Thursday, November 02, 2006

Somewhat Premature

Why, for a second year in a row, have Uncut magazine published their albums of the year list in the first week of November? It's complete madness, and it's difficult to tell how many gems have been ignored through this ridiculously early polling. Albums that rely largely on word of mouth over a period of months have inevitably been cruelly ignored. It also wouldn't exactly take a genius to predict top placing for Bob Dylan's 'Modern Times' here.

To be fair, there are some interesting and worthy selections this year - Scritti Politti at 2, Comets On Fire an unlikely 3, Hot Chip at 8, Ali Farka Toure at 17, Burial at 20, Scott Walker at 25, TV On The Radio at 26, Neko Case at 30, Donald Fagen at 42, Band Of Horses at 46.

There are some blatantly absurd selections too though - Neil Young's cringe-inducing and hamfisted take on the 'protest' album 'Living With War' is at 5 (a prime example of a great artist being indulged - has Neil Young made a decent record in the last ten years?), Scissor Sisters at 36 (do they need the publicity?), Lily Allen at 38, the horrendous Kasabian at 44, The Walkmen's hugely disappointing Dylan impressions at 45, the ever-pompous Muse at 48,Belle and Sebastian's cloying radio 2-lite at 49.

The Belle and Sebastian inclusion is interesting, as it represents virtually the sole entry for conventional indie-pop in this list - there's no room for either of Stephin Merritt's fine albums, the excellent Camera Obscura record or The Hidden Cameras.

The rest of the omissions are too numerous to list - and given that I'm holding back my own end of year lists until Christmas, I don't want to give too much away at this stage!

In a top 50, there's never enough breadth and depth of coverage - at least Mojo publish some specialist charts in their end of year review, although it's always a shame that many of the year's best records are included in these charts and omitted from the main round-up. This list inevitably ignores jazz and soul, but the lack of coverage for electronic music and hip hop is also hugely frustrating.

1 comment:

SMc said...

you're right about Uncut's unseemly rush to be first out of the traps with their list but hopefully they'll get caught out down the line when great new stuff like the Benoit Pioulard record (on Kranky) gets its word-of-mouth due.
Can't say I mind the omission of hip-hop at all, tho but...