Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Wearing An Anorak In This Weather?

What is it with middle-aged blokes and their need for lists? Give me a couple of days, and I will be able to come up with a top ten list of reasons for why blokes need them, but in the meantime I confine this post to last Sunday's Observer list of the Top 100 Greatest Albums of all time. The latest in a long line of meaningless lists concocted for no other reason than to get me to shell out some money to see what's in the Top 100.

I can't find a link to a single page that will give you the low down on what white middle aged blokes from the suburbs are listening to these days (pretty much what they were listening to in yesterdays) but if you want the general page with the full lists, the token female pop singer's top ten (who happens to be plugging a new single as we speak), Emma Bunton, plus the smart arse comments by numbers views of Stuart Maconie and Paul Morley, then click on the following link.

The list has the usual suspects included but its a bit of a shocker that the Stone Roses debut album has made the number one slot. Don't misunderstand me, it is a good album but it is not even in the top twenty in a just world. I'll hazard a guess and suggest that a disproportionate number of the one hundred great, the good and the mates of the Observer music magazine editor asked for their top tens are confusing a particular good time in their lives - circa 1989/91 - with an all time great album. A bad case of the 'soundtrack of our youth' syndrome. I'm sure if pushed they would regale you with stories of the Hacienda, Spike Island and a rave in a warehouse off the M25 during this period as high points in their life. (That's the press release version issued by their PR Company - their reality was more along the lines of studying for their A Levels in the suburbs of Middle England; catching the tail end of the Mock Turtles singing 'Can You Dig It' on Top of the Pops and buying an Inspiral Carpets' 'Cool As Fuck' T shirt but wearing it under their hooded tops after reading in the NME about the bloke who got arrested by the police for wearing his in public.)

Not that surprised to find that at some point in my life I have had in my possession 48 of the 100 albums listed, which indicates either an excellent taste in music or a gullibility on my part for buying 'classic' albums as recommended by the music press down the years. 'Revolver', at number two, is the top listed Beatles album but I've always thought it overrated - though I'm well versed in the muso's dissertations on why that is such a seminal album. For me, 'Rubber Soul' is the better album.

Looking through the list, there are a couple of albums missing that I am surprised at by their ommission (for more info see numbers 3 and 6 in the top ten below), and I'm also a bit pissed off that on the whole the albums selected are predominately white boy bands with guitars; that is until I compiled my own top ten and saw that I had gone down the same road. Oops.

Another surprise is that the clutch of brilliant albums that the Kinks made in the mid-60s onwards didn't make charts at the time of their release, which makes me wonder if the sixties were more minging than swinging.

As I say above, I've done my own top ten. I've limited it to one album per artist in the top ten, though there are few of the groups listed who could have had two or three albums in ten on a different day. Top ten lists are daft 'cos there are hundreds of great albums out there. Or rather there were, with the advent of mp3s and downloads from the internet, the album is dead and not a moment too soon. A few decent tracks with some fillers is the best you can get today, and those albums where every track is a killer is rarer today than a saved Socialist Party election deposit.

I know already that I want to take some albums listed out and put some other albums in, and also that I want to switch the positions of the albums around. I also know that I will want to change the list again and again, but that is just an indication of my changing taste in music.

At least of the six albums listed in the ten I discovered after they were released so I'm afraid you cannot pin the sub-Proustian 'Rememberance of Things Past' tag on me. I've already previously posted the cover of the number one album on the blog before - giving the game away - so I have included in this post the cover of the most obscure of the albums listed. All recommended listens, with barely a duff track amongst them, and if I have the time in the future, or the inclination, I may clog up the blog with my reasons for why the albums are - to quote George Martin himself - the dogs bollocks.

That's all for now pop pickers.

1. ABC - 'Lexicon of Love'

2. The Smiths - 'The Smiths'

3. Prefab Sprout - 'Steve McQueen'

4. The Kinks - 'Village Green Preservation Society'

5. The Jam - 'All Mod Cons'

6. Aztec Camera - 'High Land, High Rain'

7. Cocteau Twins - 'Heaven or Las Vegas'

8. Human League - 'Dare'

9. The The - 'Soul Mining'

10. Colourbox - 'Colourbox'


Anonymous said...

Ah CD collections - more accurate than carbon dating...


Anonymous said...

Interesting list Mel, some of them a bit obscure on this side of the Atlantic, but some great stuff.

Like you, I was a bit perturbed by the lack of representation of the Kinks, Ray Davies having become widely recognized by many of those placed higher on the list as the best songwriter of his generation. But what do critics know?


Imposs1904 said...

Hi HM,

sort of know what you mean about 'carbon dating', but I also sort of know that my top ten would be a wee bit off when guessing my age. My soft spot for classic pop from the early eighties would put me about four years older than I actually am if the CSI team were to try and get on my case from my choice of albums.

Looking at the top ten - and I said tis would happen in my original posting - I'm a bit cheesed off that the top ten gives the impression that I have a much narrower taste in music than I have in real life. It also seems to lock me in a particualr period, which again is annoying.

I can only say in mitigation that what gives that wrong impression is the rules of the poll. Limiting it to favourite albums and to only those artists with union jack boxer shorts on means that the list is much of a muchness.

I would like to assure you, I am not locked in some kind of 'I Love the Eighties' timewarp. However, I've got to sign off, I've got to reorganise my filofax. It has got such a mess lately.

Adam said...

Sorry, followed the link from spacehardware, not a stalker, but couldn't fail to comment on that top ten. You know how sometimes you come across a record collection that's only just out of step with you own? I approve.

timesnewroman said...

Overall its a good list, different from mine as it should be. Definite eighties edge in their, with a flowery 60s frill. I never really liked the Jam though - I think I was put off by their early Vote Tory stance, although later acknowledged to be a bit stupid.