Welcome to the first S/FJ thread. Pitch in, be civil, give it your all, do it for your comrades.
Which lists have inspired or vexed you? Are there lists that should exist in the world but don’t? Did a list teach you something and then frustrate you? Is there a global change you’d make to lists of cultural products? Are you on a crusade for or against?
Feel free to just add a list: Best quarantine recipes, unexpected political heroes, things that you miss, ten things the Ariana Grande album might sound like. Engage with the Perfect Recordings stuff or ignore it entirely. Be as personal as you want to be. This is, as far as I can tell, a safe space, and I aim to keep it that way.
The Spin 100 Greatest Guitarists list was the second thing I thought of after Eddie Van Halen died. (The first was “Ice Cream Man.”) The day it pubbed, 10 years ago, my coworkers and I gathered around the screen and howled with delight at each new entry to see our faves finally represented, and with liberation from all the EVH/Vai/Jimi lists. To include Jam Master Jay, who played guitars in a sense, and to forget the usual technical gods, and on such a platform as Spin - a beautiful fuck-you, at the time. Is this a genre of list? “List-Busting Lists”?
I really liked Tom Whitwell's 52 Things I learned in 2019 https://medium.com/fluxx-studio-notes/52-things-i-learned-in-2019-8ee483e6c816
When I was in junior high in the 80s, Rolling Stone's list of Greatest Albums Your Dad Played in the Car turned me on to Exile on Main Street, Squeezing Out Sparks, This Years Model, & a bunch of other albums I glued into my Walkman. It's easy to dismiss the canonical-exclusionary trip, but lists are (or were?) one way kids stuck between coasts find out about transformative shit. I make lists for my students now, mostly of books of poetry, but recently got a request for a death-metal primer & was happy to oblige.
I wish lists and list makers would strive to make the lists as useful as possible. The Rolling Stone list is kinda useful, you can see if you've missed any biggies or have any big blind spots. Then, the usefulness gets swallowed up by the insanity of a definitive ranking.
Unranked 'start-here' lists are really really useful. I wish there were more (and they weren't Spotify algorithmic creations):
'Don't know where to start with Tom Waits? Start with these 10...'
'Don't know anything about Dub music? Start with these 10...'
I'd love to see an unranked list of all the musique concrete that was done as a soundtrack to some kind of live dance event. The recent archival Ellen Fullman release on Besom Presse got me thinking about how often that format has a good way of keeping the genre focused. Lists that are about tracking niche qualities like that seem like they'd be fun to have more of.
So here is the RS 500 PDF: https://docdro.id/YIYtXiQ
Uh, I'm gonna need to hear more about this nugget from today's (6/28/23) missive: "duo between Brötzmann and Han Bennink, presented by John Corbett at Brown University in 1986" -- FALL '86? I just want to make myself feel bad about missing it, I suppose.
Sasha, have been a fan of your criticism since your articles in the New Yorker a few years ago opened my eyes musically, in several respects. Finally decided to join your Substack today. Do you mind post suggestions? If not, I would love to read your thoughts on the new Kanye record, here or elsewhere. Hope you are well.