Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Hipster List

I read an article last year by a much renowned music critic which criticised the use of end-of-year lists. Now, either he’s a twat or just doesn’t live in the real world. The prospect of lists is what make New Year good, otherwise it’s just a depressing orgy of state-enforced fun. Have you ever been to a New Year’s party where it’s clear that everyone wants to cry but instead they overcompensate and end up breaking all their cutlery in a nervous attempt to go 'mental'?

The only reason I don’t stay indoors like the curmudgeonly young fogie I am is because I couldn’t bare to ring in the New Year either asleep, on the internet, or watching Jools Holland’s detestable, smug face introducing the most overrated artists of the year to play maddeningly horrible 12 bar blues with him on his Hootenanny.

So to stick to the tradition and inject something life-affirming into what is otherwise a wet, miserable time of year, here is another list.

I’ve compiled my top played artists of the last 12 months according to my last.fm profile and the corresponding Pitchfork score for the album I listened to most this year by each band (N.B the albums listed are not necessarily my favourite by a particular band, just the ones I remember listening to most this year. In some cases I had to use two albums as both are equally responsible for the play count).

Being aware of how much I hate hipsters recently, I got scared that I was one of them so I decided to see if my music taste conforms at all with the hipster bible that is Pitchfork.

The results were as follows:

No Age
181 plays
Nouns got 9.2, Weirdo Rippers got 8.0


Deerhunter
176 plays
Microcastle got 9.2


Sonic Youth
173 plays
Daydream Nation got 10, Sister has not yet been reviewed but came number fourteen on the ‘Top 100 albums of the 1980s’ list so I would guess that were it reviewed, it would get between 9.5-10


Interpol
151 plays
Turn On The Bright Lights got 9.5


The Dodos
140 plays
Visiter got 8.5


Spoon
129 plays
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga got 8.5


Gang of Four
127 plays
Entertainment got 9.5


Mission of Burma
116 plays
Signals, Calls And Marches got 9.8


Radiohead
113 plays
The Bends got 10, In Rainbows got 9.3


My Bloody Valentine
113 plays
Loveless has not yet been reviewed but came number two on the ‘Top Albums of the 1990s’ list so I would bet a lot of money that it would get a 10.


Bon Iver
86 plays
For Emma, Forever Ago got 8.1


Neu!
84 plays
Neu! got 9.7, Neu! 75 got 7.5


The Twilight Sad
81 plays
Forget The Night Ahead got 7.3


Joy Division
79 plays
Unknown Pleasures got 10


Bat for Lashes
77 plays
Two Suns got 8.5


Elliott Smith
76 plays
New Moon got 8.7


CAN
75 plays
Soundtracks got 7.6
, Tago Mago got 9.3, Ege Bamyasi got 9.8

Hauschka
74 plays
Ferndorf got 7.8


Beirut
71 plays
Gulag Orkestar got 7.6


The Notwist
69 plays
Neon Golden got 9.2


The only conclusions people could make from these results, where all my top artists have scored above a 7, would be:

a) I rely too much on Pitchfork’s 'best new music'
b) I read Pitchfork obsessively
c) I have very similar taste to Pitchfork’s writers
Therefore
d) I am a trendy wanker

But I’m not, I swear. In my defence, sixteen of the twenty artists in this list were discovered independent of Pitchfork's guidance. For example, I heard The Notwist on a Viennese radio station; I checked out Joy Division because of the movie Control (that’s probably equally lame…) and a friend encouraged me to listen to The Dodos. Furthermore, some artists who I found out about through the likes of my dad and his friends such as Gang Of Four, Sonic Youth and Can were reviewed retrospectively by Pitchfork, with fawning Epideictic bias, which explains their incredibly rare high scores, and this hopefully also goes towards absolving me of any accusations of being a hipster.

It’s sad that I feel I have to justify myself to save the face of my musical dignity.

Luckily though, it seems I have escaped hipsterdom once again. By default.

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