It’s just about the end of the year and everyone else in the blogosphere has posted all their best of the year lists. I had originally thought about doing one for my favorite albums of the year, I do love lists after all, but the more I thought about it the more I thought against it. In a couple of days I will post my only list, a simple recounting of every book I read in 2010 without commentary. I will probably do this for next year, I’ll count every album I buy and every movie I watch and just list them without any comments. So here’s my list of reasons why I don’t have a “best albums of 2010” list.
1. I hate most genres. I wildly dislike hip-hop/rap, the blues, heavy metal, modern country, world music, electronica and modern pop. I also hate various sub-genres and I would almost certainly dislike genres that I’ve never heard of. I am a complete stick in the mud who just likes some indie-rock and alt-country stuff. So if I did a “best of the year” list it would really be the “best of the stuff that I like” list. Sure, lots of people just do that but I would prefer to be definitive.
2. I don’t even like much from the genres I do like. Lots of people assume that because I’m a musician that I like lots of music. While that’s certainly true, I find it much truer that being a musician makes me hate a lot more than I like. I tend to nitpick and find little reasons to hate everything. I understand that if I express this about everything I hear that makes me really annoying, so I just don’t share what I think that often. So I secretly hate lots of bands that people expect me to like.
3. I don’t bother to hear bands that people rave about. Of Pitchfork’s Top 50 of 2010 I had heard only four of these albums. And of the four I had heard (The National, Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Titus Andronicus) they tended to be the more well known ones anyway. I drive so much that I have plenty of time to listen to all of these, but I’m much more entertained by podcasts from The Memory Palace.
4. You’d be surprised by how little I like music. I really do prefer listening to podcasts and NPR while I drive around. But with the exception of World Cafe, when NPR starts playing music I flip to sports talk radio. I don’t even like sports that much, I just feel that driving around listening to music for hours leaves me numb and exhausted. When I’m home on the computer I often realize the house has been silent for hours before it occurs to me to put some music on.
5. I’m not even crazy about a lot of the bands I like. A ton of bands I like put out music this year but it felt like none of them made the best record of their career. So it felt like everything was pretty good but not great. So no band I love got me enthusiastic this year. Of everything I heard I have to say my favorite is “The Monitor” by Titus Andronicus, and I would say that’s just because it’s a bunch of punkish songs about the Civil War. Everyone knows I like songs about the Civil War era.