Year end lists.
Let me begin by saying most year-end “best of” lists are total bullshit. 99.9% of the time they reflect what a music writer / editorial staff THINKS should be perceived as “the best” instead of just having the balls to pick what they actually find enjoyment in. (That said, some people just have zero taste no matter what, so what’re you gonna do?)
So there’s that.
That said, I usually enjoy crafting my own year-end list. I like the fact I can look at past lists – for instance this one – and there is stuff on there I still like listening to years later. If something is on your “best of” list and you’re still not listening to it a year later that’s a pretty good indication your list was dishonest to begin with, crafted based on trying to attract cool points versus displaying an honest to god opinion.
This year, despite all the platitudes that this was “finally one of the best years for music after a long drought,” I am having difficulty crafting a list of truly outstanding music. I realized this last night as I listlessly scrolled through the tankPHONE at the bus stop, a device largely loaded with recent music I need to familiarize myself with or have recently written about, and I realized there was nothing on there I wanted to listen to. I finally settled on all the LCD Soundsystem albums on shuffle. And it made me realize that while, yes, a great deal of good music has been released this year I’m not so sure a good deal of great music has been released this year.
I am certain I will be able to fill out my top ten (possibly twenty) favorite albums, but it’s not going to involve great fretting over what gets bumped to make room for something else as might have happened in past years.
So what’s your take? Has there been a deluge of awesome music and I’ve just grown into such an old coot that I can’t appreciate it? Am I right that things continue to grow ever more broadly mediocre? Or, and here’s the age thing again, have I just gotten to the point that I’m secure liking what I like and can call out others who are more self conscious? Feel free to weigh in.