Poll of polls, or, Best of the best-of-2008 album countdowns

A music writer casts his voteConfession: I’ve had some free time lately.

I had to use up the rest of my holiday entitlement before 2008 was out, so I now find myself with nine days of welcome but unproductive home-time in mid-December.

My internet browsing is on the high end of the scale at the busiest of times, so inevitably my modem has been working overtime as I endlessly, inanely surf the web in search of… what?

News, snippets of useless information, Wikipedia facts about minor film actors, the mindnumbing allure of Facebook, the still mystifying appeal of Twitter… and best-of-2008 music polls.

And so I’ve been wondering about year-end polls:

Are they reliable barometers of the very best music created over the past twelve months?

Or…

Are they totally whimsical, subjective, indulgent, show-off lists by various cliques of self-important critics who sneer at mainstream taste?

It’s the latter, of course. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t completely bloody addictive. I have found myself scouring music websites from the other side of the Atlantic desperately seeking out that essential album that somehow escaped my attention.

So to take the poll theme to a whole new level, here’s my poll of the best and worst polls of the year!

The Best

5. Rolling Stone: Props on TV on the Radio, but otherwise a bit tokenistic along the beardy rawk/hip-hop/legends lines. Turned me on to Blitzen Trapper though.

4. Pitchfork Reader’s Poll: Can’t really argue, other than point out its obvious American folksy prejudice.

3. Times: Surprisingly well-informed for a Murdoch rag.

2. Drowned in Sound: Friendly Fires should never be in the top ten, but good to see my #2 choice M83 top a poll.

1. The Skinny: OK, maybe I have to say this, but we really hit the nail on the head again this year, even if my nomination for Late of the Pier unsurprisingly missed the cut! Year of the Rabbit indeed.

The Worst

3. musicOMH: I don’t care how well-intentioned the poll is if they put Elbow at the top.

2. Last FM: Coldplay. Best album of the year? Really?

1. Q magazine: Kings of Leon. Best album of the year? Really?

And is this really the definitive poll of the year, with the top three comprising artists I’ve barely heard of? Surely not!

(I still have a few more days off. Maybe I’ll compile a poll of the best Poles of the year now…)

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3 Comments

Filed under internet, music, thoughts, etc

3 responses to “Poll of polls, or, Best of the best-of-2008 album countdowns

  1. It’s around this time of year when I begin to regret my reaction to any kind of hype surrounding a band – which is to avoid that album until 5 years later when I suddenly realise it’s a classic and what was I thinking by not listening to it when it came out. I think this is why I’ve not heard Frightened Rabbit, YiFI, or even Glasvegas’s albums yet. Still, you can expect my definitive best of 2008 list sometime in early 2009..

    p.s either alcohol abuse/internet addiction has finally destroyed my eyes or is that some kind of snow effect on your blog Nick??

  2. You’re quite right not to believe all the hype you read. Especially when it comes to Glasvegas.

    Maybe it would make sense to compile best-of-the-year polls 5 years after that particular year. So we’d be on the best albums of 2003 by now. Hmm. Outkast?

    Your eyes do not deceive you Milo. That is a snow effect wordpress plugin!

  3. Pingback: In with the new: a hasty look at the most interesting albums of 2009 « lots of random words

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