DO NOT BUY SPIN MAGAZINE (aka ALL GOOD LISTS GO TO HEAVEN)
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Music.
I must clarify that I was very happy, surprised even, when a “letter to the editor” I had written for a class was published in the magazine (January?). This commentary voiced my opinion (the right one, of course) that Thurston Moore was deserving of much more credit than he was given in SPINs annual “Cool Issue”….the title they gave my letter was “Kool Thing” if I remember correctly. Get it, it was in reference to the “Cool Issue” and it references Sonic Youth’s song “Kool Thing.” I joke, but in all reality, I could not have done any better.
Feeling quite well about the magazine, I thought that it would be a good note to end my subscription on (one that I had purchased at the low, LOW price of pennies an issue a few years ago). To my surprise I received the July issue…in July…months after I had received my last issue. “100 Greatest Albums 1985-NOW” graced the cover accompanied by my hero Bono along with Dr. “remember the album Dr. Dre presents The Aftermath, cause you’d be the only one” Dre and Beck (note that I will not make fun of Beck…he’s got street cred and in doing so I would then drop even further into the realm of X-TREME street cred-lis…ness.
The top 20 of the list
1 Radiohead – OK Computer
2 Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
3 Nirvana – Nevermind
4 Pavement – Slanted And Enchanted
5 The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
6 Pixies – Surfer Rosa
7 De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising
8 Prince – Sign O’ The Times
9 PJ Harvey – Rid Of Me
10 NWA – Straight Outta Compton
11 U2 – Achtung Baby
12 Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
13 Husker Du – New Day Rising
14 Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
15 Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
16 Beck – Mellow Gold
17 Nas – Illmatic
18 Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
19 Hole – Live Through This
20 Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang
I was aware of the list before I received the magazine, but merely skimmed the list after seeing the expected albums at the top (Radiohead, Public Enemy, etc.). But the magazine…OK, it pisses me off to be honest. How can Pearl Jam’s “Ten” (ranked 93) be considered a lesser album to that of most of the list? Let’s take a look at history and see what we can find, shall we?
Taken from SPIN’s list of the top 90 albums of the 90’s
1. Nevermind – Nirvana (DGC, 1991)
2. Fear Of A Black Planet – Public Enemy (Def Jam, 1990)
3. To Bring You My Love – PJ Harvey (Island, 1995)
4. Odelay – Beck (DGC, 1996)
5. Slanted And Enchanted – Pavement (Matador, 1992)
6. Live Through This – Hole (DGC, 1994)
7. Post – Bjork (Elektra, 1995)
8. The Chronic – Dr. Dre (Death Row/Interscope, 1992)
9. OK Computer – Radiohead (Capitol, 1997)
10. Dig Your Own Hole – The Chemical Brothers (Astralwerks, 1997)
11. The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails (Nothing/Interscope, 1994)
12. Check Your Head – Beastie Boys (Grand Royal/Capitol, 1992)
13. Exile In Guyville – Liz Phair (Matador, 1993)
14. Maxinquaye – Tricky (Island, 1995)
15. Endtroducing… – DJ Shadow (Mo’ Wax/FFRR, 1996)
16. Loveless – My Bloody Valentine (Sire, 1991)
17. The Score – Fugees (Columbia, 1996)
18. In Utero – Nirvana (DGC, 1993)
19. Achtung Baby – U2 (Island, 1991)
20. Play – Moby (V2, 1999)
Five years later, “OK Computer” has somehow become a far better album. It moved from #9 to #1. OK, I understand that different writers, critics and music “buff”s are responsible for these lists, but there’s such a difference between what they’ve written in the past compared with the present. Not only that, but SPIN apparently had a WTF was I thinking moment when they made the 90’s list because they’ve now come to the consensus that “Odelay” isn’t quite as good as it was…dropping it 12 spots. Many people feel that DJ Shadow’s “Entroducing” is an amazing album (and I am actually one of those people) and should be included in any list where it meets the requirements. But #69 on the new list when just five years ago you put it at #15…that’s bunk, straight up, to the max BUNK!
Green Day’s “Dookie” was listed at #42 on SPINs list of the most essential punk records of all time, probably about where it belongs. By changing the context of the list does it belong at #44 of the list of the GREATEST ALBUMS from the era?
I’ve read various other criticisms of this list, suggesting that De La Soul shouldn’t have been considered for the list, let alone the multiple albums of theirs which were included. Yes, they are there to represent a faction of the hip hop community which took a different approach to their art without becoming completely cause driven. But…OK, how about A Tribe Called Quest who’s “The Low End Theory” was ranked at #38 while Soul’s “3 Feet High and Rising” is on the list at #7. And to go further with that criticism, Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid in Full” makes the list at #47 while it is considered by many (not myself) to be a hip hop masterpiece. MTV (the true final word on all music-related lists, right?) recently named it the greatest hip hop album of all time.
I love metal…in fact (for lack of a better term) I love all things rock. Acoustic, indie, punk, metal, garage, low-fi, hi-fi, no-fi and all things in between.
Slayer…#67 on the list
Rage Against the Machine (arguably not even their best album…Battle of LA) #53
I think that with every other fan base they disrespected (alterna-cats, hip hoppers, etc…I’ve really got to think of better names than that…I’ll worry about that later) they hurt the metal fans too. Slayer really changed some things with “Reign in Blood,” and Metallica set some standards with “Master of Puppets” but are they the best representation of the best metal albums. UK metal magazine Kerrang thought (in 2003) that Faith No More’s “Angel Dust”, Tool’s “Aenima” and Alice in Chains’s “Dirt” were all more influential than Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”. Not saying that those are even metal METAL albums, but it questions the point.
I think that Rage Against the Machine’s first album is a classic of the era because it melted the lines between rap and rock to a greater extreme than the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Beastie Boys. My opinion. But that’s what all of this is, an opinion. It is the opinion of TEAM SPIN. A magazine which, up until last week, I thought was something of the past for me. Something I could think about as a stepping stone to the opinions and thoughts I now have. Something I wasn’t planning on revisiting. But I did, and in my opinion…the magazine isn’t worth your money or your time.
(As a sidenote as to the other things that irritate me about the magazine, Chuck Klosterman wrote in the most recent issue: “Mitch Hedberg – The funniest comedian of the past 20 years, dead at age 37 (for no g___amn reason). And Jimmy Fallon will probably live to be 110.)”
Why yes, he probably will. The money and fame he gained through a variety of media appearances put him in a position to milk Hollywood for what it’s worth and put him in movies and make sure he keeps getting money. The same money that will allow him to live a full and healthy life. It would be wrong for SPIN to have anything to do with that when the magazine’s opinion of him (even jokingly) is so negative…wouldn’t it?
[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]