Take me off the list

December 3rd, 2007

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

End of year lists? I hate them. Hate them, hate them, hate them.

Okay. I used to love them —if a favorite movie or album made an Important List, it was as if my tastes were validated.

When “Borat” showed up on the Rolling Stone list last year I felt somewhat of a sense of intellectual validation for loving a movie which featured an extended wrestling scene between two naked men as its centerpiece.

Besides, end-of year-lists —from TIME’s Person of the Year on down — are fun.
For the reader.

Me? I started getting press releases about my “End of the Year Lists” in July. The year was barely halfway over and I was supposed to start thinking about December? I don’t think so.

Last week I got an e-mail from amazon.com announcing their editors’ picks for the top 100 albums of the year.

Excuse me, a year includes 12 months. That’s December, when high profile artists such as Wu-Tang Clan, Mary J. Blige and Rivers Cuomo will be releasing new discs. I suspect all three will be more deserving than some of the artists to make amazon.com’s cut (Hilary Duff? Seriously?).

Last year I copped out of writing a list. Instead, I compiled a mix of about 15 or so songs I enjoyed in 2006 (I don’t see enough movies to even have a valid opinion). I arranged the songs in order as I would on a proper mix tape, for best listening experience rather than rank. It was fun and I’ll probably do the same this year.

Here’s another little secret: that wasn’t my “real” mix.

My “real” musical documentation of 2006 opened with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” released about a month after I was born. But, throughout 2006, that song kept popping up at the oddest places — at friends’ parties (not so odd), traveling through Israel (a bit odd) and hiking the Great Wall of China (extremely odd). How could I not include this song?

Besides, any great piece of art lasts longer than a year. My favorite album of 2007, The Hold Steady’s “Boys and Girls in America,” came out in 2006. It’ll be in heavy rotation it for years to come.

The amazon.com list (a cultural barometer if there ever was one) is much more disposable. Will people really still be listening to Lily Allen or The Shins’ “Wincing the Night Away” a year from now? Doubtful, but amazon.com’s trying to sell them now. In time for Christmas. (Biggest gripe: where’s The White Stripes on this list?)

The funniest thing about the amazon.com list is number four- Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” — there’s no price or artwork listed. Customers can “sign up to be notified when this item becomes     available,” but they’d have to be stupid to do that — the album’s been available from the band as a pay-what-you-want download since October.

That, truly, is the album of the year (and I don’t even like Radiohead). Some of the “bigger” lists will probably acknowledge it, but these lists are just so… predictable.

Staff writer Josh Eiserike can be reached at 703-878-807.

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