Confession: 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?
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!
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.
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…)