I went big for this, taking on 30 of the 300 albums. Click through this hulking document for my posts on (in alphabetical order, no spoilers): Arcade Fire, At the Drive-In, Beastie Boys, Beck, Belle & Sebastian, Björk, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Clipse, Cloud Nothings, Dirty Projectors, the Flaming Lips, the Fugees, Frank Ocean, GZA, Interpol, Jimmy Eat World, Justin Timberlake, the Microphones, My Bloody Valentine, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pixies, Portishead, the Postal Service, Radiohead, TV on the Radio, the Unicorns, Vampire Weekend, the xx, and Wilco. So many of my all-time favorites in here, and so many I’d never had the chance to write about.
An A.V. Club reader recently asked us for our favorite songs by terrible bands. Read everyone’s responses here (it’s pretty hilarious). Mine is pasted below:
For me, it’s gotta be “Pop” by ’N Sync. Born in ’82, I was weaned on New Kids On The Block, came of age to Boyz II Men, and was just old enough to despise Lou Pearlman’s bumper crop of follow-up boy bands. It was the worst of times for mainstream music, and be they bleach-tipped or corn-rowed, those little bastards were responsible for making the radio suck. And then, in the midst of meatheaded paeans to playerdom and sappy song-sized romance novels, there came this strangely self-aware single—one boy band’s plea for respect—and weirdly, it worked. At least, it worked on me. Justin Timberlake was always a standout in the group, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that he was responsible for the track’s lyrical sass—“Why you wanna try to classify the type of thing we do?”—as well as the concept of dubbing the group’s newly aggressive sound “dirty pop,” which felt a little bit like a knife slashing at his own group’s oeuvre, not to mention those of ’N Sync’s competitors. The beatbox solo was the icing on the cake, and a preview of the unexpected credibility that awaited JT in his solo career. Don’t you ever wonder why his music gets you high? This is the fizzy foundation of the Justin Timberlake we know and, yes, love today.
And then there was this. On Thursday, the news traveled like wildfire across the dry digi-field that is the interwebs: greatest band in the world (why not?) Radiohead was to throw an impromptu Oxfam benefit raising money for Haiti’s recovery at a 1300-person theater in L.A. As one reporter pointed out, the band typically sells out multiple nights at the Hollywood Bowl, capacity 18,000. Covering for Spin, I bumped into Britt Daniel (Spoon) and Eric Wareheim (Tim & Eric) in line outside of the Fonda, but neither that nor a face-to-face with J. Timberlake (also in attendance) could have been more thrilling than hearing nearly half of OK Computer performed live. Read about it.
*The photo comes courtesy of LA Weekly shutterbug Timothy Norris. Music editor Randall Roberts wrote a great review of the show as well, which you should read, here.