There’s pretty much nothing as arbitrary as a mainstream music magazine or blog’s year-end list. As Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchfork, Stereogum and more pick their year-end albums, they all coalesce into one list that defies genre. The tastes of many different writers battle it out for who can make what album or song seem more important. Yet, the inclusion of an album or song might lead to someone discovering them, as they rush to compartmentalize their listening by year. At any rate, it being December 1, Rolling Stone and Stereogum have published their best albums of the year, while Spin has a list of 101 songs that are the best of the year. Metal shows up on some of them. And yeah, it’s about as arbitrary as you could expect.
We’ll start with Rolling Stone, because why not? Any record that has Keith Richards’and James Taylor’s current albums in their top 50, well, it has to be RS. There’s actually very little heavy to be found on their list, but they were too busy putting albums by Bozz Scaggs and Don Henley on the list to pay attention to anything that underground. Maybe they’ll have their own list of best metal, which wouldn’t be too out of character now that Revolver’s Brandon Geist is over there, but the only remotely heavy thing on their list is Marilyn Manson’s The Pale Emperor, coming in at #34. It’s a pretty solid album for Manson, but definitely not one of the most vital heavy releases of the year.
Stereogum’s list is a little more realistic. Tribulation’s The Children of the Night came in at #24. An album that’s going to wind up on a lot of top ten lists, we’re thinking, the Swedish black’n roll album is a banger and a half. Deafheaven’s New Bermuda came in at #10, which seems about right. They’re the kind of band that’s a critical favorite, hipster-friendly, and actually improved on the metallic elements of Sunbather. Metal purists will complain, but they’re always complaining about something. The band’s “Luna” came in at #90 on Spin‘s list of the 101 best songs. Speaking of complaining metal purists Liturgy’s “Vitriol” was Spin’s #74 song of the year. Also, Baroness’ “Shock Me” was #65, but their #1 song is by Justin Bieber, so what do they know? We’ll start our own year-end coverage later this week, but stay tuned for more lists to piss you off!