Friday, December 11, 2009

Bests of the Decade

What an exciting time for list-obsessed, geeky bloggers, websites, newspapers and magazines everywhere. Not only is it time for the top lists of the year, there's top lists of the decade. You'll be pleased to hear I'm NOT going to do one. Well, not properly anyway.

Some have been a disappointment. The Times lists, in particular, have been fairly mainstream, what with The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter featuring in their book list (I know, they've been hugely influential and popular but that doesn't mean they're well written); Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears and Take That in their music list and those dreary, dreadful Bourne movies (#2) in their film list. I think somewhere along the line popularity got mixed up with quality. I like to read the lists to discover books, films or music I might have missed. The Times lists are way too obvious – either I've seen, got or read it – or, more likely, I don't want to.

There also seems to be a case of amnesia (no, not the Radiohead album). After a few nods to 2001, 2004, compilers seem to have got lazy and included way too many items from 2009. I'm guessing they all have short-term memories – as is especially the case with most bloggers who are geeky 14-year-olds locked in their rooms thinking The Dark Knight is the best film ever made.

In music, Radiohead's Kid A (yawn) has featured high in most lists (#1 on Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Times), as have The Strokes Is This It? (NME #1), Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Arcade Fire and most things concerning Jack White (The White Stripe's White Blood Cells #1 in Uncut). Good to see The Streets Original Pirate Material number one in The Guardian's poll. In books, Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic The Road was number one in The Times and NewStatesman's lists. Other notables include White Teeth by Zadie Smith and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers). In films, director Michael Haneke has been popping up all over the place with Cache (#2, Time Out), The Piano Teacher and his latest, White Ribbon, featuring in many lists. No Country for Old Men, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, City of God, There Will be Blood and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (yawn? I fell into a coma!) were also popular.

Okay, okay, if you insist I'll do a list or two – off the top of my head (though I think that's the trouble with most Best of lists...) and in no particular order:

Books: Cloud Atlas David Mitchell; The Corrections Johnathan Frazen; We Need to Talk About Kevin Lionel Shriver; Chronicles Bob Dylan; No Logo Naomi Klein; The Road Cormac McCarthy; Atonement Ian McEwan; The True History of the Kelly Gang Peter Carey; Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth Chris Ware; London Orbital Iain Sinclair

Music: The Strokes Is This It?; Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion; Bob Dylan "Love and Theft"; Beck Sea Changes; LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem; Boards of Canada Geogaddi; Johnny Cash American III: Solitary Man; Nick Cave Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus; The Streets Original Pirate Material; Ali Farka Touré Savane; Ry Cooder Chavez Ravine; Sigur Ros Agaetis Byrjun; The Fiery Furnaces Blueberry Boat; Badly Drawn Boy The Hour of Bewilderbeast; Deerhunter Microcastle/Weird Era Continued; The Knife Silent Shout; The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots; Lambchop Nixon; Pulp We Love Life; Manitoba Up in Flames; Kate Bush Aerial

Films: Mulholland Drive, Sideways, Lost in Translation, Donnie Darko, 28 Days later, Shaun of the Dead, Tarnation, Grizzly Man, Cache, Cloverfield, Let the Right One in, The Proposition, Battle Royale, Monsters Inc., Momento, Far from Heaven, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I'm Not There, The Last King of Scotland, Together, Sin City, Russian Ark, OldBoy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Uzak, Gosford Park... I could go on, so I won't.

Finally, here's my Top ten lists of the decade:
1. Pitchfork Music: P2K The decade in music
2. Time Out (London) Top 101 films of the decade
3. Uncut 150 Albums of the decade
4. The Guardian Albums of the decade
5. The New Yorker Films of the decade
6. Time Out (New York) Top 50 movies of the decade
7. The Times 100 Best books of the decade
8. Paste Top 25 Album covers of the decade
9. Paste 20 Best books of the decade
10. Rolling Stone 100 Best albums of the decade

1 comment :

Singing Bear said...

Very interesting. I found you via 'Expecting Rain'. I lkike the look of your blog and will be back.

SB