Year-End Analysis: The Critical Consensus Marches On

Dec 14th, 2006 // 10 Comments

As the 2006 year-in-music critical polls continue to roll in, our cranky kvetching continues to roll out. Today, we look at best-album picks from three national heavy hitters–Rolling Stone, Spin, and The AV Club–and give our take on each list’s hits and misses.

Rolling Stone (#1: Bob Dylan, Modern Times)
THE GOOD: Sonic Youth’s solid Rather Ripped at No. 3.
THE BAD: No one who puts Stadium Freaking Arcadium near the top of its list deserves to get all self-righteous about putting Bob Dylan at No. 1. We’re just saying.
THE SURPRISE: Not one, but two hip-hop albums in the top 10. Sure, they’re from critical darlings Clipse and Ghostface, but still–baby steps.

Spin (#1: TV On The Radio, Return To Cookie Mountain)
THE GOOD: The only magazine willing to back up its “My Chemical Romance are the best talk” with top-10 placement; Welcome to the Black Parade hit No. 5, behind TV On The Radio, The Hold Steady, the Arctic Monkeys, and Ghostface.
THE BAD: A My Morning Jacket live album at number eight? That’s almost more inexcusable than the Interpol mimeographers in Editors making the list at all.
THE SURPRISE: Double-dip cover boy Brandon Flowers is probably getting pissy about the Killers being snubbed (on a 40-place list!) as we type this.

AV Club (#1: The Hold Steady, Boys And Girls In America)
THE GOOD: Finally, the indie kids of America have another place to turn when they need their taste confirmed.
THE BAD: Midlake’s No. 3 ranking is defended with the phrase “okay, it sounds like the Eagles.”
THE SURPRISE: Ricardo Villalobos’ Balkan epic Fizheuer Zieheuer, at No. 18, is first sign of consensus-cracking.

  1. 12scoop

    MMJ is putting on the best live show around. I’d take two discs of that humble pie over Ys anyday.

    (yeah, so, ok, I put them as number 4…)

  2. Chris Molanphy

    Good analysis/roundup of the polls. I tried to do the same last year, but in the form of predictions. (I made out pretty well; was right about 70% of the time.) Was way too busy to do the same this year.

  3. Chris Molanphy

    Oh yeah, and word to 12scoop – seeing MMJ live last year was a religious experience. I don’t generally vote for live albums, so it’s not making my Top 10, but after naming Z my #1 album of 2005 I think I’ve shown them enough love.

  4. brasstax

    I applaud the AV Club for even making note of Fizheuer Zieheuer in their list, which is the first time I’ve seen anyone anywhere include it.

  5. Mo!

    Never thought I would say this, but the AV list is the worst. Might as well call the list “You might be a hipster if you like…”

    Rolling Stone’s list is almost as bad. RHCP at #2?
    Those guys fell off about ten years ago, when they unleashed the worst cartoon this side of Flushed Away

  6. brianp

    While I agree that Rolling Stone was correct to include Ghostface and Clipse on their list, their glaring omission is “King” by T.I., a release that the magazine awarded a paltry 2 1/2 stars upon its release. Why couldn’t they just cop to the earlier error? No balls RS.

  7. SirLoin

    Yeah, but the AV Club did have The Thermals record in there, and that wins major points with me. And do any of you deny The Holdsteady are anything less than bar-rock bliss?

  8. brasstax

    Maybe playing live, in a bar. On record, they’re hard to take.

  9. BillRocksCleveland

    Who made that Onion list? A bunch of bloggers? Oh wait. I’m a blogger, too. I’ll forgive those Midlake and Cold War Kids picks since Jason Heller included Clevo’s This Moment in Black History in his top 15.

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