What’s The Point?

I just read some really bizarre comments over on songbytoad.  Matthew had written a really interesting piece on end of year lists basically highlighting how he really couldn’t fathom how anyone could sit and put together a top 50 list from the past decade.  I understand that completely.  I felt the exact same emotion when I read NME’s top 50.  The thought of sitting and thinking about records on such a large scale was actually quite terrifying.  The only reason that I even bothered to tackle it was that, firstly, it sounded fun, and secondly, I spend a lot more time in the house at the moment than I used to cause of the wee man, so have a lot more time to sit, write and think about music.

I guess ultimately a music mag like NME has the luxury of having a whole team of writers to sit and deliberate and discuss such issues and that creating such a list is something that is an obvious and important feature for a music magazine.  It’s kind of expected isn’t it?  However, contrary to the opinion of others over on songbytoad I actually think that such an exercise is very interesting and worthwhile.  For a start, it got a reaction out of me.  I was shocked that the Strokes were number 1 and the Libertines were number 2 and if I’m honest I’m pretty sure that it got the same reaction from those who “don’t see the point in such lists”.  Well I guess the point is that they are fun and cathartic in a way.  There is no right or wrong answer at the end of the day, it’s all about personal taste and opinion.  And like Matthew said, it’s often about what an album meant to you at any given moment in time.  That’s really important!  Surely??  I love knowing why a record means something to somebody.  I really do.

I fear that in dismissing end of year lists you might as well dismiss the whole exercise of reviewing music and having an opinion on music full stop.  What is the point in me reading Matthew’s blog or anyone elses blog for that matter other than to read their opinion?  It’s because I value his opinion (can’t believe I’m admitting that) about music that I read in the first place.  I love how he introduces me to new music.  And I believe that there is value to anyone’s opinion on music whether it be the new Julian Casablancas album or indeed the top 100 albums of the last 1o0 years list.  It’s not only interesting in my eyes but it’s essential and it’s also informative.  Just cause a lot of people will have heard of all the albums on my list doesn’t mean everyone will have.   Hopefully I’ll have opened some people up to artists, or albums that they had not heard before and that they will investigate further.  I see a point.  I really do.  And I don’t understand people who dismiss them so readily.  I can 100% guarantee that people are actually really interested to know what Matthew’s top 10 of 2009 consists of and of course the lists of other bloggers too.  Perhaps not mine.  That much is edivent.  But I know I am keenly anticipating reading what others think of records released this year and which albums have made them tick most.  And I always will look forward to such lists.  I might not try such an experiment again given the enormity of the task.  But I will look forward to lists by those who do try.  Always.