often perceive on Pitchfork, it just pushes things way over the top for me.

That's just my opinion, obviously. I'm not out to hate on people who like that sort of thing, and I don't equate "hilarious" with "contemptible." Pitchfork is what it is, and I've been turned on to some good music I wouldn't have heard about otherwise from it, so yay Pitchfork.

Oh, grey_flap: I got that, yeah. Just a little good-natured snarkery, not trying to needle you.
posted by whir at 2:22 PM on December 20, 2005


Just a little good-natured snarkery, not trying to needle you.

Damn. I was hoping for a good needling.
posted by grey_flap at 3:07 PM on December 20, 2005


If I can get all serious (sort of) for a moment, and in the spirit of goodwill that should animate every living being in this festive season that everyone loves so much (*jingle bells*), I'd like to suggest that perhaps, if only in terms of it being for a worthy cause, the Warchild 2005 "Help" album could be a good one to get, even if it's an unlikely mix of stuff that one may or may not like and argue about endlessly.
posted by funambulist at 3:35 PM on December 20, 2005


"Lastly, Red Sparowes is not metal. I don't listen to metal and I know that. That said, that album is so awesome that no argument is warranted."

Yeah, I know. I know quite well. I guess I should have seperated those two thoughts more. But at least you realize how amazing it is.

That said, Ghost Reveries by Opeth, while not their best work by far, blows away everything on that Pitchfork list...and after reading that review of the Red Sparowes album they wrote I will never read another Pitchfork review again. I love the way the guy just dismisses it out of hand by saying, "this is not pop"...I'm sorry your attention span can't handle a complex song that emphasizes build-ups and payoffs over hooks and catchy beats, and is so narrow that you can't recognize incredible musicianship (but they wouldn't, considering the garbage on their list). Pitchfork is top-40s media for hipsters.
posted by baphomet at 6:43 PM on December 20, 2005


i love pitchforks obligatory rap picks

and can someone please explain art bruts appeal to me?
posted by chuckforthought.com at 7:32 PM on December 20, 2005


i like art brut but i have no idea why they got into the top 50 at all.

also, check out my own blatant plug here for a different best of.
posted by timory at 8:15 PM on December 20, 2005


baphomet - glad no offense was taken. we share a passion.
chuckforthought - i dunno, I thought Art Brut was pretty terrible.

I'm no fanboy, but I don't know why everyone is gang-raping Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. They're not some pet project made solely by pitchfork like wolf parade, and I don't hear the watered-down, unoriginal sound which klangklangston seems to think they have.

And Klang, what's with blasting someone for "meta-criticism" and then launching on your own meta and meta-meta criticism? And then, dismissing Broken Social Scene as a "NME cover band" among playing it safe and other epithets is like saying you've never even listened to them. I can see what you say in some of the bands you mention, but BSS? You just blew your credibility wad right there.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:26 PM on December 20, 2005


so kenko, who wins the prize?
posted by johnny novak at 12:35 AM on December 21, 2005


I got turned onto Wolf Parade from seeing them live. Am I allowed to like them?

I don't read Pitchfork, am I still allowed to like Clap Your Hands?

Please, tell me.
posted by Evstar at 4:58 AM on December 21, 2005


"And then, dismissing Broken Social Scene as a "NME cover band" among playing it safe and other epithets is like saying you've never even listened to them. I can see what you say in some of the bands you mention, but BSS? You just blew your credibility wad right there."

Actually, I got the You Forgot It In People promo about six months before they broke in the US because they were playing a club near me. And it had about three really good songs (like "Anthems for a 17-year-old Girl") and a couple really lame songs ("I'm Still Your Fag"), and a lot of mediocre '90s alternapop fallout songs ("Lover's Spit"). They put on a decent show, but nothing to get riled up about (at least they were better than The Walkmen, another band I should have included in that list).
But there's so much good, daring, fun, interesting music out there that even though I still own both their recent albums, I can't even find the damn things and haven't missed 'em at all.
And if you think that's really daring music, you must be a shut-in.

Other bands to add to the vague blahs include Josh Rouse, The National, Athlete, Elbow and Stereophonics. The mixing is all the same, there's very little depth to the multi-tracking, the compression on the drums and guitars (my god! that fucking ProTools audio compression must die! It instintly dates any album!) and the songs don't go anywhere. Toss the new John Cale on the bonfire too. On the other hand, his best solo work was a cover of Leonard Cohen, so maybe he just shouldn't be allowed to write his own stuff anymore (a prohibition I'd gladly slap on Lou Reed too).
What else, thumbing through Uncut's best of 2005? Bright Eyes at least has finally put out a decent single, though I avoided the album. We'll see if My Morning Jacket (their last album was the most over-rated of 2003) can grow past their Neil Young fetish...

Oh, and dissing the meta-meta-meta? I've been at this too long to care whether someone thinks I'm cool or not. And I think that there's more going on in pop than in rock, more experimentation, more musical vanguard, and that a conspiracy of post-grunge and pseudo-indie has killed mainstream rock, and that the worst thing that can happen is some fool comes around wanting to save it again. It'll only turn into more White Stripes (decent, but best left alone rather than hyped for something they can't deliver) or Strokes (mediocre, conservative, boring, retro-fascinated).
posted by klangklangston at 5:57 AM on December 21, 2005


Evstar: Yes to the first, so long as you don't hype them as anything that's gonna save us and generally discard their album after a year and a half. No to the second. You might be getting to them late, but Clap Your Hands... should have a shelf-life of no more than two months if you're listening to new music. And even then, it should trail off sharply.
posted by klangklangston at 5:59 AM on December 21, 2005


(I eat irony).
posted by klangklangston at 6:00 AM on December 21, 2005


That Arctic Monkeys song was good
posted by dydecker at 6:25 AM on December 21, 2005


ProTools compression is making everything sound the same; and stop doubling the vocals in the wind up for the chorus. As digital audio has become inexpensive, music has become like the web circa 1997; so much music today is the aural equivalent of the animated GIF.
posted by bendybendy at 7:20 AM on December 21, 2005


"and stop doubling the vocals in the wind up for the chorus."

AMEN! And your tinny pitch correction doesn't fool anyone! (At least Kelly Clarkston did a good job with her pillage production...)
posted by klangklangston at 7:30 AM on December 21, 2005


Kate Bush - King is the Mountain is pretty nice too.

Also re pitchfork #1: indie rock has now offically morphed into wussy confessional Christian contemporary. give it up!
posted by dydecker at 7:52 AM on December 21, 2005


Everything sounds like Coldplay now...
posted by funambulist at 8:24 AM on December 21, 2005


Yeah, Kate Bush was good. Black Mountain was good. The Dirtbombs album, while technically just a comp of singles, was fucking fantastic. The Hard Lessons album was great. The Paybacks album was great. The Robyn album was great, as was Tiga's album (though I have a hard time recommending that one), The Knife album, Annie's album, The Deadly Snakes...
posted by klangklangston at 8:42 AM on December 21, 2005


Evstar: Yes to the first, so long as you don't hype them as anything that's gonna save us and generally discard their album after a year and a half. No to the second. You might be getting to them late, but Clap Your Hands... should have a shelf-life of no more than two months if you're listening to new music. And even then, it should trail off sharply.

I guess the difference between us is that I don't see a whole lot wrong with that. I have my bands and albums I'll go back to very regularly and others which—while I still like them—just don't last as long. Clap Your Hands has already proven itself to be one of the latter, and a good example of the former, as much as it may pain you to read, is Broken Social Scene (You Forgot it in People, especially).

I don't know how many performers were there when you saw BSS play, but to see them as a 12-piece ensemble constantly moving around, switching instruments, and generally having a great time has been very exciting for me, at least.

And I can't buy into super-vague criticisms like, "their songs don't go anywhere." It doesn't mean very much to begin with, and it means much less applied to 5 bands at once. Granted, I agree with just about everything you said about the boring, formulaic trends in mixing and mastering most of these albums.
posted by Evstar at 12:14 PM on December 21, 2005


Well Klangklangston, it looks like our tastes simply differ, as I did not enjoy any of the albums you mention. Let's just let this one die.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:19 PM on December 21, 2005



Pitchfork is almost a parody of itself, but I kind of love it for that. I often find myself skimming the first couple-three paragraphs of their reviews, though.

I don't really feel like I was terribly on top a' shit this year, new music wise, so I can't really do a top ten. Here are the things I really liked:

Rachid Taha -- Tetekoi?
Sons & Daughters -- Repulsion Box
The Mountain Goats --- Sunset Tree
Mike Doughty -- Haughty Melodic
The Decembrists -- Picaresque
M.I.A -- Arular
Dengue Fever -- Escape from the Dragon House
Gogol Bordello -- Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike

And I heard just enough of Architecture in Helsinki and Animal Collective to know that I want to hear more.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:40 PM on December 21, 2005


Evstar: My problem comes when one of the albums that is at best a transitory pleasure is named one of the best albums of the year, because it doesn't even have the staying power to be good for a whole year. And my criticisms of Broken Social Scene would be more detailed if I could find the albums, but I can't seem to. (Have you heard the new Deadly Snakes album? You might like it).

BlackLeotard: Yeah, yeah. First off, I'm betting dollars to doughnuts that you haven't heard most of those albums. Second off, after looking at your blog, you tend toward the boring and staid anyway. The last album that we both enjoyed was the Black Moth Super Rainbow one. And I used to say things like 'an album can't just rock' (emphasis mine), but then I realized that it made me a pretentious twat, and I was missing out on a lot of really fun music.

Palmcorder: I've gotta cop to missing the Mountain Goats album, but the Decemberists did nothing for me, and I thought that M.I.A.'s Galang was so head and shoulders above the rest of her album that I was really disappointed. Sunshowers in particular was a crappy second single. She's better remixed by Diplo on the Piracy Funds Terrorism disc (which might be in my top 15 or so...)
posted by klangklangston at 6:03 AM on December 22, 2005


Klang! You're js! I just figured that out! Great to see you here (I'm Alexandra of afrofunk mix fame (that's a joke, btw)).

Let's all fight over music. Throwing my hat into the fray:

Some albums I wore the grooves out of this year:

1. motherfucking COMUS "Song to Comus"- a box set re-release of Comus' original smashing "First Utterance" and more "mellow" (for Comus!) EP "To Keep From Crying". This was apparently dug up and shepherded through the re-release process by Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. Yeah! If you want to be creeped out of your skin by prog/folk/goth recreations of medieval Miltonian evil, this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

2. Espers "Weed Tree" EP. Psychedelic folk from Philadelphia- this album of mostly covers is really beautiful. I can't get enough of Meg Baird's voice.

3. Gang Gang Dance "God's Money"

4. Josephine Foster "All the Leaves Are Gone" sounds like it's just her, alone in the forest, with a guitar and a bag of mushrooms...

4. The Psychic Paramount "Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural" OMG so good can't stop listening this album also turned me on to Laddio Bolocko

5. Samara Lubelski "Spectacular of Passages" so sweet- Nick Drake meets Belle and Sebastian meets Tara Jane O'Neil. Looovely.
posted by Sidthecat at 9:01 AM on December 22, 2005


And no, I can't count. It's part of my charm.
posted by Sidthecat at 9:06 AM on December 22, 2005


My God, Sid, that mix is still getting play! (The rest of the mixes I got? Not so much...)

Hmm... I'm curious about your 2, 3, and 4 (Psychic).
(And "js" was too short, and "josh" was taken. "JoshS" went through, but PayPal somehow fucked it up... So I dredged up an old video game playin' nickname...)
posted by klangklangston at 10:53 AM on December 22, 2005


motherfucking COMUS "Song to Comus"- a box set re-release of Comus' original smashing "First Utterance" and more "mellow" (for Comus!) EP "To Keep From Crying".

I did not know about this. Thank you!

(INSANE INSANE INSANE INSANE INSANE)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:13 AM on December 22, 2005


PinkStainless: drip drip from your sagging lip...

Josh let's get together and listen to albums sometime. And the Josephine Foster album is "Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You" obviously I can't do titles either. :)
posted by Sidthecat at 11:19 AM on December 22, 2005


Will do. I've thought for a while that it could be fun to have a dope-smokin' music-list'nin' get-together. I've had a meetup with some of the other Ann Arbor MeFites, and they're pretty cool overall. Art students, mostly. Turns out Amy already knew a couple of them through a class she had years ago...
posted by klangklangston at 11:29 AM on December 22, 2005


« Older Tonight's WTF is brought to you by Taiwan....  |  So it actually happened.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments