Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Blessed Be the Listmakers
I’d just put my "Best of 2001" CD behind me when the Energizer requested a top 15 of 2002 list from me for the next issue of U!

This is what I came up with. Bear in mind that it's all U!-approved stuff, and doesn't include artists like Young and Sexy, Japancakes, Radiogram, and Sonic Youth, all of whom would have made my "real" top 15:
1. Porcupine Tree – In Absentia (Lava/Atlantic)
2. Opeth – Deliverance (Music For Nations/Koch)
3. Half Man – Red Herring (Beard of Stars Records)
4. Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors (The End)
5. Agalloch – The Mantle (The End)
6. Dead Meadow – Howls From the Hills (Tolotta)
7. Flower Kings – Unfold the Future (InsideOut)
8. Isis – Celestial (Ipecac)
9. Boards of Canada – Geogaddi (Warp)
10. Queens of the Stone Age – Songs For the Deaf (Interscope)
11. Soilwork – Natural Born Chaos (Nuclear Blast)
12. Spock’s Beard – Snow (Metal Blade)
13. Electric Wizard – Let Us Prey (The Music Cartel)
14. Deus ex Machina – Cinque (Cuneiform)
15. Threshold – Critical Mass (InsideOut)

Compiling it made me realize that I didn’t have much time to listen to music this year. I've probably only listened to #1 three or four times all the way through. It’s all relative though. I’d have music on 16 hours a day if I could. It’s a drag I can’t use my commuting time to listen to stuff. If I had a Discman that actually worked on the bus, that didn’t skip at the slightest tremor, I’d still suffer from headphone paranoia. I like to leave my ears open when I’m out in the world. I need my hearing for survival. One minute I’d be enjoying, say, the stark beauty of Neurosis; the next I’d be run over by some sketchoid riding his bike on the sidewalk. I find it impossible to relax when I can’t hear what’s going on around me.

I also worry about headphone leakage, that trebly mewling that cuts through all Translink ambience. When I hear it emanating from someone a few seats away I like to play “Name That Tune.” I used to be quite good at it, but I can’t tell what the kids listen to anymore. Sometimes, though, I’ll hear a youngster listening to something ancient like AC/DC, and it’ll make my day.

If some fellow travelers clued into what I was listening to, they’d either laugh at me or beat me up.

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