While compiling lists has been a human fascination for centuries, this year has seen an explosion of "lists" in the pop culture world, and particularly in music. Making lists is fun, but I think that arguing over them is even more fun. The pure subjective nature of list-making sets the table for arguments that can never be truly settled. In other words, they are content fillers and conversation starters, and everyone got in on the act this year.
5 - "Top 100 Tracks of 2006" by Pitchfork. For the uninitiated, Pitchfork seems to pride itself as a coffee klatch of music snobs who go out of their way to use very big words to belittle artists and pat themselves on the back for their taste-making prowess. Rarely would you see "top 40" or mainstream artists mentioned in a favorable light. But, Pitchfork came down from its high horse to recognize Mr. Timberlake for their top track of the year. As I've said, nobody is doing it better than JT right now. So, here's to you, Pitchfork, for taking your collective noses out of the air to enjoy some pure pop gold.
4 - "Stuff I liked in 2006" by Rivers Cuomo. Although the Weezer frontman got married this year, it seems Rivers still has an eye (or at least an ear) for the ladies. Nelly Furtado, Danity Kane, Shakira, Cassie and JoJo all have the "stuff" Rivers likes. Nice choices, but this one really makes my list for the title alone.
3 - "Best Singer/Songwriter Albums of 2006" by Popmatters. First, this is generally just a great site. After all, pop really does matter. But, in a world of pop culture where glorified karaoke singers from American Idol sell more records than people who can actually write and perform their own songs, it is nice to see true artists recognized somewhere.
2 - The Most Annoying Pop Songs of 2006 by About.com. Paris Hilton's "The Stars are Blind" tops this well done slate of pop poison pills. It seemed like the only one who really enjoyed this little diddy was Paris herself. Indeed, after a few listens the stars no doubt wished they were deaf, not blind. But even better than their choice for most annoying song is the sage advice dished out to Paris' most surprising BFF of 2006, Britney Spears: "Keep Paris far from the studio." Now, that is a New Year's resolution I can get behind.
1 - "Worst Music of 2006" by the L.A. Times. If the pen is mightier than the sword, the caustic wit employed by the Times in this annotation is a nuclear weapon. Bombs get dropped on Janet, Fergie, Dave Navarro's Panic Channel and more. After all, what's a "best of" list if you don't trash anyone?! And, yes, the poster boy for bad music, our man Fed-Ex made the cut for putting out some of the worst music this year. Something tells me he might be back for more in 2007... see you then!