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The Something Of The Decade

December 9, 2009

In the Guardian

“So what was so intriguingly odd about their top 10 albums of the noughties? I was immediately struck by the fact that seven of the albums were from 2000 and 2001, with one other record from 2002 and another from 2004.”

Perhaps it is not, as Reynolds argues, the fragmentation of our tastes in the latter part of the decade which is the cause of this. Mainstream press, and online behemoths like pitchfork, are vital tastemakers. We are not all islands in a sea of objectivity. Major album releases are talking points, cultural events. Whilst the actual release of most albums cannot have the same massive impact of In Rainbows‘s revolutionary approach, there is generally somewhat of a consensus on good albums. Hype spreads across the internet faster than anywhere.

But albums take time to germinate, to become bona fide ‘classics.’ It is nigh-on impossible to know how important an album released today will be in five years. How will history judge it?

We know how this decade turned out. Albums released at the beginning of the decade can be seen to preempt the decade. Albums released now, to sum up a decade would have to look back. And people want forward thinking music.

Maybe an album released this year would be miles higher up, if in 2019 they do a “best of the last 20 years” kind of thing. But our calendar doesn’t really work like that. We like things in decades and years and months.

So perhaps, if you have an incredible album up your sleeve, you should wait until the start of a decade, if you really crave a long-term legacy to warm your aging heart.

More to follow… in the meantime, this is a good little take on the whole ‘Decade List’ phenomenon  currently sweeping the music press

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