BREAKING: I am old

The Onion has published their Best Music of the Year list. I find that, of the albums listed, I own one.

One. (Portishead’s Third, to answer your next question.)click tracking

Back in my day, if you can believe it, we had artists like Elvis Costello and Talking Heads, and we listened to music on vinyl discs on turntables, where you would put a tiny fake-diamond needle on the surface of the vinyl and then you’d have to sit there and listen to the songs in the order the artist intended while you looked at the big cardboard sleeve the thing came in. Now it’s all blippity-blip music and coarse youth with their gaudy styles and lack of melody. Where did you go, Johnny Rotten?

Also: get off my lawn.


51 Responses to “BREAKING: I am old”
  1. spooky_chan says:

    i know none of those albums they listed.

    I’m about to turn 27 on the 25th this month, but I owned a record player when i was a kid, and played the Beatles and classical albums. My house had an entire hallway of picture-discs [you know, albums with images on them] – which ranged from Bowie, Beatles, Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, Pink Floyd, and soooo much more. My father was an audiophile, and had tons of records stashed all around the house. Music was always played on the weekends- and my parents took me to see Paul McCartney when i was in the second grade [and of course i was ecstatic to go, and I knew who he was obviously.]

    I doubt being “old” has anything to what you’re into. It’s what level of exposure you have, and what type of music you’re into at different points in your life.

    For me, this list is just something that doesn’t match the underground scene i’m into currently, or the fact i’m more or less interested in alternative music of the 80’s than whatever is the alt of today.

  2. yesdrizella says:

    If it helps, I’ve never heard of half those bands. Portishead’s album is the only one I own as well. It’s all right, but few things can surpass the beauty of Dummy.

  3. mcbrennan says:

    Mr. Alcott, your first clue should have been the source. That list was published by The Onion, a “spoof” news organization loosely affiliated with the Symbionese Liberation Army. None of those bands exist. “Beach House”? “Frightened Rabbit”? “Fucked Up”?! Thse items were obviously lifted from the “notes from Richard Nixon’s fist acid trip”, published in the August, 1972 issue of the Lampoon. Sure, they sprinkled a real album or two in there to fool people of our generation. The young people love their cruel lulz.

    • You’re wrong. Death Cab for Cutie has had songs on the radio for quite a while now.

      • mcbrennan says:

        “Death Cab For Cutie”? Come on, that one’s the most obviously fake of all, it’s a song title by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band…they played it in “Magical Mystery Tour”. And the radio was brutally murdered in 1980 by that guy from the Buggles.

        • They just played on the radio shortly after I commented, too. LOL

          Toad the Wet Sprocket was initially a fake band in a Monty Python skit, but it was later the name of a real band. 😉

          • urbaniak says:

            It is a known fact that Death Cab for Cutie’s “Ben,” “Chris,” “Nicholas” and “Jason” are in fact Onion editors Todd Hanson, Scott Dikkers, Chad Nackers and Robert Siegel (author of the upcoming Fox Searchlight release “The Wrestler.”) According to Dikkers, the band started “as a goof” when the four took a road trip to Washington state in 1997. The joke got out of hand and they ended up signing with Atlantic Records, a development that does not make the band any less “fake.” Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • ajr says:

      Fucked Up are most certainly a real band, I’ve seen them live on stage.

    • misterseth says:

      It looks like he got it from the AV Club, the Onions sister webzine

  4. capthek says:

    Ah, yes, Johnny Rotten the timeless classic.

    Do you remember playing records backwards to hear hidden messages from satan? Ah, kids these days don’t know what they are missing.

    • I’ve seen the way they treat CDs. They’d have ruined an LP before they could get it on the turntable, I’m sure.

      • Damn straight. I cringe watching my brother change Playstation disks. And CDs? I don’t think anyone of his age (17) touches those anymore, they just download all the (crappy) music they like off the interweb.

  5. I still by vinyl. You can get it new, even. Some bands release on vinyl and older LPs are being re-released on vinyl.

    IT WILL NEVER DIE!!! … just don’t keep it out in the Sun on a hot day.

    But here’s my opinion, having listened to some of each song:

    I have to admit, the Black Mountain (bottom band on page 1) sounds like a group I’d totally dig. If I could afford it, I’d buy their album. That’s how confident I am in making that statement.

    The Helio Sequence was interesting, but I doubt I’d want to buy it unless I could afford to waste the money.. just in case I don’t like the rest. It’s not bad.

    Intro to Frightened Rabbit’s song reminds me immediately of Cranes. I want to hear more.

    Hercules and Love Affair would fit nice in my “Music so bad, it’s awesome” section. Dig that disco!

    Gaslight Anthem sounds a bit TOO much like other bands I can name. For example, the Stills.

    I have heard Death Cab for Cutie before (I usually listen to a New/Alt Rock radio station). I didn’t recognise the song until it reached the chorus. They’re alright, but I wouldn’t buy their CD.

    Does it bother anyone else that Bon Iver (#5) sounds like they’re using a guitar/banjo that’s TERRIBLY out of tune???

    Fucked Up is another I want to investigate further, musically. I swear it’s not just because they’re Canadian. It’s also because it’s a genre of music I prefer.

    But seriously… if this was the BEST they could find, I’d hate to know what the other contenders were. D:

  6. cucumberseed says:

    I own two of those albums; the same one you own, and Dear Science which I heartily recommend to anyone with ears. I also have a couple of songs by Fleet Foxes and Frightened Rabbit, both of which are pretty good.

  7. craigjclark says:

    I’m in the same boat as you, only the one that I own is David Byrne & Brian Eno’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (which didn’t even make the main list but was on at least one of the contributor’s personal lists).

  8. goodtoast says:

    I dunno. I know nearly all the bands on the list, and own a number of those albums, but even then I’m not that impressed. For me, at least, there hasn’t been a standout album of 2008. Maybe it’s because we’re comparing so many different genres, and sub-genres. I have a difficult time saying that Sigur Ros’ album is better or worse than Bon Iver’s because they have nothing alike. Call me old-fashioned that way.

  9. vinic says:

    Don’t worry, there still exists a subset of young whippersnappers who purchase vinyls, or at the very least respect The Album as an entity and not a CD single with annoying filler.

    • musicphiles ftw

      Exactly. Some albums are meant to be heard in sequence (Dark Side of the Moon, American Idiot, Joe’s Garage, etc) and it’s not the same otherwise.

      What really bugs me is getting an album based on some really great songs I’ve heard on the radio, only to find out the rest of the album is CRAP (or even worse.. they all sound so similar!).

  10. johnnycrulez says:

    All I’ve got is the Sigur Ros album, the Gaslight Anthem, Lupe, Girl Talk, the Hold Steady, and TV on the Radio.

    I feel like both the Hold Steady and the Gaslight Anthem might be accessible to old people like yourself. They are both sort of Springsteen inspired modern indie bar rock stuff.

  11. gdh says:

    Gah, when did The Onion get indier-than-thouer than Pitchfork?

    They even have Girl Talk on their list. Girl Talk is terrible. It’s literally nothing but a guy doing mashups of popular songs by other artists. The entire point of the Girl Talk experience seems to be to able to go “Heh. I recognize that song!” over and over while trying to pick up girls at a dance club. Why one would actually purchase a CD of this, I have no idea.

    TV on the Radio are in fact awesome though.

  12. urbaniak says:

    I own a Black Mountain album but not the one on the list. Am I still hip?

  13. jey says:

    Third was also released on vinyl, if that helps.

  14. Don’t feel so bad. Not only do I not own a single album ever made by any of those artists, but I’ve never HEARD of 95% of them. I believe it’s very rare for 10 albums of good quality to come out in a single year anymore.

    Oh and I’m 26.

  15. musicpsych says:

    It’s funny: it used to be that when I’d see a list like that, I’d feel like I wasn’t cool enough to have known of all of the bands/albums on the list. As I get older (26 btw), I find that I just don’t care enough to be concerned about that. I miss the days when there was more of a shared listening, when there would have been more mainstream bands (like a Nirvana or Pearl Jam) on that list. Now, music listening is just too fragmented, and all of these bands are too difficult to keep track of. Every time I turn around now, it’s like, “Hey look, another obscure indie band. Woo.”

  16. woodandiron says:

    I’m 23 and I only own one off the list. That’s mostly due to the fact that I’m broke. Also I only dip my toe into the pool that is indie rock because I feel like too much of it is the same and uninteresting.

    I highly recommend The Gaslight Anthem and their latest album The ’59 Sound which is on the AV Club’s list. It’s a cross between Springsteen and punk like the Bouncing Souls (leaning more towards the Boss side of the equation). Sometimes their lyrics are a tad too earnest in a saccharine way but in general their music rocks.

    On a side note I was wondering if you saw this.

    • johnnycrulez says:

      But when your songwriter/vocalist is in like with the Boss it makes sense to have super earnest lyrics.

      They make me think of what the world would be like if Bruce was backed by a punk band rather than the E Street Band.

  17. Hey, that’s better than me. I have none of those. Hell, I have only heard of 7 out of the 30 bands on the list.

  18. schwa242 says:

    Johnny Rotten occasional shows up on TV talk shows to make faces at the camera in an effort to “Stick it to the man.” And sometimes he ends up in court.

  19. malsperanza says:

    Wait a minute, that wasn’t a real diamond?

  20. noskilz says:

    Maybe you just need a new metric – like the Halmarkesque notion that one is only old when one’s regrets outnumber one’s dreams.

    If that’s too cheesy, there’s always chalking it up to media fragmentation(only so many hours in the day) and/or consolidation( I don’t think many of those bands get much airplay on Clear Channel.)

    That said, there’s nothing quite like searching youtube for artists from one’s college radio format dj days and seeing that “VH-1 Classics” bug in the corner.

  21. sheherazahde says:

    That isn’t breaking news. You turned old when you became a father.

    I don’t have any of those albums, but I don’t have any children.

  22. To paraphrase Norma Desmond – You are young, it’s the noise that got old.

    If you liked Portishead, you’ll dig Sigur Ros.

  23. I only did slightly better. I’ve heard of ten of those bands, but only heard six of them. Of those, I’ve only heard two of the actual albums and also only own one (TV On The Radio). I, too, it would appear, am old. Shit.

  24. eronanke says:

    The boys at “You Look Nice Today” mentioned Vampire Weekend, so I looked them up. Fleet Foxes I discovered on my own but feel pretty ambiguous about them still.

    I’ve heard Girl Talk and I don’t like it. That’s about it.
    Sigur Ros is what the ‘cool kids’ listen to, so I’m not involved.

  25. sokko2me says:

    old is as old does

    sorry, but now we have to sit in front of the tube to watch our favorite ring-a-ding-dingers on talk shows now–talking to other performers.
    not quite the same as a show at the pier, but it’ll have to do–seeing as pier 84 now looks like a scene out of the jetsons.

    hold steady todd. try not to think about it too much. time just keeps on truckin’ and soon we will die and be shoved in a cardboard sleeve.

  26. yetra says:

    That list of bands seems designed to make people feel out of touch. I’m 35, but pretty musically aware (heck, I just saw The Cool Kids and Vampire Weekend perform live *last night*), and I’ve not heard of a good half of them. Like, never heard the band names uttered once. And I have good friends who work in college radio.

    Based on your previous music writings, I would recommend Fleet Foxes, TV on the Radio, and possibly Vampire Weekend, if you are in the mood for really lovely upbeat fun afro-carribbean-style music sung by ivy league 20 year old hipster boys. And who doesn’t?

  27. greyaenigma says:

    Hey, we still have Elvis Costello.

    Haven’t heard of most of those myself. I own Third, after hearing a song from it once on the radio. I own a Sigur Ros album, which frustatingly has no track titles. I’ve Heard of the Vampire Weekend and their Oxford Comma. I think I even like a Death Cab for Poochie* song, but I can’t remember what it was.

    Why doesn’t this have a “kids these days”, tag?


  28. r_sikoryak says:

    I have four — three of which I paid for!
    (Thank god for cheap downloads.)

    I’ve been meaning to get the new TVOTR, I’d better hurry before I’m old.

  29. stainedecho says:

    Blippity blip music? I take it you’re not a fan of techno or trance music… 🙂

  30. dougo says:

    I bet the Onion AV Club only owns one album from your list of the best 30. Or mine, except I haven’t even listened to half the CDs I’ve bought this year yet (but hey, the year’s not over yet).