Friday, 31 October 2014

A “people’s” list of the best albums – familiar, really

Today, when searching Google for fan responses to changes of direction by various rock bands, notably the famous and extremely influential Pantera, I encountered this list of the greatest albums of all time from Pie and Bovril, which I later discovered to be actually a Scottish site largely focused on soccer.

The unusual thing about the Pie and Bovril list is that although it is written up by a single person, it is a list voted for by the fans, which will largely mean those who follow Scottish soccer which was the main subject of the site’s main page. Each user of the site voted for ten albums, and these were scored – I think according to the individual user’s rank thereof – and the top fifty albums were listed, with ranks equalled if the number of votes was the same.

The full list is:

=47: Rage Against the Machine; Rage Against the Machine (1992)
=47: Dookie; Green Day (1994)
=47: Ashes of the Wake; Lamb of God (2004)
=47: Generation Terrorists; Manic Street Preachers (1992)
=47: Moseley Shoals; Ocean Colour Scene (1996)
=45: Dirt; Alice In Chains (1992)
=45: Different Class; Pulp (1995)
=36: Paranoid; Black Sabbath (1970)
=36: Blonde on Blonde; Bob Dylan (1966)
=36: As Daylight Dies; Killswitch Engage (2006)
=36: In Utero; Nirvana (1993)
=36: Vs.; Pearl Jam (1993)
=36: Doolittle; Pixies (1989)
=36: Transformer; Lou Reed (1972)
=36: The Queen Is Dead; The Smiths (1986)
=36: The College Dropout; Kanye West (2004)
=32: Revolver; The Beatles (1966)
=32: The Music; The Music (2002)
=32: Screamadelica; Primal Scream (1991)
=32: Born to Run; Bruce Springsteen (1975)
=29: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; David Bowie (1972)
=29: Bat out of Hell; Meat Loaf (1977)
=29: Urban Hymns; The Verve (1997)
=27: The Marshall Mathers LP; Eminem (2000)
=27: A Grand Don’t Come for Free; The Streets (2004)
=22: Powerage; AC/DC (1978)
=22: Rumours; Fleetwood Mac (1977)
=22: ...And Justice for All; Metallica (1988)
=22: Moving Pictures; Rush (1981)
=22: Radiator; Super Furry Animals (1997)
=20: Nightmare; Avenged Sevenfold (2010)
=20: The Blackening; Machine Head (2007)
19: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; The Smashing Pumpkins (1995)
18: The Number of the Beast; Iron Maiden (1982)
=15: Rust in Peace; Megadeth (1990)
=15: Loveless; My Bloody Valentine (1991)
=15: The Bends; Radiohead (1995)
14: Funeral; Arcade Fire (2004)
13: The Dark Side of the Moon; Pink Floyd (1973)
=10: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?; Oasis (1995)
=10: Ten; Pearl Jam (1991)
=10: OK Computer; Radiohead (1997)
=8: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not; Arctic Monkeys (2006)
=8: Siamese Dream; The Smashing Pumpkins (1993)
7: Definitely Maybe; Oasis (1994)
6: The Holy Bible; Manic Street Preachers (1994)
5: Automatic for the People; R.E.M. (1992)
4: The Stone Roses; The Stone Roses (1989)
=1: London Calling; The Clash (1979)
=1: Nevermind; Nirvana (1991)
=1: Appetite for Destruction; Guns‘n‘Roses (1987)

The thing is that, with the exception of a few modern albums like A Grand Don’t Come for Free and The Music and a few of the heavy metal albums, none of this is unfamiliar to me who has read music criticism for a very long time. The former is a rap-rock album that was described as similar to Eminem but not as good; the latter is alternative/indie rock from Leeds and influenced by the Stone Roses – neither is actually “out of left field” when one reads descriptions on Rate Your Music.

This really suggests that it is rare to see an album canonised by the public before critics see it – though the fact that many critics do not hear albums later acclaimed is of itself a major question.

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