Best of Lists Can Miss One Very Important Point
Last night on Fresh Air I was talking to Ruth and Neil about how the albums which define the Noughties, or indeed any particular place or period of time, for me will probably not be the great ones. The great ones get listened to again and again and end up with memories spread all over your life, and asssociations with all sorts of things, so I actually think it’s the stuff I have since stopped listening to that will end up with the strongest associations to a particular time and place.
So for all, say, The Libertines debut won’t make my Best of the Decade list, it will probably end up being one of the albums I most associate with the decade. I played that record to fucking death when it came out. Listening back, I still love it, but for some reason I really don’t play it that much any more. Even when I think about the fact that I still love it, the urge to actually stick it on the stereo isn’t there. Unlike, say, the Giant Sand album released at around the same time.
The Libertines – The Good Old Days
By contrast, we played The Streets last night as well, and Christ it was embarrassing. I was really into that album too, but it was just painful to listen back to. Maybe that’s because his subsequent albums seemed to charicature the flaws and annoyances in his style so much that on re-listening to Original Pirate Material that has become all I can hear. Whatever the reasons though, it’s a record I listened to quite a bit at the time and, honestly, am never likely to (voluntarily) listen to again.
The Streets – Let’s Push Things Forward
The Killers debut Hot Fuss is another slightly different example. A brilliant, infectious, pop record that their subsequent failures don’t negate at all. Nevertheless, I still have no real urge to play that album particularly, and so the songs and the memories they evoke have become entirely locked in the latter years of the decade.
The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It
So basically, I think that for all this listery is kind of interesting I do find myself thinking more, not about the best albums of the decade, but the albums which I will most strongly associate with the decade in about ten years from now, and the two really don’t overlap all that much. I think of this one as a sort of lost list, not really one you can write down off the top of your head, more one which will slowly reveal itself over the course of time as you either continue or cease to listen to particular records.More: killers, libertines, streets