Saturday, 22 August 2009

Tilting at windmills...

So rather than leaving the flat last night S and I instead decided to make a large jug of sangria and dissect Pitchfork's Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s list, a frustratingly pointless task if ever there was one. I have a natural scepticism about such exercises - the only purpose they serve should be to stimulate debate, but, as is natural, the more we drink the more our positions become entrenched.

I have some trouble actually thinking of anything glaring that they have missed out, there are more occasions where I question the inclusion of one track by a particular band over another but I can't begrudge the band an entry in the list. The top 20 is something of a mystery to me though,

20. The Walkmen - The Rat
19. R. Kelly - Ignition (Remix)
18. Hercules and Love Affair - Blind
17. Annie - Heartbeat
16. The Rapture - House of Jealous Lovers
15. The Knife - Heartbeats
14. Jay-Z - 99 Problems
13. LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
12. OutKast - Hey Ya!
11. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
10. Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
9. Animal Collective - My Girls
8. Radiohead - Idioteque
7. Missy Elliott - Get Ur Freak On
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
5. Daft Punk - One More Time
4. Beyoncé [ft. Jay-Z] - Crazy in Love
3. M.I.A. [ft. Bun B and Rich Boy] - Paper Planes (Diplo Remix)
2. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
1. OutKast -B.O.B.

I personally think wrong choices for Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem and OutKast are in the wrong order. I'd also question the inclusion of Radiohead (but that's just my own personal prejudice) and Animal Collective (It's too soon).

One interesting result of going through my own collection to dig out the tracks they list (and I have roughly half, a respectable amount I think) and it's interesting to note how many of the tracks are first on their respective album. It got me wondering whether this is because bands purposely pick the best track to start an album or because we associate great albums with the tracks we hear the most, usually the first.

It's obviously probably a little of both, but then it got me thinking about albums. There's this fuss at the moment with Radiohead saying they're not going to release any more albums (I won' be mourning) and the death of the album is periodically announced but for me it is still the epitome of musical creation. In the days of lists like this and the proverbial 'low attention span' it may be the case that we're somehow being programmed to just remember these little snippets of music, the catchy riff or the anthemic chorus, but I really believe it's the musicians who can keep your attention for 9, 10 or 12 tracks, an hour or more, who really deserve the accolades and who will ultimately stand the test of time.

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