What a difficult list to compile. Especially since, glancing down at my iTunes running, there are 33,773 songs in my library. According to iTunes, it will take me more than 100 days of continuous listening (with no sleep, now I realize) to listen to them all. It’s rather extensive, and it’s the sort of collection that makes my taste in music suspect at best, beginning as it does with A-Ha (because any collection without “Take On Me” is incomplete) and ending (before it reaches songs without proper ID3 tags and lumps them all) with “Skin Up Pin Up” by 808 State/Mansun from Spawn: The Album (iTunes is the first organization system I’ve seen that puts numbers after letters, rather than before; if it did, the first songs would be by 1 Giant Leap or 12 Rounds). In between those few, there’s everything from Rick Astley, Belinda Carlisle, and Bon Jovi to all of Clapton, the Beatles, and Sinatra.
So it’s pretty expansive.
But expansive as it is, I tend to stick to some favorites. Lately it’s been a lot of Wolfmother (and Jet; what is it about Australia that inspires such great rock music from its bands?), Vanessa Mae, and, as always, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Also, Adam Lambert and Matt Wertz.
So there’s a lot. But I winnowed. I winnowed after I kept reading other lists that fawned over, like, Radiohead and such. I mean, has Radiohead ever managed to be as good as Pablo, Honey? They’re like Pearl Jam and Matchbox Twenty, with fantastic debut CDs but output that has gotten subsequently less terrific with each title. For me, anyway. Your listening may vary. Also, dear Rolling Stone: The Strokes and Wilco in number 2 and number 3 spots, respectively. No offense, but seriously? No wonder people debate the continued relevance of the magazine. I mean, how safe.
Why not stretch a bit? Why not reach for some choices few people would expect? Then again, this from a guy who doesn’t really enjoy any of those three bands. I know lots of reviewers fell over themselves to heap a lot of praise on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but there wasn’t a single song on it that made me want to listen to the CD again. I get the impression it’s all just, like, hey, everyone else likes it, so we should, too, but to cite one of the artists who earned a spot on my list by way of a great CD, “You don’t know what love is, you just do as you’re told.”
So, suspect taste noted, shall we? My top ten albums of the last ten years, in order:
I’ll admit I have, in the past, avoided an outright note on comments policy because I’d hoped, ultimately, to avoid one. I am at heart an optimist and think that we really can all get along; even when people act disrespectfully, I still believe they might, at some point, come around. They might view things with a slightly more open mind.
That said, however, I know that I’ll end up writing about controversial topics. I always do. Religion or faith or science or feminism or politics… the wonderful thing about having a blog is that it’s my worldview (hence: Will in the World). And given that, I know there will come, in the future, topics I’ll have a strong opinion about with which other people will completely disagree.
And that’s awesome, so far as I’m concerned. I enjoy disagreement. I have a lot of extraordinarily close friends with whom I disagree on certain subjects, and I like that, because my friends are smart and brilliant and passionate, and who wants to agree about everything? In any good story, progress comes not as a result of complacency but rather from conflicts, tensions, and (sometimes) resolution. I would never want the world to be filled with clones of me, a bunch of people who thought and felt and saw the world the way I do. That’d drive me completely batshit insane.
So I expect disagreement, but I also expect respect. I expect not to be called names on my own blog, and I expect people not to call anyone else a name, either. I expect people to honor each other. On all levels.
To fully explain this, I accept some help from Greg Behrendt:
That’s the comment policy here, as I think it should be the policy in life. First, that we should honor each other. That we should respect each other. That we should acknowledge we are all of us different but also that we can learn from each other.
That. You. Must. Rock.
It’s not just that you’re better than anyone who doesn’t honor you–it’s also that you have an obligation.
Not just to other people. Not just to the world.
You owe it to yourself to be awesome.
Rocking isn’t a job. It’s an obligation.
What’s the point of life, after all, if you’re not being awesome?
So rock. Contribute. Honor yourself. Be proud of who you are, because you’re awesome. So bring it, every time out, and devote your energy to others you’re not calling asswipes.