Album Rankings – Why Mine Are So Correct…(Hint: They’re Not)

There was a day when I would accept as fact any “Top Ten Albums by ___” or “Best Albums from the Year ___” list in any esteemed bastion of music knowledge such as Rolling Stone or MOJO.  Album reviews by the likes of Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, or Greil Marcus were facts, not subjective opinions from writers who have had good and bad experiences with artists they’d spent time with in the past.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is another subjective (ongoing) list made by individuals with their own prejudices.  Garbage.  If we accepted as gospel what the music scribes say, then there would be about five albums worth listening to.

Rarely do I look at such lists anymore, and when I do I don’t take them seriously.  The only instances when they are useful to me is when I learn of a recording I wasn’t familiar with beforehand.  One example of this is the Richard Thompson album Henry the Human Fly.  This nugget was somehow included on a MOJO Magazine list of the best ever guitar-oriented albums.  I don’t think of that album as being any more guitar-oriented than any other rock album from the early 1970’s, but it is a good record I most likely wouldn’t have heard of had I not reviewed the list.  Various top 50 or 100 jazz album lists have also been good resources for me as I continue to educate myself about the genre.

But my preferences?  My lists?  Well yeah!  Duh…

As the core theme of my blog is 50th music anniversaries, one of my new blogosphere friends, hanspostcard, suggested I come up with a “Best Albums of 1968” list and rank them, and we would compare notes.  Wow!  Somebody actually wants to know what I would list and how I would rank them?  Cool!  No way am I going to deny such a request.  However, as we’re not quite halfway through the year, I’ve decided to hold off until December to rank 1968 albums and singles.  So far this year I’ve discovered for myself a couple of recordings from that year that I was previously unaware of, and there just might be more in the coming months, so I’ll wait to pontificate.  However, hanspostcard has me thinking of other lists I’d like to share sporadically in the coming months, and as I do, I’d like to know what you think and how you would arrange them.

Your preferences?  Your lists?  Well yeah!  Duh…

-Stephen