Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ill. Noise?

Not much of a mind for original content today (spending three days in Peterborough tends to have a dulling effect on the mind). So, like every good media provider, I've had a look at what everyone else is writing about, and will now follow their lead.

It seems a bunch of folks compiled a list with something to do with American (i.e. USA) musicians and bands that were good this year. The majority of selections are pretty unsurprising. I mean, they chose 40 bands: in any given 12-month cycle, there can't be many more acts than that who actually leave an impression with a (reasonably) large group of people (assuming that the most popular of music bloggers are generally representative of their readers' current preferences).

I suppose, then, that one is expected to find points of contention in the ranking order of said musicians... In this case, Sufjan Stevens has found his way to the apex of this particular peak. Personally, he's never done it for me; in the same way I've never really "fell in love" with Stereolab, I think Steven's music is just a little too busy. And rather than sounding "interesting" or "original," the music ends up feeling very calculated. It's not that he's bad or anything, he just isn't the most important musician in America. Also at issue, the inclusion of Kings of Leon (read: average at best), Ryan Adams (far too "hit and miss"), the Fiery Furnaces and Bright Eyes (pretentious).

Now here's the part where I make my own list, because I like lists. Who cares if they're subjective, and ultimately say more about the list-maker(s) than they ever could about the pulse of the nation, or some such nonsense. If we all recognize these caveats, we should be able to enjoy said lists for what they are -- easy-to-read primers for things (in this case, music) that might be worth looking into further.

Whatever. Here's a few from me (plus superfluous keywords), after the fact. Though who's really to say if any of them are truly important.

Okkervil River (gothic poetry)
Common (better than Kanye)
My Morning Jacket (guitar solos!)
The National (cool confidence)
Sam Prekop (tuneful)
Andrew Bird (no longer gimmicky)
Four Tet (beats!)
Fiona Apple (ivory melodrama)
Crooked Fingers (introspective)
Kanye West (ego!)


Blogger the man with no name said...


i saw the top 40 list a few days ago and was thinking about compiling one myself but i'm too lazy.

11/19/2005 3:43 p.m.  
Blogger Punk is Dead said...

Blondie, I think you should do it.

It's easy. Just ask yourself these few simple questions:

1. What musicians/bands do I like?
2. Did they do something worthwhile over the past year?
3. Will publishing said musicians on a list make me look cool to my friends/coworkers/anonymous online visitors?

If the answers to Questions 2 and 3 are "yes," then you can create your very own important bands list. Just pick and choose some names from your CD stack or iPod, and put a numeral in front of each name. Nobody actually cares what order you put things in these days. If Steve Jobs knows anything, it's that the masses are all about "randomness" and "shuffling," and don't care about your contrictive, old school "numbers." That's inside-the-box thinking, man. And it went out with last weeks plastic recyclables.

11/20/2005 2:18 a.m.  
Blogger Simon said...

I'm struggling to think to ten good albums released this year full stop, how can they find 40?

Glad everyone's finally woken up to how horrendous the Firey Furnaces horrible ADD / faux-naive music is. Funnily enough, it's with an album that sounds not that different from what came before.

I listened to the We Are Scientists album this morning and have completely forgotten in less than 8 hours later. Shows how good it must have been. Was it some kind of Cure / early XTC type of thing?

Sufjan is another pet hate. Oh so precious. Oh so insincere.

11/20/2005 4:14 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three days in Peterborough had a dulling effect on the mind eh? I'm into my third month! I'm looking into getting a mullet . . .

11/23/2005 5:31 p.m.  

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