Now that's a headline, ladies and germs.
It has the added benefit of being succinct as well. That's exactly what we're summing up here, the worst Top 10 lists our peers have written this year. Let's get started, as we've got a lot of ground to cover.
10. This One
Not really, this is just to head you smartasses off at the pass.
We'll start off slow. We like Earfarm. They do good work; as you can see from the first half of this two-part list, their picks for Breakout Bands of 2009 are solid. A look at their list for promising bands of 2010, however, makes us look for our Sad Trombone Button.
We've got nothing against any of the bands they've listed, mind you. There's your silver lining. The dark cloud is: we've only heard of one of them - Local Natives - and we ain't exactly been living under a rock all year. We're sure these bands have their supporters who will assure us that we're the most ignorant philistines alive for never having heard of Glass Ghost (or is it Apollo Ghosts? Are those different acts?), but keep in mind this list was not "Really Cool Bands You May or May Not Have Heard of That You Should Look Into and Maybe You'll Like 'Em."
This list was 10 Bands to Watch, as in "10 Bands to Jump On the Bandwagon Early So That When They Skyrocket to Fame Later This Year, You Can Out-Indie Your Friends By Saying You Saw Them First." By that token, this list is a dismal failure, with a success rate of only 1 out of 10. Sorry, Earfarm. Better luck in 2011!
Here's one that should have been cut off after the Top 5. Who could argue that Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons and crossover smash Florence + The Machine haven't had a great 2010? The list takes a sharp left turn at No. 6, however. MGMT's sophomore effort had an initially strong showing on the sales charts, then plummeted like a stone when their fans realized they'd figured out all of the elements that made their first record great and, with surgical precision, removed them.
MGMT spent the second half of 2010 apologizing for and disowning the abysmally boring Congratulations. Two other bands on the list, Phoenix and Bon Iver, didn't even release new albums this year, and the other two, Of Montreal and Spoon, did, but failed to light the indie world on fire. Their respective albums were greeted with pleasant reviews and promptly forgotten about. We like both bands, but reading over 2010's Spoon and Of Montreal album reviews, we see lots of words like "subtle," "elusive" and "challenging." That's music critic code for "not bad, but hard to get into." Just for future reference.
Indeed, most of Of Montreal's heat in 2010 seems to stem from their appearances on Janelle Monae's album. Can you really make the Top 10 if you're best known for a collab with a much hotter artist?
It makes perfect sense that one of the more vapid year-end lists would come from a publication associated with America Online, which they're hoping you've forgotten is what AOL stands for. It's full of safe Top 40 hits and not a single rock song, not even shitty radio-rock like Linkin Park or Three Days Grace - both back in Billboard's Modern Rock Top 5 as this is being written.
Not only is it entirely pop, but a lot of bad pop at that; we understand wanting to look at Rihanna and Katy Perry, but we can't imagine anyone wanting to listen to them. Lady Gaga and Eminem get a pass, while newcomers Bruno Mars, B.O.B., and Taio Cruz seem to be at least mildly talented performers buried under mounds of studio effects and cheesy fluff production.
Usher and Lady Antebellum? Meh. But do any of these songs belong on, or anywhere near, a ten best of 2010 list? Not even close. (Okay... maybe "Bad Romance.")
Damn, but this is an ugly list. At first we thought it was because these guys were, naturally, fans of more guitar-oriented rock, but that's no excuse, because three of these albums are not guitar-oriented in the slightest. Aside from that, we don't give a damn how much you like post-grunge, there is no reason to put Alter Bridge - the Creed away from Creed - on any "Best Of" list, ever. The Iron Maiden album is probably this list's most solid rock choice, but it's not solid enough to make up for picking Slash's dreadful solo album, which features a collaboration with fucking Fergie.
At this point, we'd rather see Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, duetting with Slash than Fergie from the Black Eyed goddamn Peas. And Avenged Sevenfold and My Chemical Romance rounding out the list? Good Christ, how much cheese do you need in your music? On a list of guitar albums that mattered this year, we'd expect to see Kylesa, Swans, The Sword, High On Fire, or the Besnard Lakes pop up, or at least some truly innovative metal acts like The Ocean, Dillinger Escape Plan or Shining. Instead, we're given Alter Bridge. Shameful.
Note: Ultimate Guitar did release a "Best Metal Albums of 2010" list, and it most certainly beats the pants off of this one.
This is like some kind of FBI's Most Wanted list. Their crime: They are murdering music, slowly and painfully. If we included even a cartoon depiction showing what these ProTools-slinging douches were doing to music, we'd be fired immediately. Nicer things were done to heretics during the Inquisition.
Actually, this list is kind of useful; it tells us what the mind behind Animal Collective and Panda Bear is into, so that we can avoid it, lest its taint turn us into meandering psych-synth noodlers of a similar ilk. Aside: scroll down the list and read Owen Pallet's Katy Perry lyrics mad libs. Now that's some funny shit.
This list draws from material released prior to 2010, but the list itself was posted in January of this year, so as far as we're concerned, it counts. Put simply, nearly all of these songs are terrible. Oversatured, overemoted, insincere crap should never, ever make you cry, unless you're on a three-day road trip with someone and you open their CD case to find selections like Billy Ocean, the All-American Rejects and goddamn Alabama.
Here's a tip: Most truck stops still carry racks of CDs for the road (and cassettes, in some cases), and most of them have ZZ Top's Greatest Hits. Your friend will be angry when you chuck his awful CD collection out the window, so remind him that losing his sappy adult contemporary collection beats the alternative, which is being strangled to death by you.
This one is so bad that even though it's technically ineligible since it features 18 entries, we're going to just pretend it starts at number 10. Even with schlock-rockers Taproot and Breaking Benjamin eliminated from our consideration, this list still holds plenty of embarrassments, not the least of which is two songs from post-Staley Alice In Chains.
Stone Sour and Shinedown both outrank Black Rebel Motorcycle Club somehow, and Band of Horses and Gaslight Anthem are both defeated by - yeesh - Stone Temple Pilots. Good God. This list seems like it was put together by two different people, one with decent taste in music, and one Affliction-sporting broseph who keeps losing his Texans hat at Scout Bar.
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Sorry, y'all, but that shit was boring.
Released in February, it's hard to argue with this list's No. 1, The Beatles' Revolver, but we sure do have to wade through a lot of perplexing garbage to get there. In a failed bid for relevance as their organization collapses around them due to the fact that even the most devout flocks have grown tired of the constant child-molestation allegations and convictions, the Catholic Church struggled to appeal to the masses with this list. We say it's a "failed bid" because the damn thing starts off with a Santana album, and not even one of his classics, but the one that started his career resurgence via horrifying collaborations.
Also stinking up the place are Donald Fagen and David Crosby, with an additional appearance by Michael Jackson who, as the King of Pop and not rock, doesn't really belong on this list. By trying to relate to the people, the Catholic Church instead reminded us yet again just what an outdated, irrelevant dinosaur it really is.