Sunday, July 6, 2008

EW's "Best Albums Of The Past 25 Years" List AKA Picking On An Easy Target

I probably shouldn't even bother, but this list from Entertainment Weekly, "The New Classics: The Best Albums of the Past 25 Years," is so pander-tastic I just simply had to comment. At the very least, perhaps it will encourage Yoggoth to continue on with our (more personal and more in-depth) "10 Best Albums of the '90s" list, so disgusted will he hopefully be by the apparent lack of methodology Entertainment Weekly has employed. Or rather, the methodology must have resembled something along these lines:

1) Pick several albums from the last five years, regardless of whether or not they are any good
2) Pick an artist's best-selling album as opposed to the artist's most critically respected album
3) Pick a few blockbuster mainstream pop albums that no one holds in particularly high critical regard
4) Pick the occasional obscure critical favorite to give the list at least a semblance of credibility

This might explain why Radiohead's OK Computer is at #62 and Shania Twain's Come On Over is at #24, or why My Bloody Valentine's Loveless is at #86 and Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi is at #21. Or why Metallica's Black Album is here but not Master Of Puppets, or why Prince's Purple Rain is here but not Sign O' The Times. I'll give them credit for a few idiosyncratic picks (Life's Rich Pageant over Automatic For The People or Murmur, Paul's Boutique over Licensed To Ill or Check Your Head), but mostly I'm just shaking my head. Kelly Clarkson? American Idiot? Amy Winehouse? I just feel bad for the staff writers who had to produce copy justifying the inclusion of some of these albums. The most cringeworthy:

Britney Spears, Britney

She claimed to be not a girl, not yet a woman, but the onetime pop tartlet in perky pigtails sure seems all grown up on her third release, a remarkably assured, beat-heavy batch of impeccably-built bangers, including the Prince-esque ''I'm a Slave 4 U'' and ''Boys,'' alongside the requisite soft-focus ballads. Alas, it's likely the last time we'll see her so strong.

System of a Down, Toxicity

As nu-metal died a slow, ugly death, SOAD emerged with something darker, weirder, and infinitely more dynamic—jagged, agro rock brilliantly fronted by singer Serj Tankian's unabashed politicking and dark-overlord vocalization. And thanks to its timely release date, Toxicity's evocative banger ''Chop Suey!'' swiftly became a post-9/11 anthem.

Dixie Chicks, Home

The Chicks' third album with Natalie Maines as lead singer marks the transitional point between their frothy country and serious rock periods. Both it and their tragic, war-themed ''Travelin' Soldier'' single were No. 1 on the country charts when Maines said something about the President—making this album historic for reasons only partly to do with its innate greatness.

Shania Twain, Come On Over

She had great abs, sure, but an even greater ability to straddle — and conquer — the heretofore walled-off genres of pop and country. The result was a cavalcade of hits, including ''Man! I Feel Like a Woman!'' and the instant wedding staple ''You're Still the One.''

Yeah...sure EW, if you insist. Slightly better is their Best Movies of the Past 25 Years list, although Casino Royale at #19 and the Lord of the Rings trilogy at #2 definitely gives me pause. In sum, I wish they simply let their writers do individual lists of their own. I suppose by employing anonymity, the listmakers have shielded themselves from my wrath and scorn. Here at Cosmic American Blog, of course, we hide behind nothing...other than our blogger names.


yoggoth said...

"Beat-heavy batch of impeccably-built bangers" - this is what the entire list would be like if I were one of those poor copy writers.

Herr Zrbo said...

It's like shooting a fish in a barrel.

Mariah Carey is *obviously* more talented than those Radiohead dweebs, DUH! Hey, at least they have Purple Rain, they could have picked the Batman soundtrack and it probably would have gone like this:

"Utilizing his slick punk funk, Prince dazzles the listener with the disco-funk grooves of Batdance, a sure fired party anthem which will get your groove going. Five stars."