Friday, March 09, 2007

everyone's favorite pastime... developing top 10 lists

Now it seems the recording industry's doing it as a gimmick to sell albums. I wouldn't pay too much attention to their list, it makes little sense (except, as Salon notes, from a marketing standpoint). I'll join in the fun here, though, and I suggest you do, too.

First, a note about my hermeneutic. What factors should we use to evaluate albums: sales, influence, proportion of good tracks to filler, or stuff that just plain RAWKS? Obviously, many factors should be weighed, though I personally am going to give influence on later music a position of primacy, followed by "rockin'"-ness, then the other stuff. I'm also going to stick to rock, for fear of venturing too far out of my element.

1. The Beatles' White album
2. Bob Dylan's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
3. The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Electric Ladyland
4. The Sex Pistols' Nevermind the Bollocks
5. Grateful Dead's American Beauty
7. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here
8. U2's The Joshua Tree
9. Cream's Disraeli Gears
10. Nirvana's Nevermind

I've obviously missed glam rock entirely, and that did take up the better part of a decade's worth of rock, but I feel that, for one, it was a shitty era with no one worth replacing any of the albums above, and for two, the things worth remembering and that were worth passing along from glam were borrowed from Hendrix, Floyd, and Cream.

As with any list, there were albums I wanted to add but couldn't, so here's a quick and dirty 11-20, in the order I thought of them:
11. Tool, Anima
12. Metallica, Master of Puppets
13. Elvis Presley, self-titled
14. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run
15. The Doors, self-titled
16. The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
17. Led Zeppelin, IV
18. R.E.M., Green
19. The Pixies, Doolittle
20. fine, Bon Jovi, Slippery When Suck

3 comments:

grimsaburger said...

Oh, El Ranchero, how can we ever be friends when Doolittle is but a mere 19th on your list? Perhaps it is not a fair list since you didn't get to see them rock out SO HARD on their last 'farewell...maybe?' tour?
And Neil Young's "Tonight's the Night" nowhere to be seen? Bruce Barry was a workin' man, he used to load that Econoline van? Have we utterly failed in our attempt to indoctrinate you?

Inky said...

This mirrors similar attempts by the publishing industry to boost flagging book sales with the "Top 100 Novels" list. It's interesting to note that in both cases, they tend to choose from their own catalogues when compiling them.

There's a lot of good music here online for free, some very talented independent artists just giving their work away. Musicians and fans are both tired of the syndicate model of music: a small few picking what gets published and what doesn't. Fans have proven that they are willing to support their favorites directly, without a middleman, and that has the recording industry truly worried. With these lists, they gently remind us who to buy.

El Ranchero said...

I understand your concern, grims, just let me say that I don't actually own most of these albums, and don't even like some of it. Doolittle was low on the list solely because I just felt that the others have had more time to sway the genre (with the exception of Nevermind, anyway). And as far as Neil Young, well, again, it's an "influence" thing. I know, I know, he's had plenty of it over the years, but as much as the stuff on the list? Ultimately, I said "close, but not quite," but what do I know?

Inky is absolutely right, this was clearly an attempt to boost specifically album sales, which are quickly outliving their usefulness in the new iTunes music world. I'm not as convinced yet that the recording industry is truly worried about the "breakout" of label-less music just yet, as frankly, I think most people are way too busy/lazy/whatever to go looking for new music. That's actually the utility of a recording industry in theory, at least: it filters out the crap and brings the "good" stuff to our TVs and radios. Unfortunately, it's also designed to cater to the demographics that buy the most music, and when that demographic is 15 year old suburban white girls, well...