Friday, December 25, 2009

Top Albums of All Time

Talking with Ben, who is back for Christmas for a few days, I decided it would be fun to do a takeoff on the predictability of Rolling Stone magazine's reviews and top (anything) lists. I would make my whole list all be albums from 1965-1970, which must be when the magazine's reviewers were all in junior high. To lend an air of verisimilitude to my fake list, I looked up RS's top 500 list, planning to take the titles from their actual top 25, and call it their top 10.

I only had to go to 15. The list is impossible to parody, as it parodies itself. The year of release for their top fifteen albums of all time:
1980 (!)
1976 (token roots album)
1959 (token jazz album)
Well darn it, the token roots and token jazz albums finished just short of the top ten! What bad luck, huh? Notice also that the big statistical outlier - a fluke, really - is from 1980. I guess they figured they had to include something from the 80's, and grudgingly included something from the first year of that decade.

The other exceptions are from 1971 and 72. Can you believe that there were zero albums worth including from the year 1970?


Gringo said...

Who cares what Rolling Stone says? Gimme Satchmo, who could turn a pigs ear of a pop song unto a silk purse.

Several months ago I took out Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home from the library. I had bought the album when it came out. In listening to it complete after many years, I was impressed with the overall quality of the album: any one song would have been sufficient justification for purchasing the album.

Not that I had forgotten the lyrics completely: so many of them stick in your head.

I doubt that Rolling Stone would include this in its list of 100 top music videos:Weird Al Yankovic’s palindromic interpretation of Bob.

Sam L. said...

Weird Al is a genius at parody and satire, and I well remember his interpretation of Bob--it's in my bookmarks.

Marcus said...

Ha! 1970 and 1971 were the peak years, in many respects. Who's Next, Layla, John Prine, Clapton, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Tupelo Honey, Low Spark, Jack Bruce's Harmony Row, Larry Coryell at the Village Gate, Broken Barricades, Every Picture Tells a Story, Liege and Leaf, Jeff Beck, not to mention poppier stuff from James Taylor, Carole King, CSNY, tons of folk stuff, lots of Motown and R&B. Oh, my, those two years were packed with excellence.

Gringo, Bringing it all Back Home ranks on my all-time list too, even above Blonde on Blonde. It's a great pile of songs, well performed

Ben Wyman said...

Irony shipment late in arriving because of the Christmas rush, I guess.