Flaskaland
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
 
Makin' a list, and checkin' it twice dept.

Lists!

Today, Peter Carlson of the Washington Post makes a list of (what else) lists when taking a glance at a new publishing habit called Lists, From Naughty to Nice wherein he tells us to forget the short story, the essay, the poem, celebrity profile, or even the eye candy pieces.

"Let the record show that the reigning genre in contemporary American magazines is . . . The List."

He invites you to go to any newsstand and check out the magazine covers if you don't believe him. But he's especially snarky about music lists (ooh, me, too, Peter; I'm just not so out about it). He sneers at Blender's (ooh, etc.) recent lists:

"33 Things You Should Know About Busta Rhymes" and "33 Things You Should Know about Missy Elliot" and "33 Things You Should Know About Metallica" (Blender, various recent months). Instead of writing profiles, the folks at Blender, the Maxim-spawned music mag, just collect 33 random facts about a celebrity. Hey, guys, if you can't write maybe you should leave journalism and seek honest work."

and he berates Spin twice for their 'Ultimate List Issue' (Spin, April 2003). Which he calls "A list-lover's dream: 100 lists about sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. My favorites included "Seven Rock Stars With Bad Teeth" and "Six Things Found in Elvis' Stomach When He Died." After 100 lists, you'd think Spin's editors would have sated their appetite. Nope. This month's cover story: "75 Sleazy Moments in Rock."

Wanna read more on Peter Carlson's list of lists?
(You'll have to register first).

OK, it's a perceived trend and it's likely a true observation -- the publishing industry does seem to be list crazy, and that includes lists about music.

Why do these music magazines do it?

I don't care why those other magazines do it -- the point is, I can do it and so can you.

Here's my list without benefit of a signifying title so all context is stripped. Tell me what this list represents to you (and give it a snappy eye-catching title that actually describes the list, not something clever like "Three Chords and a Half-Truth"):


1. 1977 David Bowie - "Heroes"

2. 1977 Greg Kihn - "Madison Avenue"

3. 1977 Garland Jeffreys - "Wild in the Streets"

4. 1978 Devo - "Satisfaction"

5. 1978 Warren Zevon - "Werewolves of London"

6. 1979 Talking Heads - "Life During Wartime"

7. 1980 Blondie - "Call Me"

8. 1980 Grace Jones - "Love Is the Drug" (reinvents Roxy Music's 1975 hit)

9. 1980 Ultravox - "Sleepwalk"

10. 1981 Joan Jett - "Crimson & Clover"

11. 1982 Devo - "Big Mess"

12. 1982 Philip Glass - "Koyaanisqatsi"

13. 1983 Kool & the Gang - "Tonight"

14. 1984 The Cars - "You Might Think"

15. 1984 David Bowie - "Cat People"

16. 1984 Pretenders - "My City Was Gone"

17. 1985? Frankie Goes to Hollywood - "Relax"

18. 1986 Prince - "Kiss"

19. 1987 Prince - "U Got the Look"

20. 1989 Great White - "Once Bitten Twice Shy" (Ian Hunter's 1975 hard rock hit)

21. 1989 B-52's - "Love Shack"

22. 1989 Lou Reed - "Busload of Faith"

23. 1996 DJ Shadow - "What Does Your Soul Look Like? (Pts. 1 & 4)"

24. 1999 Madonna - "Beautiful Stranger"

25. 2001 Charlie Musselwhite - "Charlie's Old Highway 51 Blues"

26. 2001 Nicolai Dunger - "Dr. Zhivago's Train"

 




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Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

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