Monday, October 3, 2011

There's Nothing Worse Than a "Worst of..." List

I opened Yahoo! the other to see this article title in the headlines: The Ten Worst Heavy Metal Albums of All Time!. So proudly was this title displayed that I assumed that the albums on such a list much be the scraped-off muck that comes from the bottom of the proverbial barrel only to clog up the web and draw attention away from real metal prowess. Now far be it from me to decide what albums would constitute such a description, but in my head the only such albums would be ones that suffer from terrible production, average instrumentation, or simply lack the vision and desire of such metal masterpieces like Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood, Hysteria, or Cowboys from Hell.
Yet the problem arises when compiling a "Worst of..." list because music is simply subjective, and what is so far out of the reach of understanding for some people makes perfect sense to others. Some of the best examples that come to mind are hardcore punk bands The Germs and Black Flag, post-punk bands The Slits and X-Ray Spex, and Riot Grrrl bands Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. I gotta say that Rob O'Connor, writer of Yahoo's List of the Day music blog has certainly lost all of my respect in one fell swoop. The number one rule in the music business (trust me, even if people won't admit it, it's true) is that it's imperative to be careful when describing just how something sounds and analyzing it. Many journalists chalk this up to questioning if it's "good" or not, but it's only through that thought process that they parade their ignorance. Music is art, and art has no right or wrong. Also living within the bounds of reality, when music journalists do this (and we've all seen Almost Famous, so it's clear how artists many times see music journalists) they risk alienating not only their die-hard fans, but would-be readers and the artists themselves.
Take a look and see for yourself. For me, Bob O'Connor's list is a perfect example of everything that's wrong with music journalism today.

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