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Rolling Stone's Usual Suspects

Pop quiz. Multiple choice.

A) I am finally too old for today's music scene.
B) I am hopelessly out of touch with what passes for the best music these days.
C) The editors of Rolling Stone magazine are a bunch of pretentious bastards.

Different year, same rant.

Out of the 50 albums on this year's Rolling Stone list, 17 are artists I never heard of. And of all of those 50 albums, I have purchased five and they were all for my son.

Some day a popular, mainstream magazine will print a year-end list that doesn't look like Indie's Greatest Hits. Much like I said last year, be a man. Own up to what you really loved. Sure, everybody and their hipster brother has The Shins in their top 50 of 2003, but not one of those pansy critics was ready to admit that they bought - and loved - the Clay Aiken cd.


In my case it would have to be D, All of the Above.

I'd be hard pressed to tell you the last time I bought music written in the last five years.

I was a musician, always played in bands, mage the CBGB scene back when the talking Heads were getting started. But about five years ago I dried uncle and gave up.

I guess I'm old enough to be put out to pasture.

Wow I've got 3 of em!
How hip am I?
They do still say hip don't they?

Ummm Paul, you Dried Uncle?
Is this something you should be sharing?

Is that like dried beef jerky?

Who are The Shins?

For a contrarian view, I'd say that most of their list isn't particularly "indie" in either a literal or figurative sense; it's nearly all major-label stuff, and extremely accessible.

What it shows is that, unlike much of the music-buying and -listening public, critics are willing to seek out and listen to stuff that doesn't get the shit promoted out of it and doesn't air every 10 minutes on VH1 . . . like Clay Aiken.

If - to take an example of one of the record on their list that I bought this year -- The New Pornographers were promoted and played as aggressively as Blink-182, they'd be international superstars. To me, critics' Best-Of lists do the promotion job for deserving artists that their labels don't do themselves.

No idea, Dodd.

Phil, I'd bet you a hundred dollars that if the New Pornographers were promoted and played aggressively, they wouldn't be on the list.

Blink 182 and Linkin Park are the token mainstream "rock" acts that appear on the list every year.

Can someone please explain why St. Anger is on there? Please?

the shins really are fantastic, although you always have to wish that rock critics would get it right. i mean, why don't they just say that the shins first album that came out a couple years ago is one of the top 50 albums of the year, since this is clearly a makeup call? the new album is decent...but come on.

i have the same problem often with rolling stone - like the way they now have all the led zeppelin albums rated 4 or 5 stars, although at the time they were released they panned them. musical tastes aren't as impressive in retrospect, guys.

Point taken, Michele, but I disagree. After all, 50 Cent is on the list, and in terms of lasting value and credibility, there's little qualitative difference between him and, oh, Ruben Studdard or Britney. Maybe the reason those hipster albums are all on the list is because they are qualitatively better.

Frankly, it's more suprising to me to see any of those records on RS's list, as they long ago gave up credibility to become Tools of the Industry. Do they even give fewer than three stars to anything anymore? It's like Homer Simpsons' restaurant reviewing job: "Nine Thumbs Up? What the hell is that??"

Funny you should mention this topic - I just got through doing a little rant about rock critics myself the other day.

The problem is not indie bands - there are plenty of wonderful indie bands out there. The problem is that rock music critics are perpetually in competition with each other to prove who is the hippest hipster. As a result, they tend to strongly favor hipster-type bands. Music that's powerfully simple, infectious and unpretentious never even appears on their radar screen.

I have absolutely no use for any of them. Bush wants to colonize the moon - I say let's send the rock critics and let them finally contribute somethign useful to society. ;-)

For me, the strangest thing I saw on that list was "On their second album, these pop-friendly Long Island punks discovered nuance

Wait, these kids are from LI and I've never heard of them!? Damn I really HAVE been out of the circuit too long...

After that, I recognized quite a few names, but the album titles are new to me...

Random thing: Anyone else think Sting looks ridiculous in that picture?

Another Long Island punk band to make it big this year is Taking Back Sunday.