Sunday, June 13, 2010

SPIN 125

Ben tweeted a link to SPIN magazine's 125 best albums of the last 25 years. I am unable to comment on the list itself - I mostly clicked through just to see if I recognised any names whatsoever (yeah, a few). But I noticed a similarity to Rolling Stone's Top 500, which I commented on here.

A highly disproportionate percentage of the top 15 were from the earliest years (beginning 1985), as a highly disproportionate percentage of Rolling Stones top picks were from the 1960's. People who write for rock magazines care greatly about firsts, influences, shifts, and fusions. They are much more attuned to durability, and whether that particular branching went anywhere and was copied by others. While one is in the era, just listening to the radio and hearing what's popular, we only care whether we like it. New directions may or may not persist. But those who study like to see patterns develop.

That's my only spoiler. If you click through to SPIN's list, the top 15 are strongly weighten to the 80's and early 90's.


Ben Wyman said...

I hunted through, and on closer inspection, I found that there weren't many albums from the 2000's worth putting in there. The album, as a concept, seems to have at least partially died right about the time Napster arrived and ClearChannel bought everything.

I mean, the biggest artists of the past decade were Eminem, Britney Spears, Nickelback, Nelly, Linkin Park, Creed, and a number of country artists (an area Spin understandably doesn't cover). With the exception of Eminem, none of those artists put together an album that you could legitimately call "great." They just had a number of impressive singles that led to album sales.

Spin might have overemphasized some things - "groundbreaking" hip-hop groups, for one - but they didn't miss out on any great albums of the past ten years. I don't know how many there actually were.

Gringo said...

Of those albums/tapes/CDs, the only one I have is of Lucinda Williams. I went in the other direction, towards Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Bach. I leave hip hop and the like to others.

I am not one of those who says that the only good music came out of the Sixties. Nonetheless, when I listened to Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues in the last year, I concluded that I had been correct years ago in saying those were all pretty good songs.