The Best Best Music Lists of 2005?
My own Best Music of 2005? posting didn’t elicit many comments (does anyone read the front page anymore or are you all too busy down the Pub?), so I thought I would comment on Uncut magazine’s Best New Albums of 2005 instead. I’m probably not the first to notice that only one English act featured among the writers’ Top 10 (the, ahem, Rolling Stones), only one Scottish act likewise (Franz Ferdinand), and that the other eight acts were all from either Canada (including the winners, Arcade Fire) or the USA… Bear in mind that Uncut is a British magazine, presumably with a certain amount of national pride at stake, and this suggests a rather sorry state of affairs for those who believe that ever since the Beatles invaded America, the Brits own bragging rights to all things rock.
A quick scroll through the rest of the Uncut Top 50 barely ups the ante: I counted only 14 acts in total that could possibly claim to be flying the British flag, and that includes American-guested Gorillaz, New York-based Anthony and The Johnsons, Dublin’s HAL, and Sri Lankan born M.I.A.
So: Does Uncut have its finger on the (weakening British) pulse? Or is it unfairly slanted towards American acts for whatever editorial intents and purposes? Is the UK holding its own into 2006? Or has America once again wielded its empirical imperial status to claim your ‘Best Of’ List too?
If you don’t work but have access to a computer (like most of those who spend all day in the iJamming! Pub), you may want to check out this link at djmartian’s reputable blog: he’s assembled 380 (and counting) Best of 2005 Lists. Martian has my chart sandwiched between a remarkably credible countdown of electronic music courtesy of German online zine thelastbeat.com (one that pretty much answers my own Pub request for Best Electronic Tracks of 2005), and a Top 66 courtesy of Bravewords – not, sadly a Chills web site, but a heavy metal ‘zine out of Canada.
DJ Martian has yet to come up with a formula to assemble all these Best Of Lists into one categorical, heirachal, definitive list. But one link below the Bravewords list, the HMV UK – Music Polls page appears to have done the job for him. Listing several 2005 End of Year Charts from the major British music mags and assembling them into one master chart called Poll of Polls, HMV concludes that the ‘Best’ Album of 2005 was, you guessed it,Funeral by Arcade Fire. An album that featured heavily in most polls a full year ago – in North America, of course.