Project X

Project X By The Book

I admit it: I have a bias against literary novelists who write about music. It has to do with my appetite for immediacy. That’s what I like about pop, and pop writing, and it’s not a tendency always shared by literary fiction writers. So I see detailed explanations of milieu that I take for granted and I grow impatient. Obviously, this is my fault, but sometimes it’s the writers’ too. Once I showed a friend a piece a long music essay, by a well-known author, that seemed to spend its first page clearing its own throat. My friend summed up my response with hers: “Trying. Too. Hard.”

So it’s nice to have this bias knocked over, as happened with Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists (Faber & Faber), edited by Angus Cargill. I hadn’t known about the book before Simon Reynolds, who contributed two lists (“Deserving But Denied: Thirty-three No. 2s That Should Have Been No.1” and “The Dirty Dozen: Twelve Great Artists Who Are Terrible Influences”), mentioned the book’s blog on his own. I hadn’t looked beyond a couple of names before my copy arrived; I wanted to be surprised.

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Project X Would Do Anything For Love, But It Won’t Sing That

As part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Michaelangelo Matos breaks down top-ten lists from every genre imaginable. In this special Oct. 10 edition of his column–it is 10/10, after all–he breaks down some of the worst lyrics to reach the airwaves of British radio.

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Project X Hits the Hip-Hop Nostalgia Circuit

As part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Michaelangelo Matos breaks down top-ten lists from every genre imaginable. After the jump, he sits through VH1’s latest TV-based listicle, 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs, and finds a few poignant moments among the MC Hammer jokes:

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Project X Gets Lost In The Jungle

f16404ddswo.jpgAs part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Michaelangelo Matos breaks down top-ten lists from every genre imaginable. After the jump, he sifts through two rundowns of jungle singles that hint at where the genre’s been and where it’s going:

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Project X Dances With History Via “Mixmag” And The BBC

underworldddd.jpgAs part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Michaelangelo Matos breaks down top-ten lists from every genre imaginable. After the jump, he sifts through two lists of dance tracks picked by two different segments of the British populace:

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Project X Plays with Some Of “Our Favorite Things”

363_50_cover.jpgAs part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Michaelangelo Matos breaks down rankings from every genre imaginable. In this installment, he talks about the way experimental-music quarterly Signal To Noise broke free from the typical listicle template:

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A Project X Family Reunion

takeabow.jpgAs part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Michaelangelo Matos breaks down rankings from every genre imaginable. After the click-through, he sits down with his family for the fourth time to analyze last week’s Billboard Top 10:

I’ve been traveling all May, starting with a week in New York, with stops in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago before spending a week in the Twin Cities. (Portland, Ore., is next, before heading home to Seattle.) I’ve been seeing a lot of my family while I’m here–and of course I had to play them the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 of May 24.

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Project X Turns On The AC

itstartsinmytoes.jpgAs part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Idolator Critics’ Poll editor Michaelangelo Matos breaks down rankings from every genre imaginable. In this installment, he flips the dial to the nation’s Adult Contemporary stations and finds a lot of familiar faces.

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Project X Tries To <em>Reason</em> With Fuse TV

fuse_logo.jpgAs part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Idolator Critics’ Poll editor Michaelangelo Matos breaks down rankings from every genre imaginable. In this installment, he tries to sort the factual errors from the intentional comedy from the plan ol’ batshit as he subjects himself to the Fuse show 10 Great Reasons, where a zoologist, a cheereader, a TV chef, and Carnie Wilson all have plenty to say about girl/boy bands. Even if little of it is coherent.

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Project X Spins Top 35 Rock Lists Compiled By “Spin”

spinjim.jpgAs part of Idolator’s continuing effort to geekily analyze every music chart known to man, we present a new edition of Project X, in which Idolator Critics’ Poll editor Michaelangelo Matos breaks down rankings from every genre imaginable. In this installment, he looks at an issue of Spin from 1990 that attempted to tell rock history through Top 35 lists:

If you saw my bulging shelves full of CDs, books, magazines, photocopies, and printouts, you might call me a collector. But I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the designation: even when I was 13 and deep into comic books, I wanted to read them more than I wanted to preserve them. Keeping them around was a fringe benefit. The same has been true with music magazines, but it wasn’t always, which is what has lately driven me to eBay to find old copies of Spin. One of my favorite issues was cover-dated August 1990: Jim Morrison against a bubblegum-pink background on the cover. The headline: “35 Years of Rock’n’Roll.” A subhead: “Top 35 Lists of Everything From Guitar Gods to Dead Rock Star Charts.”

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