Saturday, April 02, 2005

Random Music Post: Top 10 Albums of 1997

I don't want to be productive, even on my own blog.

To make the rationale for the seemingly anachronistic nature of a "Best of 1997" list perfectly clear, I find year-end lists to be counter-intuitive to a large degree; such lists are usually bound to the times in which they were created, and oftentimes many entries in a "best of" list will slide into oblivion. Furthermore (in my particular case anyway), I'm extremely slow to hear new music, and so the issue of access to albums that potentially could be regarded as one of the "best" becomes an issue. I mean, how many albums do you discover retrospectively -- that is, in a year different from its release date?

For instance, I only have four albums from 2000 that I would consider great -- which doesn't necessarily mean that 2000 was a bad year in music, just that, as it happens, I haven't sampled enough to make what I'd feel is an adequate evaluation. I have 44 total releases from 2000, and a top 10 would require a quarter/fifth of these releases, and unless it was a particularly great year/I happened to stumble on a lot of great releases, there's simply not enough to choose from ("enough" being something on the order of 100 releases to ensure a respectably good list).

Also, I was in the midst of my dead-end IDM/Ninja Tune phase around this time, so there's a lot of stuff that I'm prone to dismiss out of shame.


  1. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
  2. Bardo Pond, Lapsed
  3. Labradford, Mi Media Naranja
  4. autechre, Chiastic Slide
  5. Mogwai, Ten Rapid
  6. Portishead, Portishead
  7. Dubstar, Goodbye (UK release)
  8. Amon Tobin, Bricolage
  9. Spiritualized, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
  10. Sneaker Pimps, Becoming X

TV rating: Sports Night - 1x02 "The Apology"


Anonymous said...

I would move autechre up a few notches, and probably portishead as well. And sneaker pimps wouldn't break the top twenty. You're forgetting Bjork's HOMOGENIC, which would probably have been my number one choice. I would also have included Blur's self-titled album at around number four or five on account of the songs "Beetlebum" and "Essex Dogs" (and not the extremely popular "song 2"). I would also have added Supergrass's IN IT FOR THE MONEY because I was really, really in love with that album when it came out.

Oh yeah-- and now I'm going to try to download Perfect Strangers episodes.


hythlae said...

I say screw the PhD and become a tv/music columnist for a newspaper or magazine: you'd rock!


Barry said...

This was my Top 10 for 1997:

1. Spiritualized -- Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
2. Autechre -- Chiastic Slide
3. Tindersticks -- Curtains
4. Depeche Mode -- Ultra
5. Blur -- Blur
6. Third Eye Foundation -- Ghost
7. EAR -- The Koner Experiment
8. Verve -- Urban Hymns
9. Flying Saucer Attack -- New Lands
10. Super Furry Animals -- Radiator

That was then, before I'd heard (for instance) "Mi Media Naranja" or had even heard of Bardo Pond.

These days, I'd rank Ae over SPZ. "Curtains" and "Ultra" remain excellent, and I don't care much for Blur these days.

So the top five now would go something like Ae, SPZ, 'Sticks, Labradford, BP -- i.e. very similar to yours (quel surprise)

Anonymous said...

At the time, Pavement's Brighten the Corners was probably my favorite but I'm wise enough now to realize how crap that album is. I'll probably stick with Jonathan Fire*Eater's Wolf Songs for Lambs since I'm pretty sure that was my #2 and it's still pretty great. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dig Me Out and Either/Or would also be near the top. There were a ton of EPs from '97 that I really like, too: Soft Effects by Spoon, No Guitars by Helium, Electro-Shock for President by Brainiac and all three of those Belle & Sebastian EPs, of which Lazy Line Painter Jane would probably be my favorite.