It’s still a little strange to see top 10 lists now, but if it’s not too early for the onslaught of Christmas music to invade every public space I seem to go to, I suppose it’s OK to start trying to wrap 2008 in a cute bow. Which brings us to what’s apparently British music mag list day, with the once-entertaining Q and the real-rock bible Mojo battling it out to see, once and for all, which publication has better taste in American music.
THE GOOD: Both lists feature titles I assumed would have been on more lists already (Coldplay, Hercules & Love Affair, Drive-By Truckers, Portishead), so it’s nice to be validated a bit. Personally, I was happy to seerecent Pitchfork discovery The Gaslight Anthem on the Q list (No. 20), although the violent involuntary headshaking that ensued upon seeing Razorlight a spot below erased that brief moment of joy. Also, the Mojo list has a good number of British acts I’ve never heard of that I can proceed to champion for a few weeks to my unsuspecting friends on the basis of their American obscurity alone.
THE BAD: I suppose this is going to be a trend, but seeing the Fleet Foxes disc ranked near the top on both lists (Q, No. 2; Mojo, No. 1) makes me think that at some point in the near future I’m going to refer to 2008 as “The Year of the Bland.” I don’t mind the Fleet Foxes as much as some around here, but it’s hard for me to swallow the idea that this is the shining example of what’s great, exciting, and/or wonderful about music in 2008. When Rough Trade (the store) called the band “Seattle’s answer to CSNY,” they hit on an appropriate and damning description. (Even if the store’s list had Fleet Foxes at No. 2 as well.) I’m not someone who expects every bit of music I listen to be challenging aesthetically, but at very least, I expect it to be sorta moving. (See also Bon Iver: Mojo, No. 4; Q, No. 34.)
THE WHAAAA?:I say this as someone who actually enjoyed both of their previous releases to differing degrees, but having Keane’s Perfect Symmetry place as high as No. 12 seems like Q is trying to ham-fistedly apologize to British musicians for the deluge of American acts surrounding them. Speaking of Q and American musicians: John Mellencamp (No. 41)? Huh.
During last week’s discussion of Marmite artists–those artists that are so divisive, they force people to take sides, with no one left in the middle–Idolator commenter moomintroll wondered if we shouldn’t try and find more ways to classify popular bands through their analogues to various condiments. Since we figured the safe space in the fridge inhabited by your ketchups, your mustards, and your molding bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch was as good a way to make sense of the current musical landscape as any, we invited her to flesh out her theory for us. It’s after the jump!
Our look at the closing lines of the biggest new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to Perfect Symmetry, the new album by British trio Keane:
The music industry may be shrinking and stumbling, but Interscope’s got a bunch of potential fall releases that might make this a decent year for them if not anyone else in major labeldom. Assuming a weak first single doesn’t land an act in “Jimmy Jail,” U2, Eminem, Dr. Dre, The Pussycat Dolls, the Black Eyed Peas and No Doubt should all be dropping new iPod ads–sorry, I meant albums–later this year. And let’s not forget the vague possibility that Chinese Democracy could join this roster. Entertainment Weekly also names Keane in its list of Interscope’s “marquee names,” but seeing as how that band’s last album didn’t even go gold, I don’t think we’ll be so kind.
Here is the cover for a fan-compiled album of Keane b-sides and outtakes. It’s presumably supposed to be a homage to the cover of Keane’s last album, but it ends up looking like something you’d encounter in The Legend of Zelda as you’re about to enter the water temple. “Link! Octo has been taken to Zora’s realm! You must save him!”
We haven’t a clue why the members of Keane thought it would be a good idea to cover to the Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary,” but thanks to Torr, we can all share the experience of hearing Billy Duffy’s anthemic guitar lines turned into anemic piano squibbles. More »
– Keane’s next UK single will come out as a memory stick packed with screensavers, videos, and other extras. Here’s hoping caffeine pills are also in the package. [Guardian, via Coolfer] – T.I., Ludacris, and Outkast’s Big Boi are all set to feud–in another Def Jam-branded video game. More »