Thursday, August 13, 2009

End of the Oughts: Who will P4K Deem the Greatest???

I can't be the only one whose interest has been piqued by Pitchfork's announcement of their upcoming list-a-thon, cataloging a decades worth of music and bestowing upon one fine record the exalted honor of "Best of the Decade". Same goes for song and video.

So the $64,000 question is, "What album will it be?" I discussed this at length with a colleague a few days ago, and we arrived at a few possibilities. Some of my favorites I wouldn't mind seeing nab the #1 spot:

Something by Radiohead:

I think the odds here are about as good as Tiger Woods winning a golf tournament. Tiger wins less than half the tournaments he plays in, but so many would take him against the field anyway. Same thing when it comes to Radiohead and Pitchfork lists. So far they've won best album of the 90s (OK Computer) and best album of 2000-2004 (Kid A). 9.0 is the lowest rating pitchfork has ever given a proper release (Amnesiac), and even that boasts a contender for top song ("Pyramid Song", which the Chicago snobs have consistently touted as Radiohead's ultimate effort.) My money might be on In Rainbows, not only for the quality of music, but also the unorthodox, controversial, and immediately influential method of release.

Boys and Girls in America, The Hold Steady:

Another perrennial Fork favorite, the Hold Steady's flagship album netted them a 9.4 rating (higher than any 2000s Radiohead album except tenner Kid A) and is on its surface very topical but basically about hipsters partying. Not to take away from it; I think it's a beautiful record, and a nice reflection of their demographic. But the album wasn't named best of the year, so can we really expect it to land atop the decade list? Look for "Stuck Between the Stations" to chart impressively on the songs list.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco:

Why not? It's a 10.0 record, although Pitchfork has sort of retroactively disowned Wilco to some degree. Since uncharacteristically missing the point of A Ghost Is Born, the site has exiled the band to Dad-rock purgatory (not that Wilco hasn't abetted this process), patting its head patronizingly in subsequent reviews. But hopefully the album's classic status will win the day, and YHF will at least be on the front end of the list.

Ghosts of the Great Highway, Sun Kil Moon:

In the words of Dana Carvey as George Bush, "Nagunnadoit." While an unimpeachable masterpiece in my mind, it was only awarded an 8.3 by the Forkers, and thus probably won't even land it in the top 200. This is a damned shame in my opinion. Unfortunately Koz won't garner much if any representation on these lists. A real tragedy, considering how sure I am of the fact that he easily made some of the best music this decade had to offer.


Barely scratching the surface, I know, but just some food for thought. I'm also conscious of the fact that Pitchfork covers a lot more than just the Americana/Alt-Rock for which I have a bias. The song list starts next week and the album list rolls out next month. Keep an eye out -- reactions sure to follow. And please feel free to submit your opinions.

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