Brace yourselves, people. It’s about to get meta up in here. Our generation’s obsession with Buzzfeed and Cracked ranked lists is something that John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity would be proud of. Personally, I think they’re a great way to get people pissed off and into heated debates about something as subjective as music.
Yesterday, Rolling Stone magazine released their Top 50 Albums of 2013. Say what you will about RS, but they’re the one of the most accessible and oldest music journals out there. That doesn’t mean we have to like it. Here’s my list of the Top 10 Reasons to Disagree with Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Albums of 2013.
#10 Why is Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz is on this list at all?
It is way too easy to pick on Miley, so I’ll just rag on RS. I understand that they need to maintain their mass appeal by selecting artists across every genre, but there were other pop records this year. Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience and Lady Gaga’s Artpop didn’t even make the cut. If Miley deserves kudos for anything this year, it is her music videos and live performances, not this album We Can’t Stop, Wrecking Ball, and, Like, Some Other Songs Or Whatever.
#9 Boards of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest didn’t crack the Top 50?
If you haven’t heard of BoC, that means a) you haven’t been listening to much of our Sunday night show Afterglow, and b) you are a lame. This Scottish electronic duo produces a nostalgic, analogue sound that is reminiscent of 70s and 80s instructional videos, perfect for studying, sleeping, walking, or jazzercising. Tomorrow’s Harvest is BoC’s most solid album, and perhaps the most eerie since 2002’s Geogaddi. Plus, they used an Alternate Reality Game to promote the album, and ARGs are cool. Look at the comment section for any website’s Albums of the Year lists and I guarantee at least a few will say “Tomorrow’s Harvest should be higher” or “where’s Tomorrow’s Harvest?”
#8 Parquet Courts’ Tally All the Things That You Broke is an EP, not an LP!
This one is more a technical critique of RS. It’s is like when the communist countries get questioned and investigated at the Olympics for using 9 year-old gymnasts. Can this EP of just 5 songs be ranked with a bunch of LPs? This one from the Parquet Courts is a crunchy, sticky, and hilarious lo-fi treat, and it’s not these punk rockers’ fault that I’m scrutinizing them. Why are you padding the list RS? Why are you trying to deceive us? Huh? You could’ve just used their LP release from January, Light Up Gold. #35 on the list, Best Coast’s Fade Away, is also an EP. What’s going on here?
#7 John Fogerty is on this list.
How can Wrote A Song For Everyone, an album of collaborative covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs with artists like Kid Rock and Alan Jackson and a few new tracks, be considered the tenth best album of the year? There’s plenty of original material out there, RS. Look for it.
#6 David Bowie and Paul McCartney are high up on the list.
I get RS on this one. Classic rock is their bread and butter and it would be hard to turn their backs on legends like these. These guys are musical geniuses and I realize that almost none of the contemporary artists on this list would probably even exist if it weren’t for these two. Let’s face it though, McCartney and Bowie have put out their best records already. No one new to either of these artists are going to hear The Next Day or New and be inspired to go back and look up their older albums. It’ll only happen the other way around.
#5 The absence of Black Sabbath’s 13.
Conversely, not all old artists should just stop making music and just collect royalties from Volkswagen commercials. Sabbath still has some great tracks left in them. Just when we thought the old school metal riff was dead, 13 dropped on us like a 16 ton weight. This record is heavy as as hell. Ozzy is back with the boys and it sounds as if he never left. Obviously, RS doesn’t think so.
#4 Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City is at #1.
Don’t get me wrong on this one; I love Vampire Weekend just as much as the next college kid. I would even say that they’re one of my favorite contemporary bands. While other people praised this record for demonstrating growth and maturity, I looked at it as the disintegration of the Vampire Weekend we all came to love in their self-titled LP. Yes, a couple songs have some harpsichord and tribal drums, but it isn’t fun like Contra or Vampire Weekend. Those first two really set the tone for walking across campus like the young turks we are. This record is so slow and thoughtful. Yuck. Why couldn’t the whole album be like “Diane Young,” dammit?
#3 Beck’s Song Reader wasn’t an album.
Song Reader is a book of sheet music! How would you feel if you were an artist that lost out to an album that wasn’t even recorded? We miss you, pre-The Information Beck. Come back and make good music. Make any music for that matter.
#2 Kanye West’s Yeezus at #2
Really, RS? Unless this is some underhanded, scatalogical humor, you done goofed. I’ll hand it to Kanye that from the production side of things, Yeezus is his best work yet, but lyrically, the rhymes are Dr. Seuss fan fiction. And I’m comparing Kanye to nothing but his older records here. Most of the lyrics on Yeezus are on par with puns from your drunk uncle at a holiday party. If RS had been paying attention to lyrics, they would have put Talib Kweli’s Prisoner of Consciousness somewhere on this list. The closest thing unanimous opinion on this record is that “Bound 2” is phenomenal. Then Ye had to go and ruin it with that atrocious music video (which Seth Rogen and James Franco redeemed, in part). It just shouldn’t be at #2. One last thing–is anyone else annoyed that Kanye says he “keeps it 300 like the Romans” but 300 is about Spartans?
#1 RS is too broad in scope to have lists like this.
This complaint is vague, but then again, so is RS’s niche appeal. It just doesn’t make sense to lump all of these artists together in a battle royale. Is there some Turing algorithm they use to determine that My Bloody Valentine had a better album this year than Elton John? Could it be that Keith Urban is simply a better musician than the lovely ladies of Savages? Does Avicii’s mom secretly love Lorde more than her own son? Make separate lists, RS! Or don’t make any at all. It would make my job easier.
Honorable mention: Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories not at #1.
This just me being selfish. Personally, I loved when you could go anywhere at anytime this summer and “Get Lucky” would be playing. Suddenly, a supermarket, a doctor’s office waiting room, or a stall in a Burger King bathroom could be a disco dance floor.
Did I miss anything? Was I totally wrong about something? Totally right? Comment below and let’s discuss whose opinion is more correcterer!
On a completely unrelated note, be on the lookout for Impact’s staff picks for top albums of the year coming soon, right here on impact89fm.org.
Written by Kevin Glide
Image Source: hypetrak.com