[28 January 2010]
The good people at PopMatters put out my listing of best music journalism of 2009. Hope you like it.
After going through the exhausting process of putting it together in late December and thinking about the previous 11 months that I spent compiling the material, I’m thinking that it might be a good time to take a break from doing this list every year. This will be the seventh listing I’ve done, with the last three of them appearing here at PM, while all the previous ones appeared at rockcritics.com.
Don’t get wrong- I like doing the work as far as I think that MAYBE it provides a good source for anyone interested in music journalism as well as a bunch of well-deserved pats on the back for some great writers (and a couple of pies thrown at some bad ones too). I was also gratified to hear from Greil Marcus, who compiled the latest Da Capo series on music journalism, saying that he found my previous list to be useful in his own research as did the editor at Perseus who said that my guides were regularly used as a reference for the series.
I have to admit though that it’s pretty tiring work and to be even more honest, I’m not sure what I get out of it anymore. I love to write and edit but I have to try to balance that with the work on my own zine (where I’m finishing up the next issue now), my freelance work (just handed in two assignments and I have two more to do now), not to mention my day job. Also, I want to do more blogging right now (like this) plus add more to the two other blogs that I do, at Ye Wei (centered more on individual releases and musicians) and for Audubon magazine (not to mention the one that I promised to do for WFMU and occ. for Boogie Woogie Flu). Also, I still feel really bad for dropping the ball on the idea for an NYC music commission (which I’d still be glad to help with if someone else took up the mantle) and I’d still love to do a collection of non-U.S./U.K. music journalism as there’s some great writing out there might many music fans never see. I really want to do a good job with these other things and having this extra work detracts from it. This is basically the same reason that I decided to give up on producing reissues, even though I was very proud of those too (Kleenex/Liliput, Delta 5, Essential Logic, Oh OK, DNA).
I’m also concerned frankly that I’m getting too glued to my computer as I’m doing all this work and want to free myself up a bit from it. When I’m old and incapacitated, it’ll be fine for me to park myself in front of my computer and type away all day. Before then, I’m like to spend more time with my girlfriend, see my friends and family more, experience life outside of my apartment on evenings and weekends, etc.. Not that I’m automatically gonna do all those things but let’s just say that now I’ll have less excuses to avoid them.
I’m not looking for any sympathy here but I would have one request for other writers out there. It would be great if someone else could do these yearly listings- not just compiling a list of noteworthy articles but also come up a decent summation of each year, trying to synthesize the info, look forward and add some suggestions and ideas about what should or could be happening. Da Capo’s series does this to some extent but we need more than one voice addressing this each year.
Who knows? I might get bored and jump back into this by the end of the year or later but hopefully, I’ve earned my time off for now. Time for some new blood to jump in there and mix it up!