Friday, 24 October 2008

Expanding horizons without rectifying mistakes, it seems

Although amazon.com has compiled lists of essential music as long as I have had connections wiht the site, recently I saw a list of a thousand essential recordings aiming to cover the entire history and breadth of recorded music.

Being as interested in music as I am, I was eager to have a look and compared it with other lists I knew. Although its compiler, Tom Moon, had much more to cover than Joe S. Harrington, I still could not help noting than only twenty-three of that man's Top 100 Albums were included, namely:

#2: The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols
#6: Parliament's Mothership Connection
#17: Patti Smith's Horses
#20: Jimi Hendrix' Are You Experienced?
#25: The Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico
#27: Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
#33: Theolonius Monk with John Coltrane
#43: Black Flag's Damaged
#45: Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica
#48: Andrew Hill's Point of Departure
#49: Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity
#52: The 13th Floor Elevators' Easter Everywhere
#55: Big Star's Radio City
#63: The Ramones' The Ramones
#65: Deep Purple's Machine Head
#69: Love's Forever Changes
#70: The Modern Lovers' The Modern Lovers
#71: X's Wild Gift
#83: Television's Marquee Moon
#84: The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds
#86: The Minutemen's Double Nickels on a Dime
#88: The Incredible String Band's The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
#93: Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation

It is true that many other artist on Harrington's list are represented by a different album, but I imagine both Harrington and "janitor-x" would not be pleased at the omission of Minor Threat's Complete Discography - though how many other readers of the site would care??

The reason I say Tom Moon has "not rectified mistakes" can be seen from reading Danny A. Vogel's review of the 2003 Rolling Stone list. Many important artists listed by Vogel are still not included (e.g. Nico, Popol Vuh).

Also, it is quite easy to see that, at least among genres I possess any knowledge of, that Moon still does not seem to rectify commonly perceived mistakes in neglecting metal and progressive rock as much as some might wish. The few albums from those genres are as familiar as anything listed.

As for me, I can find quite a number of omissions, such as:
- Sofia Gubaidulina's Sieben W├Ârter/Silenzio/In croce
- on the rock side, Slint's Spiderland and Godspeed You Black Emperor's Lift Your Skinny Fists like Antennas to Heaven could represent the omitted post-rock genre.
- Dead Can Dance's Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
- Joanna Newsom's Ys
- Third Ear Band's Elements

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