Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Keep me honest

You can see what I listen to over time by going to my Audioscrobbler page. I feel vaguely odd about taking part in things like this, mostly because Friendster turned out to be interesting at first, and a giant turd by about now, so I'm never sure that participating is worth the effort. Luckily, participating takes about zero effort.

2005: The Future

I love music and hate year end lists.
One, ranking things left and right isn't really how I listen (though it doesn't stop me from getting pissed off about other people's relative rankings). But I just can't come up with them myself, because I don't tend to evaluate music on the same criteria. The only real way that I think is valid to judge an album is whether that album holds up, if that one hit stays true, if I still enjoy listening to it year after year.
But that's hardly conducive for "What was the best thing in these last five minutes?"
Two, I don't have a good mind for remembering release dates. I can put an album in context, like that Interpol fits in well with the 80s youth being old enough to have influential bands, or that LL Cool J changed rap production with his "Radio" album. But ask me when they came out? Well, without the internet, I'm not really able to say. That's not information that sticks with me. It might be great to know that Hershey Bars are made in Pennsylvania, but that tells me nothing about how they taste (though the best candy bar of '04 was still the Dark Chocolate KitKats I bought at a dollar store).
Three, I don't have a perfect record collection. I doubt such a thing exists, at least to my tastes. And since there are millions of titles that have been released up until now, I tend to spend a lot of time finding things that are new to me and not to the rest of the world. So, y'know, I would call Archie Shepp's "The Way Ahead" the best album I've heard this year, but that breaks one of those rules that you're supposed to follow for lists. It's just that I only heard it this year, and I really like it. It has brilliant syncopated percussion, hard (fortissimo!) chords and big horns, over which Shepp can be soothing or soaring or scathing and seething. It's great. But with no date set for exclusion, it kinda negates the idea of the End of the Year Wrap-Up.
So, I skim the lists that come out every year, checking off against others for things that I have heard and consider crap (Joanna Newscome) and things that I have heard that I really like (Mad Villain).
From time to time, I'll be posting here about things that I like, or that I don't like, that I've been listening to. I'm going to try to make it criticism, and not snarking, and I'd like to hear from people about what they like.
Cheers, and into the future.