As I'm seeing other writers and music fans pile up on top 10 lists for favorite albums, something occurs to me about these lists. If you name ten albums, what about everything else that come out this year? Did you only like ten albums? Probably not, especially if you're a music nut. But a list of ten limits you and makes it easier to tally for the publication involved. For my own list of ten, albums that didn't make the cut included Paul Westerberg, Girl Talk, Lil Wayne, Martha Wainwright, Lucinda Williams, TV on the Radio, Nine Inch Nails, Okkervil River and Mavis Staples and I loved those records as well. I just didn't happen to love them as 10 other albums. And even after that, there are about 40 more albums that I liked. But none of that gets heard- you'll just yoked to 10 records and that's it.
This is a shame because not only does it make you the writer look short-sighted about many great releases that came out but you also don't get to tell other people about this and maybe turn them on to some releases that they hadn't heard about. The 10 album list sometimes lets you include reissues but even then, you'd have to squeeze out some new albums to make room for them on your list. I counted almost 50 reissues/compilations and archive albums that I'd recommend but there's no way I could squeeze that on a list of 10.
The only way out of this is to find someone else online (i.e. your own blog or a zine) to post your full list of goodies. That gives you a chance to really say "here's what I liked," instead of "here's a cropped, abridged version of some of the stuff I liked."
To some people, this might look like your ego's going crazy but I say that we should have more talk about music and not less. Even if we can't learn about great music we didn't hear about otherwise, we can at least find kindred spirits who also liked the music that we liked. For anyone who dug albums by Harry Taussig, Byetone, Popguns, Truckee Brothers, Hybrid Kids, Derby, Raglani, Capstan Shafts, Goldmund, Pat Todd, Fannypack, the Knux, Absentee, Clark and the Heavy, I'm with you. And if you didn't hear about any of 'em, please go and find out about 'em, OK?
In the spirit of putting my moola where my tonsils are, I posted my full list of fave '08 music at the Ye Wei blog.