I fucking love paronomasia, (puns, wordplay).
My “lists are for the listless” mantra is a classic example, on a topic that is dear to my black and red, anarchistic heart.
I abhor the slightest whiff of hierarchy, and all it entails.
In my meritocratic utopia, a thing is simply celebrated in and of itself.
Pointless comparisons are a moot point, rendered academic. I particularly love that academic can mean, either scholarly or irrelevant. Those who consider themselves to be one, often turn out to be the other.
It’s that time of year, when everyone and their dog, is jumping on the “Best Of 2015” charabanc.
It is traditional after all. As Krishnamurti once said, “Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay”…
Over the years, I have taken a perverse pride in the number of records in my possession, that never made it to whatever musical barometer, happens to be in vogue.
A badge of honour, stubbornly worn with pride.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that anyone else isn’t entitled to their opinion – I’m just saying it is not one that I share.
I love to revel in the uniqueness of something, to defy the lazy pigeon-holing, the safe, genre defining, labelling of the mainstream.
I say, FUCK all of that.
This is why I don’t believe in end of year lists.
If I have written about something, it is because it has genuinely sparked an emotional connection. A connection I want to share.
And let’s not forget about those who got away. All those albums, that just never got heard. Yet!
I am often humbled at how long it has taken something to reach me, embarrassingly, years in some instances.
I feel a genuine sense of bewilderment for example, that I only really found out who Spacemen 3 were, after witnessing Spectrum at the inaugural Eindhoven Psych Lab.
Sure I’d heard the name over the years but I’d never really listened, bordering on sacrilege, I know!
I have trawled my record collection, looking to see what I was listening to whenever Spacemen 3 released a record, to no appreciable avail. I just cannot fathom, how I managed to miss out on them over the years.
Had I heard ‘Revolution’ in 1988 like I was supposed to, things might have been a little bit different. If not different, then certainly fuller-bodied.
The point of this rambling is that to me, it feels conceited to offer up an invariably predictable list, of the “best” acts or albums for any given year. Someone is always going to be missed or left out.
I’m not saying the bands collecting the plaudits, don’t deserve the accolades.
What I am saying, is that by heaping praise on a select few, others equally deserving, will inevitably be starved of some impetus for growth.
Spare a thought then for the little guy or girl – share the love, give these bands the encouragement they richly deserve, everyone has to start somewhere.
I may grudgingly concede that a list might inspire someone, to take those first tentative steps outside their comfort zone, perhaps helping them make a connection that wasn’t there before.
Ultimately, liberation from constraint, is where true free association begins – nurturing the conditions of existence, allowing individuals to fulfil their creative needs and desires.
Savour the harmony in the moment, everything else is an illusion.
My “list” then is dedicated to every band I have had the pleasure of hearing this year. Every band I have witnessed live this year. Every label who has felt and fostered the potential in these bands. Every venue, promoter and event organiser, who has had the balls to allow these bands and labels the opportunity, to reach a wider audience. Every other music fan out there, not afraid to wear their passion and commitment on their collective sleeves.
It’s all on these pages. You are all on my list. You know who you are…x
Cheers Chro’ and well said. I like reading other people’s lists because they usually highlight a band or two that is new to me, or remind me of something I’d forgotten about. There is just so much amazing music hitting us from all angles, and on a daily basis it sometimes seems. Wasn’t always the case I fear, so long may they run. Summing up the end of a year is ok, and each to their own I guess, it’s just that sometimes it can seem a little too formal and rigid to me, like sweeping stuff away instead of letting stuff just grow, breath and inspire.
Everyone knows they are subjective and personal, to claim anything else would be stupid. NME and Rolling Stone and all mainstream journals will make their lists featuring Coldplay and mainsyream veteran bands and it’s those you should be criticizing rather than those who semiprofessionally dig out new sounds, new bands and show their support to them and do everything to promote them. These lists are not made light-heartedly and hierarchy is not implicated but love. Personal love for the music. There are countless bands that I’ve travelled with from their first demos and I always let them know how exciting I find their music. This doesn’t change their chosen paths but it’s always good to know, when no money is coming in and no one seems to care, when lots of sacrifices are made to make the music. I do believe it’s good for the bands to know that someone really gets it and appreciates it.