Thoughts on the very idea of ‘classic’ albums.

As lifted directly from the boards of DrownedinSound.com.

(Pluto Prize list centric)

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i’ll bet that there’s not one album on the list that people are still goin to be listening to in three years time. as i said, maybe fuck buttons
haribo7989 | 8 Sep ’08, 15:50 | Send note | Report this | Reply | x

That’s rubbish.
Have you heard all twelve? Didn’t think so.
Besides, who cares if they’re being listened to in three years’ time? I rarely listen to albums I consider classics from three years ago – I listen to what’s new, mostly, as do many people who genuinely love their music.
As a snapshot of excellent albums from the period July 2007-July 2008, the Pluto 12 plus the Mercury 12 = a pretty fine 24 indeed.
Mike_Diver | 8 Sep ’08, 15:53 | Send note | Report this | Reply | x

oh ‘most people who genuinely love their music only listen to new music’? fuck off! no wonder so many people around here express daft opinions like ‘the beatles were shit’..i listen to tons of new music (i’d say about 3 hours of new music a day) AND i listen to classics.
just cos you’re passionate about music doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have standards, in fact it should make you more demanding about what’s truly great and what’s merely good. but then again, you are the guy who saw fit to award ‘weekend in the city’ a 9 rating.
for the record, i own 7 of the albums and i’ve heard enough material from the other ones to decide that they’re not worth my hard-earned.
haribo7989 | 8 Sep ’08, 16:09 | Send note | Report this | Reply | x

Seven from twelve? So you’re only just over 50 per cent qualified to state what you did above? Well done. And where do I say ‘only new music’? Rarely was the word I used, and I’d imagine that most people who frequently visit DiS for news on current artists breakthrough and mainstream listen to those acts much more than they do, say, the Beatles, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Wire, Public Enemy, etc.
I own many a ‘classic’ album – whatever you mean by classic (presumably you’re referring to albums that critics too old to remember the last time they went to a gig that wasn’t seated consider genre- and era-defining documents and artifacts? Fuck them, fucking dinosaurs) – but rarely turn to them when there’s such a brilliant stream of new music coming out week in, week out. It only takes a little time to turn over some stones and discover something magic, something to rate alongside these perceived ‘classics’, which are only ‘classics’ today because nobody has had the balls to properly stand up for records released since the birth and death of punk. To move the goalposts. To stick two up to John Lydon and tell him ‘Bollocks’ is bollocks, and piss on the graves of Harrison and Lennon spelling ‘only two songs off the white album are any good, you self-absorbed self-aggrandizing dead twats’ as they go.
I HATE the notion of classic albums, given the wholly subjective nature of the absorption and assessment of art – unless you’re analyzing the process over the product, exactly what are your guidelines? There were ten or more albums released last year that were better than Sgt Peppers, or Dark Side, if not more… there was because that’s progress, evolution, development; it’s refinement and redirection and the embracing of technology and sociological elements that simply never existed before the time of those records’ gestations.
Music is movement, not moments; it’s not judged on static fossils, but on living processes. Snapshots serve as reminders, lists as spotters guides, but there’s no such thing as categorical zeniths, as absolute classics. How can there be? If there was everyone making music today would give up.
Saying that the Beatles were shit is not a daft opinion. It is an opinion. Do you not see that that’s the beauty of such instantaneous art as pop music – one man’s brilliance is another’s annoyance. If you can’t see that standards exist only in the mind of the individual, and that the archaic notion of classics is born of redundant commentators alone, then truly you’re discussing music in the wrong place. Go talk to a wall.
What does it matter what I gave an album that came out last year? What’s the relation of that to this argument? I like Bloc Party.
Mike_Diver | 8 Sep ’08, 16:28 | Send note | Report this | Reply | x

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What great LOLs.

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2 Responses to Thoughts on the very idea of ‘classic’ albums.

  1. James Skinner says:

    Good rant indeed – on a subject that will forever cause debate I feel!

    Throwing my thoughts into the mix, I find that I can like – even love – some stuff of yesteryear, but for me to fall truly, inordinately for an album (or band), it has to be something I can feasibly see live, or at least feel is a part of the patchwork of my culture, not my parents’ – as much as it’s perhaps influenced by it.

    Of course, this doesn’t always ring true, but for the most part really does – and for literature and films too. Generally: stuff now – adore; stuff then – admire. A mainstay of the countless arguments I’ve had with friends about this is, as you point out, the sheer volume of great contemporary music being released, which brings me back to my original point, which was –

    Good rant.

  2. Lucy says:

    Truly brilliant… Mike remind me NEVER to get into an argument with you about music. I’d go down in FLAMES.

    Ending it with ‘I like Bloc Party’ – genius.

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