Pickin’ On Pitchfork, Vol II

The second post attempting to analyzing Pitchfork Media’s “Best Of” choices. This time it’s the 90’s:

010: Guided by Voices
Bee Thousand
[Scat; 1994]

Why is lo-tech/ lo-fi so revered by the rock critic elite? Because ever since punk rock exploded onto the scene (which, ironically, most critics hated at the time) it has become the yardstick for everything that’s ‘cool’. To not give a flying fuck is seen as having integrity.  E SAYS: “Even though I ‘get it’ doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

009: Bonnie “Prince” Billy
I See a Darkness
[Palace; 1999]

The return of the singer songwriter in the 90’s birthed some true originals like Matt Ward, Iron and Wine and, yes, Bonnie Prince Billy. I dig the style, but this isn’t what I’d call a Desert Island Disk, and it certainly wouldn’t be in my top 10 of the 90’s. E SAYS: “A good effort, but too mediocre to be considered the best of a decade.”

008: Pavement
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
[Matador; 1994]

Oh God, here we go. Lo-fi, couldn’t be bothered, sloppy art rock. Except, as we all know, Pavement was trying to be sloppy, they could actually play their instruments and actually write a good tune. The Pitchfork-types love this band, and I have to admit it’s pretty decent and just might carck my top 50 of the 90’s. E SAYS: “Grandaddy did this type of music soooo much better.”

007: DJ Shadow
[Mo’Wax; 1996]

Sampling taken over to the dark side, Endtroducing is an original and one of the best of the genre. But sampling is just that, and although it’s taken the originals and put them into a fairly original context, it’s just…sampling. E SAYS: “S’ok.”

006: Nirvana
[DGC; 1991]

I’m a little sick and tired of all the comparisons with the Pixies, however true they may be. This in and of itself is a terrific album. Nirvana peaked on their second album, and although it did start one of the last musical revolutions overwrought “sincere” bands such as Pearl Jam, early on, alienated me from the entire movement. E SAYS: “Top 30? Perhaps.”

005: Pavement
Slanted & Enchanted
[Matador; 1992]
TWO PAVEMENT ALBUMS IN THE TOP 10? How friggin’ lazy is this? E SAYS: “Refer to comments above.”

 All right, let’s just get this out of the way. No other album in alternative rock history is revered and hated in equal measure than this one, and this time I have to agree with Pitchfork. It’s a dark album, but one of the most creative statements of the last 30 years, maybe longer. Yes it’s ‘cool’ to cite this album as one you like, but I happen to really, really like it. You may not. E SAYS: “Right on the money, Pitchfork. I’ll give you this one!”

003: The Flaming Lips
The Soft Bulletin
[Warner Bros; 1999]The Lips remain my favorite band of the last 25 years or so because they are still creative, still vital, still tuneful and still obscure enough to remain my perfect little secret. E SAYS: “Not just one of the best albums of the 90’s, but one of the best albums EVER.”

002: My Bloody Valentine
[Creation; 1991]

Another semi-overrated ‘classic’, but really just the best of the shoegazing set. This isn’t an album that I throw on very often, but when I do I enjoy it. A bit of a Psychocandy copycat, though. Not good enough for #2, certainly, but good enough for, say, #22 or so. E SAYS: ” Guitar noodling for the rave generation.”

001: Radiohead
OK Computer
[Capitol; 1997]

A really, really, REALLY good album, but due to massive over-exposure has slipped down my list of best of the 90’s.Is it a masterpiece of modern music? I believe there is no arguing that it is. Our generations ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’? Yes, I’d say that’s fair. Best album of the 90’s? No, it’s not, but it hasn’t slithered down the list that far, probably down to about #12 or something. E SAYS: “An excellent and important album, a tad overrated, and certainly not #1.”