Go to the NEW FORUM
I just stumbled upon this feature at PopMatters. The All Time Top 3000 Albums list here is the basis for an ongoing feature at PopMatters called Counterbalance. Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger are revaluating and debating the rock canon. They recognize that this site is the best representation of the rock canon. They started with the number one album Pet Sounds and have made it to OK Computer .
They precede their first entry with
Cool to see Henrik's work being cited like this and actually being the basis of this discussion! I hope they go all the way to number 3000, though i guess the say site is going to be updated during the counting! But really really nice! Congrats Henrik and people over here that collect the lists from everywhere and make all this possible!
these guys remind me of a lot of my personal fb chat sessions with Moonbeam during the past two years (especially when they're dissenting from each other). only thing missing is a T10 exchange about the 15 coolest ways to photoshop funny '80s' slashers into the Where The Wild Roses Grow video at the end of the day..
So maybe, what I’m trying to get at, in a roundabout way, is that we need a playoff system to determine the greatest album of all time. . .
seems like a fresh idea to me, we so definitely have to cling on to that.
i know, i know, polltroll is just a harsher word for 13 years old enthusiasts (aka AMF00Bies), but the dilemma finally went bigweb, congratz.
you made it, Henrik. add greed read, too.
at least they re-discovered some long lost soul gem so far.
It's perplexing to me that someone who is presumably a music-expert has never listened to "What's Going On". Or any of the top 50 albums on this website, for that matter.
Awesome to see acclaimedmusic getting some well-deserved coverage though!
I thought Henrik's formula was based on wins-losses. It *is* a playoff system. Otherwise a Beatles album would probably be #1.
I like the idea of this column, but I think they have it backwards. What I think they should do is, every week, roll 1d3000. Review the album at that position. Now they're just talking about albums most serious music fans already have an opinion about.
That is really cool. I'm not exactly a "regular," but I've been lurking off and on for over a year and it's nice to see AM get some more recognition. This is just about my favorite reference source on the net for music.
I'm sure Henrik's readership shot way up. I love it.
This is a fun project on paper, but I've got to admit I'm a little disappointed in the quality of the criticism in this feature. There's a nice back and forth rapport between the two writers, but they have not shed much light at all on the works themselves.
for Sir Henrik and the site.
Just chiming in with another salute to Henrik for Popmatters' recognition - the kind of recognition that AM should be getting on a regular basis.
Yeah, I agree that it's nice when people cite to acclaimedmusic. This is a good website. I hope it keeps happening. Henrik does some great work.
On an unrelated note, Popmatters is one of my favorite music sites. Lately, though, they have had some pretty suspect opinions. Somehow, glowing reviews of Stone Sour, Disturbed, and Ke$ha just don't sit too well with me.
Very good idea of Popmatters! It's nice that they pay some quality attention to AM.
I only wished the critics would be little better in their jobs. Klinger does seem to know one or two things about pop music, but Mendelsohn seems to be your average layman who proposes questions to the wise old man.
I'm glad they're using the AM list to decide this--it really is the best representation of the rock music canon.
The feature itself isn't too interesting. Like others have said, I wish they chose random albums instead of going for the top, as it's pretty boring to read two music critics' opinions on Beatles and Bob Dylan albums these days. Also, their opinion that "the Beach Boys only have this one album" annoyed me. Even critics are unaware of Sunflower and Surf's Up?
They seem to be talking more about the idea of what a good list is in every column than the albums themselves. Essentially every album they are talking about is already canonized, now they are discussing why they got that way.
Hello from Counterbalance!
I just noticed that you all had found our PopMatters series. I had meant to drop by here and let folks know that we are doing this, but time does get away from us.
We had been doing a similar discussion of new releases for our local paper when we hit upon the idea of doing this project. Mendelsohn's expertise lies more in hip-hop, electronica, and more current indie stuff (he's a younger fellow, you know).
I think as the series goes on we'll get to talk more about albums that are less ensconced in the public consciousness, and hopefully that will lead to even more interesting discussions. It is challenging to find new things to say about Revolver and Highway 61.
Anyway, this site immediately presented itself as the ideal ranking system for our purposes. I've been consulting it for a long time and found it to be great resource. Thanks!
(Also, I love Surf's Up, but sadly critics haven't canonized it the way they did Pet Sounds, hence the lack of vote-splitting that keeps Pet Sounds ranked so highly—that's my theory anyway.)
Thank you for your reply, and for your feature. Everyone who frequents this forum obviously thinks very highly of Henrik's work, and we are all glad that you have shone a spotlight on it.
I had never been on PopMatters before this thread popped up on the forum, and will be glad to check it out more now.
I leveled some criticism at your and your partner's feature above in this thread. But I recognize how simple it is to anonymously throw spitballs at the back of the class, and I genuinely want to walk back somewhat from my earlier comment.
I started taking part in the discussions here some years ago to amateurishly (in all senses of the word) try my had at developing a critical voice. So I feel a little bad about being critical about the professional (in all senses of the word) effort that you and your partner have put in. Especially an effort where a good deal of humor, passion, and knowledge are delivered.
I see what you mean about there not being a lot new to say about the monumental albums you have started with, and VanillaFire's point that you have spent a good deal of time examining why these albums have become canonized is a good one.
So, I will keep reading your series (I have it bookmarked), and thank you for it. (And I agree with you that there is an ominous quality running through the White Album that is not simply the product of Charles Manson's perversions.)
ps: reset yourselves and start all over again at the bottom.
schwah's annoying little incest brother,
pps: as i wrote before: greed read. thanks!
Heh, nj... I certainly opened myself up for that one, didn't I.
Thanks for the thoughtful words—your comments are far from the spit-balliest we've received, and I do try to take criticism in the spirit it's intended (it's only fair, given my avocation).
I think that in these first several installments of Counterbalance, we are still finding our voice and trying to strike the right tone. That's always a work in progress, but I think we have a much better sense of what we're trying to do. In part, we are trying to understand what makes these albums canonical and why critics consistently rank them so highly. Along the way, we'll offer up our own perspectives (sometimes well-informed and sometimes reflecting the blind spots that we all have in our musical knowledge) and hopefully a bigger picture will emerge as we go.
Anyway, thanks for responding, and I'm glad to hear you'll be checking back. This has mostly been a lot of fun, and I'm really glad that we're bringing some attention to Henrik and this terrific site.
I think you should be picking from lower on the list. Focusing on albums that deserve more recognition rather than the ones that already have it.
Thanks a lot for commenting here. I was also negative in my initial comment, but I want to clarify by saying that I do enjoy the feature and am glad that you are using the AM list and taking the time to comment here.
Also, PopMatters might be the most interesting single site for EOY lists--the genre by genre ones are really informative. Keep up the good work.
I didn't see that coming or they coming... here. Sunflower is so underrated and I agree with BillAdam, picking up lower albums could bring (even) more interesting insights in music and the top 3000 as a whole.
That's an interesting suggestion, one I'm not opposed to looking into as we go forward. We started this Counterbalance project on our own blog as not much more than a writing exercise, so going in order was mainly a way to begin tackling the list. Once we decided to pitch it to PopMatters, we sort of locked ourselves into this sequential format. This idea is intriguing, though, especially since it would take us about 60 years to get through the list.
Maybe a Counterbalance From The Future, where we tackle albums further down the list? Something to consider as the series becomes more established...
Thanks again for the input, everyone.
I just want to say that I'm flattered that you're using Acclaimed Music as the basis for your feature. I agree with Jackson that the Popmatters lists are interesting, one of the sources I am most pleased to include at AM.
Sorry to bump this now 6-month old topic, but I think the most recent post from the Popmatters guys on Miles Davis' Kind of Blue goes through a topic the forums has talked about a few times before: the lack of jazz and hip-hop near the top of the list. Using a cutoff at 200, we see that there are:
3 jazz albums (Kind of Blue, Love Supreme, and Bitches' Brew)
& 13 rap albums (Nation of Millions, 3 Feet High & Rising, Entroducing, Straight Outta Compton, The Chronic, Paul's Boutique, Miseduation of Lauryn Hill, 36 Chambers, Fear of a Black Planet, Raising Hell, Stankonia, The Blueprint, Marshall Mathers LP)
now going farther and calling the "canon" the top 500 albums, the number of jazz albums grows to about a dozen while the hip-hop list grows pretty well. Even then, you could argue that both of these genres are better represented then reggae or country. We all know that this list is already weighed towards white, male, english speaking music. Of course, the popmatters editorial staff could probably try to make up their own list to rectify this problem if they wanted to.
I don't think it's fair to label music 'White' or 'Black'. The two influence each other so much, and fans with a broad range of tastes rather than just listening to their favorite genre tend to appreciate both.
I think jazz isn't as represented on the lists because jazz fans focus more on live performances than recorded albums. And rap? If It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back came out in 1967 instead of 1989 it would be higher up on the list. R&B is very well represented especially on the singles list.
Also, is TV On The Radio 'white music' or 'black music'? More white people listen to them, but most of the band is black. How about Jimi Hendrix? Eminem? Let's not build too many fences here.
Well, I mean if it came out to the same reception.
There isn't a whole lot from the last thirty years that's in the upper echelons of the list. Besides Nevermind and OK Computer, nothing else from 1980 onward is ranked higher.
Regardless of the white vs. black distinction, jazz should be more represented in the upper echelons of the list. 13 out of the top 200 seems about right for rap. 3 out of the top 200 for jazz is absurd.
I agree in principle jazz should be more represented, but I think that jazz is designed for live performances and loses something on the studio record, more so than pop/rock genres.
Jazz is not really about recorded performances as much as the live performances, so it doesn't bother me that there are so few jazz albums in the top 200. It's just that's the only way most of us can hear the very best jazz these days.
A list of albums isn't necessarily a list of the greatest music of all time, just a list of the greatest music in a particular format. I'm sure if we came up with a "greatest compositions" list jazz would be much more represented.
Much of jazz is about spontaneity and improvisation. Jazz is different every time you hear it, a record is the same.
And no, it isn't the case that recorded music is just designed to make you go see the concert. That may have been the case before the Beatles, but now more and more, it's the concerts that are designed to sound like the record. I've been to shows where the act actually apologized for playing something not on the album.
I guess the rarity of jazz records is mathematical. It is due to the fact that most critic lists used to make the AM top 3000 are rock critic lists.
Look at the EOY overall lists : most of the magazine and sites are rock and especially indie rock oriented.
That's just why IMO there is so few jazz (not spaeking of non anglophone music).
As for rap there are less written sources about the genre, and I guess that basically the type of person who's likely to rank his favotire albums of all-time is for some reason more attracted by "white" genres (yes BillAdama the distinction isn't stric but it is a cultural fact that there is black and white music)and especially indie rock nowadays.
Let us not forget that AM 3000 is not a canon. It is just a list of the most acclaimed records based on a certain number of sources and on a certain method of calculation.
That is also true, that it's mostly rock critics who make these lists.
My point is that the distinction between 'black music' and 'white music' is a lot bigger for casual listeners than for audiophiles. There is no bias on the AM list against 'black music'. Top three albums of 1980s are: Public Enemy, Prince, Michael Jackson. Black acts have 7 of the top 20 all time singles, 5 of the top 7 from the 00's. The reason there isn't much rap at the very top of the list is because the list is biased in favor of music from the 60s and 70s.
If you only listen to one genre of music, your race is a significant predictor of what genre that is. If you enjoy all kinds of different music, it doesn't matter at all.
I don't know if anybody's been watching 'The Voice', but Cee-Lo expressed excitement about the idea of writing a country song.
Trust the words of me, myself and nicolas. It's because of lame douchebag rock lists with lame douchebag dylan, stones and beatles at their top and one or two lame half ass jazz alibis somewhere around #50 and #76 (if any).
/end of hyperbolic douchebag accentuations to make me my statement grittier und so much truer by that.
edit: and add Henrik, too.
Jackson, I think nicolas gave the answer here:
Jackson : so let's find a maximum all-jazz lists or jazz friendly lists to counterbalance rock in the next updates. Jazz people and rock people (and especially the critics) don't mix that much. Rock critics are too busy to care for jazz and most jazz critics (at least the older generations) despise rock.
I mean, there are some people who only listen to country, or only listen to metal, or only listen to rock, or only listen to rap.
There are other people who listen to all kinds of different music from all kinds of different influences.
You can guess a lot more about the former than the latter. If you listen to country music, for instance, and no other kind of music, odds are you live in the southern US, and require large amounts of sunblock.
If you listen to country, and rap, and folk, and rock, and blues, and bluegrass, you could just as easily be from any regional or ethnic background.
Paul/Loophole, did you hear that?