Top 10 Worst Top 10 Lists Of 2010
It has the added benefit of being succinct as well. That's exactly what we're summing up here, the worst Top 10 lists our peers have written this year. Let's get started, as we've got a lot of ground to cover.
10. This One
Not really, this is just to head you smartasses off at the pass.
We'll start off slow. We like Earfarm. They do good work; as you can see from the first half of this two-part list, their picks for Breakout Bands of 2009 are solid. A look at their list for promising bands of 2010, however, makes us look for our Sad Trombone Button.
We've got nothing against any of the bands they've listed, mind you. There's your silver lining. The dark cloud is: we've only heard of one of them - Local Natives - and we ain't exactly been living under a rock all year. We're sure these bands have their supporters who will assure us that we're the most ignorant philistines alive for never having heard of Glass Ghost (or is it Apollo Ghosts? Are those different acts?), but keep in mind this list was not "Really Cool Bands You May or May Not Have Heard of That You Should Look Into and Maybe You'll Like 'Em."
This list was 10 Bands to Watch, as in "10 Bands to Jump On the Bandwagon Early So That When They Skyrocket to Fame Later This Year, You Can Out-Indie Your Friends By Saying You Saw Them First." By that token, this list is a dismal failure, with a success rate of only 1 out of 10. Sorry, Earfarm. Better luck in 2011!
Here's one that should have been cut off after the Top 5. Who could argue that Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons and crossover smash Florence + The Machine haven't had a great 2010? The list takes a sharp left turn at No. 6, however. MGMT's sophomore effort had an initially strong showing on the sales charts, then plummeted like a stone when their fans realized they'd figured out all of the elements that made their first record great and, with surgical precision, removed them.
MGMT spent the second half of 2010 apologizing for and disowning the abysmally boring Congratulations. Two other bands on the list, Phoenix and Bon Iver, didn't even release new albums this year, and the other two, Of Montreal and Spoon, did, but failed to light the indie world on fire. Their respective albums were greeted with pleasant reviews and promptly forgotten about. We like both bands, but reading over 2010's Spoon and Of Montreal album reviews, we see lots of words like "subtle," "elusive" and "challenging." That's music critic code for "not bad, but hard to get into." Just for future reference.
Indeed, most of Of Montreal's heat in 2010 seems to stem from their appearances on Janelle Monae's album. Can you really make the Top 10 if you're best known for a collab with a much hotter artist?