Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pitchfork is Pitchf**ked

I KNOW that commenting on big 'best _____ of the ____' lists is futile, and I KNOW that music, more so than anything else, is entirely subjective and a matter of personal taste and I KNOW that Pitchfork's reviews are generally naval-gazing and indie-tastic. And yet still, I can't help but comment on the recent Pitchfork list of the top 500 songs of the 2000's. I'm like an addict, and ripping on horribly-composed countdown lists are my drug. Full disclosure: I went through the list song-by-song and it turns out that I had only heard 103 of them, so obviously I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of musical trends these days. But even still, one needn't be a subscriber to Cakes Monthly to know when a Sara Lee has gone stale.

The full list is here, along with a handy function to count how many you know.

First, let's start with #1. "Bombs Over Baghdad" is a very good song, certainly one of Outkast's better tracks. But calling it even the best Outkast song of the decade, let alone the best overall song of the Aughts, is a major stretch. It would be like making a list of the best baseball players of all time and putting someone like Willie McCovey in the top slot. B.O.B.'s selection at #1 sticks out when you consider that "Ms. Jackson" (from the very same album) is a better song and pretty much eclipsed B.O.B. both critically and commercially. Pitchfork had it at #55, which also seems a bit low.

If you're going to make a list like this, you have to take social impact into consideration. Your top ten has to be songs that, if someone is making a "hey, remember the Aughts?" special in 20 years, will be included in the opening montage. B.O.B. doesn't pass that test. Again, Outkast themselves had a better candidate for #1 --- Hey Ya, which checked in at #12 on the list. The fact that Hey Ya was out of the top ten shocked me, since I would've put good odds on it topping the list altogether.

I could get into a big thing about how certain songs are ranked too low ('The Seed 2.0 at #330, at least 250 places lower than it should've been) or too high (I like 'Paper Planes' as much as the next guy, but third overall?!), but that could take all day. So instead I'll just point out that it is literally embarrassing to Pitchfork that there are a grand total of zero U2 or Pearl Jam tracks on this entire list. I realize that Pitchfork's editors think of themselves as so hip it hurts*, but come on here, people. Just because it's fun to poke fun at Bono and Vedder's earnestness doesn't mean that there were 500 songs this decade better than Magnificent, Beautiful Day, Life Wasted, Insignificance, City of Blinding Lights...the list goes on and on. Am I as equally biased as Pitchfork's editors just because U2 and Pearl Jam are my two favourite bands? Yes, but I'm less obnoxiously trendy about it. Not less obnoxious overall, of course, just less obnoxious in that particular way.

* = Whenever I think of the Pitchfork office, I think of that Simpsons scene where the two teens at Hullabalooza are watching Homer's cannonball-in-the-gut act.

Kid #1[voice dripping with condescension]: Oh, here comes that cannonball guy. He's cool.
Kid #2: Are you being sarcastic, dude?
Kid #1: I don't even know anymore.

No comments: