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Thread: Pitchfork's '200 Best Albums of the 1980s'

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    Default Pitchfork's '200 Best Albums of the 1980s'

    It's what you'd expect from them I guess, a lot of obvious stuff (SY, Pixies, The Cure, Public Enemy, Kate Bush) with the odd curveball thrown in (Janet Jackson, Control at #8?). I'll never get my head round anyone thinking Daydream Nation is the best Sonic Youth album, it seems to come up in these lists all the time and it's fucking boring, I've never even heard anyone talk about it outside of articles like this.

    https://pitchfork.com/features/lists...-of-the-1980s/

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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    I'll never get my head round anyone thinking Daydream Nation is the best Sonic Youth album, it seems to come up in these lists all the time and it's fucking boring, I've never even heard anyone talk about it outside of articles like this.
    I've really never understood the appeal of SY. Like you, found that album quite stunningly boring.

    I remember in the early '90s, seeing them play 'Drunken Butterfly' live on some TV show and being interested enough to check out the 'Dirty' album, but finding that quite boring too. And back in the Mediafire/Megaupload/download everything heyday, pretty sure I checked out 'Goo' too, but just seemed - meh. Wedding Present-y indie.

    The guy's apparently a semi-regular at Cafe Oto and knows his avant garde inside out, so am quite amazed his band sounds so...dunno, tame? Presumably there's some early dissonant, noisy record they made that I'm completely unaware of...

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    "daydream nations" was very much a step in a more tuneful "rock" direction for them, that's probably why the indie press fawn over it. the earlier albums ("confusion is sex", "bad moon rising", "evol" and "sister") are much noisier. subsequent albums like "dirty" sound almost mainstream now but were still a bit radical at the time for a major label. later period SY started to get pretty un-tuneful again, less noisy and more long-song jammy. and yeah, Thurston has released a ton of legit improv stuff and plays live with lots of avant stalwarts.

    not sticking up for them or anything but guess I still have a slight soft spot for the band, for old time's sake. they opened the door to lots of other bands, helped them get signed to labels, brought them on national and international tours, etc (most obviously, nirvana, but also real aggro bands like Jesus lizard).

    drummer Steve Shelley has lived down the street from me for decades, will ask his opinion the next time I see him in the vegetable aisle at the market.

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    Strange list. Plenty of great music there of course, but 2 metallica LPs? Three Madonna LPs?

    Almost no non-western music, no love for ragga and Apollo over On land = fail

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    re: Sonic Youth - I like a bunch of their stuff, I just can't get into Daydream Nation. It's this weird, bland monument in the middle of much better material.

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    Quote Originally Posted by droid View Post
    Almost no non-western music
    Yeah, I noticed that too, particularly after they made a point of their embracing of 'diversity' in the intro.

    Longtime readers may remember that, in 2002, we made a list of The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. That list was shorter, sure, but it also represented a limited editorial stance we have worked hard to move past; its lack of diversity, both in album selections and contributing critics, does not represent the voice Pitchfork has become.

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    i dunno about sonic youth. ive always wanted microtonal noise (the electronic kind, not rock) but i still listen to turkish folk. so far all i have is xenakis and that new remaster of la legend d'eer was like a religious experience for me. imagine hearing that on a university sound system.

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    ya just skimming it's basically a rundown of how cool canonical taste has and hasn't expanded in last fifteen years

    i.e. rap decently represented (tbf reggae too, for a list like this), decent amount of hardcore even if a lot of it (Flipper, Meat Puppets, Rites of Spring) can double as art rock, metal if anything over-represented, way more drone/ambient/modern classical than the first list, tons of (exclusively Anglo-American) normal + outre pop, and ofc bc PFork tons of postpunk dissonant and/or jangle guitars etc tho tbf a lot of that is quite good at least

    otoh verrrry token African music (and no SA bubblegum or kwaito, Nigerian boogie, zouk, etc) and none at all from anywhere else non-Western (shit barely any non-US/UK) beside token Japambient LP or two, zero U.S. boogie (thought Damfunk + Thundercat made that cool years ago?), barely any post-disco or proto-house (and the early 80s club music is only the most basic arty white side like Tom-Tom Club), ZERO TECHNO (a couple seminal comp LPs at least), zero Italo

    on dance music they did acknowledge singles-heavy genres but cmon a compilation LPs at least. they had room for like 17 New Order LPs.

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    otooh it could well be worse, and it did make me want to listen like a dozen things that are on my list but I've never gotten to, and to relisten to some old faves

    I always wonder what the point of lists like this, besides critical dickswinging I mean

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    not that I'm really against critical dickslinging tbc

    just like, if there was a point beyond that, what is it

    man they really need to step up that 80s African game tho that's been a big deal for a hot minute there are millions of sick records some are even well-known

    like how in the everliving fuck is there not a single William Onyeabor LP on that list

    but there are like a combined 50 by various skinny shaggy-haired white guitar bros (I say that as a general fan of such bros, but still cmon)

    now I'm making myself angry, gotta stop

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    I'm on extensive record somewhere - upthread here I think - on why SY sux mainly Thurston but are so overrated

    tho acknowledging tbf that ya they put a ton of effort into putting a ton of cool people on, and they paved ways for better/more interesting things, etc

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    Quote Originally Posted by padraig (u.s.) View Post
    I always wonder what the point of lists like this, besides critical dickswinging I mean
    it's because lists are easy to read/scan and are engaging: they get people talking/debating/sharing. they even have US talking about it!

    in today's media world, that's about the best you can do.

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    im sure there is west african stuff that is really out there tonally but i don't know it and damn these cultural tastemakers should tell me.

    i ean i still want 24 tone rnb.

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    there's probably also a wealth of arabic classical that has yet to be discovered beyond the big names...

    cosmic riddims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo View Post
    it's because lists are easy to read/scan and are engaging
    ya ofc I know that

    maybe it's just Pfork like there's this fake air of canonical solemnity, pop music Harold Bloom over here, when in fact it's glorified clickbait

    tbf shit like Harold Bloom is basically a higher level of glorified clickbait so idk. lists of cool stuff! catch the fever!
    Last edited by padraig (u.s.); 11-09-2018 at 12:56 AM. Reason: instead clickbait I wrote clickbeat, which sounds like some awful subgenre of micrhouse

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